The general rule of thumb is to take your baby to the dentist around his first birthday.  The first few visits consist of education on how to care for baby teeth and to get children used to being in a dentist’s chair.  After that initial visit, if your child drinks from a cup and not a bottle and doesn’t eat or drink during the night you’re probably good to wait until your child is 2 before his next visit.  At that time, regular six-month check-ups are recommended.

Between the ages of 4 and 6 is when the dentist will take his first X-rays to check for cavities.  Between 6 and 12 is when your child will lose his baby teeth to make way for permanent ones.  The dentist may suggest a sealant between the ages of 7 and 9 that will help to keep bacteria that causes cavities from getting into the grooves of the teeth, especially the molars.

Around the age of 7 you might also want your child to receive his first orthodontic evaluation.  While kids usually get braces in their teens, identifying skeletal causes of crooked teeth early helps with a great smile later.

Make sure to train your kids early about good oral hygiene.  Get them in the habit of brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day.  These good habits will go a long way to ensure a beautiful smile for years to come.