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:
Feb. 18, 2012
- 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.
- Nowak AJ, et al. Preventive dental care and counseling for infants and young children. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011.
- Child oral health. American Dental Hygienists' Association. http://www.adha.org/oralhealth/children.htm. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011.
- Oral health care for adolescents fact sheet. American Dental Hygienists' Association. http://www.adha.org/oralhealth/index.html. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011.
- Oral health care for children fact sheet. American Dental Hygienists' Association. http://www.adha.org/oralhealth/index.html. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011.
- X-rays. American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/3067.aspx?currentTab=1. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011.
- Brooks SL. Guidelines for prescribing dental radiographs. In: White SC, et al. Oral Radiology: Principles and Interpretation. 6th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:244.
- Helpful hints for a healthy smile. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. http://www.aapd.org/foundation/hints.asp. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011.
- Guideline on periodicity of examination, preventive dental services, anticipatory guidance/counseling, and oral treatment for infants, children, and adolescents. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. http://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/G_Periodicity.pdf. Accessed Nov. 15, 2011.
- Oral health risk assessment timing and establishment of the dental home. Pediatrics. 2003;111:1113.
- Teething. American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/3015.aspx?currentTab=1. Accessed Nov. 15, 2011.
- Fonseca RB, et al. Radiodensity evaluation of dental impression materials in comparison to tooth structures. Journal of Applied Oral Science. 2010;18:467.