The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children have their first dental exam within six months after the first tooth comes in and no later than their first birthday. General, family and pediatric dentists are all trained to treat children. Pediatric dentists have had an additional two-year residency to learn to treat infants, children or teens who have special dental needs.

It’s important to choose someone both you and your child trust. The right dentist can make visits enjoyable.

Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, your dentist can show you how to clean your child’s teeth properly. But there’s other important reasons for these first appointments.

Primary (or baby) teeth are essential to a child’s eating and speech. They are also placeholders for the permanent (or adult) teeth growing under the gums. When a baby tooth is lost too early, permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and crowd adult teeth when they come in. This can cause crooked teeth. This isn’t just an aesthetic problem. Crooked teeth can create difficulty chewing and jaw pain.

Early intervention makes a big difference in your child’s lifelong dental health.