First Time Visits

When Should My Child Have His or Her First Dental Visit?

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that all children see a dentist by their 1st birthday, or 6th months after their first tooth erupts–whichever comes first.


Denali Pediatric Dentistry believes that getting a smile off on the right start is one of the best ways to prevent dental complications later on. Waiting until your child has dental problems can make the transition more difficult for him. An early start will help him enjoy trips to the dentist and look forward to them every 6 months!

Infant Lap Exams

We recommend a dental exam when the first tooth comes in and no later than age one…which means that we want to see those cute babies! Due to their young age, fear of strangers, and lack of communication, it is expected that your baby will cry and refuse to lay by themselves for a cleaning and exam. For children under the age of two, it is very typical and usually preferable to perform the cleaning and exam between the laps of the doctor and parent, what we call a knee-to-knee exam. This position allows the child to be comforted by their own parent while providing stability and good visibility for the doctor. Most babies cry for the entire visit, which is expected and somewhat preferable because that means their mouth is wide open and all teeth are visible.

Do not fear bringing your baby to the dentist too early because you are concerned they won’t behave. The goal of the infant oral exam is mostly parent education and familiarization, we can discuss good and bad dietary habits, and we can identify early signs/risks of dental decay in order to prevent cavities. It’s never too early to start seeing the dentist!