girl smiling in dental chair

How Often Should a Child Go to the Dentist?

Team Pediatric Dentistry

Your child’s baby teeth (also known as primary, deciduous or milk teeth) play an important role in their overall health. They help them eat the nutritious foods they need to grow healthy and strong, they’re important in the development of proper speech, and they hold space for permanent teeth to erupt. These little teeth have a big job, which is why regular dental care is necessary. Here are answers to some common questions parents have about routine pediatric dental check-ups.

How often does my child need to see a pediatric dentist?

Everyone over the age of 12 months—you, your child, even your grandmother!—should be seeing the dentist every six months for comprehensive oral evaluations and dental cleanings. In some cases, we may even recommend more frequent visits.

No matter how well your child brushes at home, these biannual visits are super important. Home oral hygiene and regular check-ups each play a different role in your child’s oral health, and both are needed in order to prevent cavities.

When should I start bringing my child to the dentist?

As soon as those first little teeth start poking through the gums, you should schedule an appointment to come in to see us for a first visit. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends seeing a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than your child’s first birthday.

What happens during a child’s first dental visit?

We know a lot of parents wonder what happens during a first dental visit. “What can a dentist even do with a baby who only has two teeth?” Well, you might be surprised: there’s a lot we can do!

First, as soon as your baby’s teeth begin to erupt, they’re already at risk of cavities. It’s not uncommon for children who don’t start seeing the dentist around their first birthday to come in later with cavities. Being proactive is the best approach when it comes to your child’s dental health. These visits are also important because they give us the opportunity to identify potential dental issues and talk to you about how to care for your child’s teeth as they progress through toddlerhood. Regular dental visits starting at a young age help your child feel comfortable at our office, making appointments less stressful for them and for you!

Are dental x-rays really necessary?

Yes, they are. There can be cavities in between the teeth, problems with the adult teeth developing underneath the gum line, and a wide range of other issues that can only be diagnosed with an x-ray. We absolutely understand why so many parents are hesitant when it comes to x-rays, but rest assured that we use digital radiographs that produce much less radiation than traditional x-rays and we only take x-rays when needed. Lead aprons and high-speed film also work to minimize radiation exposure.

If there’s already fluoride in our water, is it recommended that my child get fluoride varnish treatments during their check-ups?

Yes. The fluoride in water and the fluoride varnish applied directly to the teeth during check-ups play different roles in your child’s dental health. Fluoride is a natural mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and prevents decay, and fluoride treatments are recommended by both the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. We’re happy to discuss your concerns prior to your child’s appointment.

Can I sit with my child during their check-up?

Absolutely! You are welcome in our treatment room for regular dental check-ups and any other appointments your child has with us.

Schedule an Appointment at ABQ Pediatric Dentistry

Dr. Tasker and his team would love to see your child at ABQ Pediatric Dentistry! Contact us today at 505-888-3520 to schedule an appointment and see why so many local families choose our practice to care for their children’s smiles.