At what age should your child visit the dentist for the first time?


by Susan Armstrong, DDS and the team at Bluefish Dental & Orthodontics

As a dentist, there is so much information that I would like to be able to share with parents and their children, but I realize that it can be a bit overwhelming. So, I’ve decided to start with a very basic first question: At what age should your child visit the dentist for the first time? 

Many parents aren’t aware that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child’s first visit to the dentist take place within six months of the appearance of their first tooth, or before their first birthday.

Visiting the dentist at an early age is the first step in establishing good oral health habits for your child. It is also an excellent opportunity to learn more and ask questions about teething, pacifier and bottle use, thumb-sucking and other concerns.

During your first visit to the dentist you can expect your child’s teeth to be cleaned, receive tips on daily care and learn if your child is at risk of developing tooth decay. Normally, your dentist and dental office staff will go out of their way to make your child’s first visit one that is friendly and non-threatening so that a trusting relationship can be established.

Having your child visit the dentist at an early age is becoming more and more important, as research indicates that while caries (cavities) are declining among adults, they are increasing among children, especially pre-schoolers. In fact, tooth decay is the most common chronic infectious disease of children in the country.

Tooth decay is highly preventable, especially if prevention starts with the appearance of baby’s very first tooth. I encourage all parents to consider their dentist as a partner in ensuring the very best health for their child, and the first step is scheduling your child’s first dentist appointment. Because pediatric dentists believe that early intervention is so important, many practices– including Bluefish Dental & Orthodontics–see children up to age two at no charge.

There are many online resources to help you and your child prepare for the first visit to the dentist. For example, the American Dental Association has a cute interactive animation “Visit the Dentist with Marty” that your child might enjoy and that will help set the stage for a successful first visit.

As always, the team here at Bluefish encourages parents to ask questions and be actively involved in the oral health care of your child. Together we can make sure that our children continue to smile brightly as they grow.


More news from Bluefish: