group of elementary school kids standing next to each other outside with hands on knees

When Should a Child Start Going to the Dentist?

Ask friends and family members when you should start taking your child to the dentist and you’re likely to get a number of different answers. There’s even debate among dentists and pediatricians about the topic! Fortunately, there’s not any debate among the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Academy of Pediatrics—each of these organizations recommend that a child first see the dentist by the age of 12 months or within six months of the eruption of their first tooth.

Why Early Dental Visits Matter

Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases in the United States and even the youngest children are susceptible. Children who don’t see the dentist by their first year have higher overall dental costs and are more likely to need restorative dental care.

Routine dental visits that start at the eruption of the first tooth or by age one which allows us to keep your child’s teeth healthy and identify potential issues before they become serious problems. In addition, regular visits help establish our practice as your child’s “dental home.” This term describes the relationship of trust between you and your child and their pediatric dentist. We want you to feel comfortable reaching out to us whenever you have concerns and we want your child to see our Brooklyn office as a friendly place full of familiar faces—not a source of anxiety.

What Happens During a First Dental Visit

If you’re thinking about what happens when you go to the dentist and wondering how your one-year-old will sit through that, don’t worry—the first visit for a child is more about getting used to going to the dentist, discussing good oral hygiene with you, ensuring your child’s teeth are coming in as they should and making sure there are no tongue, lip or cheek ties.

You can hold your child on your lap and Dr. Idelchik will look in their mouth to count their teeth and identify any cavities. We may do a gentle cleaning if your child is cooperative, but if not, no worries—it’s important to make sure their visit with us is a positive one, so we’ll try again next time you visit. Dr. Idelchik will do a head and neck exam and determine if digital radiographs are necessary, but does her best to avoid them. Your child will also receive a fluoride treatment to strengthen their tooth enamel and prevent cavities.

Frequency of Pediatric Dental Visits

Once your child’s first visit is complete, we will schedule another appointment in six months. Just like adults, children need to see the dentist every six months for optimal oral health. At each visit, they’ll be more comfortable with the process and our team. With regular dental visits, a healthy diet, and good home oral hygiene habits, your child will be at a low risk for tooth decay.

Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit

If your child has never been to the dentist, there’s no better time to make an appointment! Contact our Sheepshead Bay office to schedule a visit with Dr. Idelchik.