When Should I Start Taking My Baby to the Dentist?

My child has her first few teeth. Does that mean I need to start taking her to the dentist? How long after a baby grows teeth does she need her first dentist visit?
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profile picture of Chris Kammer, DDS
Updated January 9, 2018
Close-up of baby's mouth with a couple of teeth.
Image: Getty Images

This might be surprising to some people: Children should have a dentist by the time they’re one year old. The exams are simple and can be very easy on your child. Usually, you and the dentist will sit knee to knee, and your toddler will sit on your lap, facing you with her legs wrapped around your waist. You’ll have your child lie back so that her head is resting on the dentist’s lap. The dentist will check your child’s mouth and count her teeth, examine the gums, identify abnormalities and even clean the teeth if needed.

Worried a visit to the dentist might scare your toddler? Pick up one or two of the many children’s books about dentist visits and read them to her so she knows just what to expect. Also, having your child accompany you on your own dental visits will help her feel more at ease by allowing her to meet the dentist and office staff before she’s the patient herself.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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