The Best Age for Your Child’s First Dental Visit

 By Dr. Michelle Stafford

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both recommend that children be seen at Age 1 for their first dental visit. At the first visit, your pediatric dentist will generally complete a lap-to-lap exam to ensure there are no abnormal development issues or pathologies that you need to be aware of, and as we all understand, catching health issues early is often the key to successful treatment and lowest cost.

The first visit is an excellent time to ask questions of your pediatric dentist; anything from the best toothbrush to use, to flossing tips, and even ideas on nutrition for your small one. Your pediatric dentist will discuss with you appropriate timing for bottles and sippy cups and even when to leave the pacifiers to the “Paci-Fairy”. A fluoride treatment may be recommended to help your child’s natural tooth development, and regular 6 month visits are encouraged to promote a positive routine and catch problem areas quickly.

Having a dental home that both you and your child feel comfortable in is key, particularly during a time of emergency. Children are naturally curious and rambunctious, and often will chip or hit their mouth during bouts of walking, crawling, running, and playtime. For a first time parent, a traumatic injury to the mouth involves a rushed search to call the pediatrician or ER triage, only to find they recommend seeking care with a pediatric dentist to ensure no permanent injury has been sustained.

When a dental home is a regular part of a child’s routine, the comfort level of seeking emergency care with their dentist gives peace of mind to the family and can turn an otherwise chaotic event into one of comfort and support.

For more information on what to do in a pediatric emergency, click here!


Dr. Stafford is the owner dentist of World of Smiles, Pediatric Dentistry, located in Portland, Oregon.  Her love for dentistry started as an intern in her childhood orthodontist’s office. She continues to pass it forward by offering this experience in her own practice to area high school and college students.To schedule your child’s first dental adventure with World of Smile, Pediatric Dentistry visit us on-line or call us at 503.626.9700.

11 Responses to “The Best Age for Your Child’s First Dental Visit”

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