How Often Should a Child Go to the Dentist

How Often Should a Child Go to the Dentist?

Team Pediatric Dentistry

Good oral health is critical for all children, promoting optimal well-being and proper development. Going to the dentist regularly is one of the most important parts of good oral health habits and is especially vital for children who are still learning about dental hygiene and building solid dental routines. Once a child has their first dental visit, scheduling follow-up visits at appropriate intervals is key. In this post, we’ll discuss how often children should visit the dentist in general, and also in a few special situations.

The Importance of Regular Dental Visits

Visiting the dentist early and regularly is the best way to make sure their teeth, gums, and mouth are as healthy as possible. During dental visits, the dentist will check for any potential issues such as cavities, signs of gum disease, congenital abnormalities, developmental problems, and more. They will also spend a lot of time educating both the child and the parent on proper oral hygiene for the child’s age, with tips and recommendations on making dental health fun and engaging.

Most Children Should Visit the Dentist Every 6 Months

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all children have their first dental visit by their first birthday or promptly when a baby tooth erupts, whichever comes first. After that initial visit, follow-up visits, including an exam and cleaning, should occur every six months for most children. 

Some Children May Need More Frequent Visits

Some children may have dental needs or risk factors that necessitate more frequent follow-up visits. This may include children with birth defects, congenital abnormalities, early cavities or significant decay, or other issues. A consultation with a qualified dentist will give parents more insight on how frequently their child should be seen.

Factors Influencing Dental Visit Frequency

When deciding how often to schedule follow-up visits for a child, the dentist will consider several factors, including:

  • Dental health history (the child’s and the family’s)
  • Growth and development
  • Oral hygiene practices
  • Nutrition and diet

What to Expect During a Child’s Dental Visit

During the child’s dental visit, the dentist will complete a comprehensive examination of the teeth, jaws, and gums, even including a physical exam of the head and neck. They may want to take x-rays of the child’s teeth to get a better look at their tooth and jaw structure. Then a dental hygienist will clean the child’s teeth and apply a fluoride treatment if necessary. Finally, the dentist or dental hygienist will give the child some dental hygiene supplies, like a new toothbrush and kid-friendly toothpaste, along with some age-specific advice about proper dental care.

The Role of Adults

Parents, guardians, and adult caregivers in a child’s life are who they lean on to teach them good oral hygiene and healthy habits. Children also rely on these adults for proper nutrition and access to dental care. This is why adults in these roles must foster a supportive environment and positive attitude about dental health. By doing so, they can help the child feel more confident in their dental care practices and at ease with visiting the dentist.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pediatric Dentistry 

When should I bring my child for his or her first dental check-up?

You should make a dental appointment for your child as soon as possible after their first tooth erupts or by their first birthday, whichever comes first.

When should my child get their first tooth?

All children are different, but most infants start getting their first tooth between 4-7 months old. However, some children will start having teeth come in much earlier or later than this, so it’s important to always keep a close eye on their mouth throughout infancy.

Choose Tender Smiles 4 Kids 

Tender Smiles 4 Kids, with five New Jersey locations, is ready to help your child get started on their journey to ideal dental health. We make sure to schedule your child’s exams and cleanings at the appropriate interval so that identification and intervention of dental issues can happen as early as possible. 

To schedule a dental visit with one of our qualified pediatric dentists, or to schedule a consultation to discuss dental visit frequency, contact us at one of our convenient New Jersey offices to schedule an appointment. .