Regular dental exams help protect your child's oral health. Dental exams give your child's dentist a chance to provide tips on caring for your child's teeth, as well as detect any problems early — when they're most treatable.

When to have a dental exam

Various factors might determine how frequently your child needs to have a dental exam, including his or her age, health and risk of tooth decay. Consider these general guidelines:
  • Ages 6 months to 1 year. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend scheduling a child's first dental exam after the first tooth erupts and no later than his or her first birthday. Also expect your baby's teeth and gums to be examined at well-baby checkups.
  • Toddlers, school-age children and adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends scheduling dental checkups every six months. The dentist might recommend more-frequent visits if your child is at high risk of tooth decay or has other dental or oral health concerns.
Feb. 18, 2012