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Module 3: Prevention of Tooth Decay

3.1 When Should a Child First Visit the Dentist?

Children should visit a dentist for the first time within 6 months of the eruption of the first primary tooth, and no later than age 12 months. The goals of the visit are to assess risk for tooth decay, provide anticipatory guidance, respond to questions parents may have about oral health and development, initiate prevention practices, and schedule the next visit. During a child’s early visits to the dentist, the dentist and dental hygienist can also assess tooth and jaw development and check for problems. By taking their child to the dentist early, parents learn how to care for their child’s teeth. Children, in turn, learn the importance of good oral health care and view visiting the dentist as a positive experience.

Tooth Eruption Flash Animation

Animated Tooth Eruption Chart
(requires Flash Player)

Tooth Eruption Chart

Printable Tooth Eruption Chart


Adapted with permission from the Arizona Department of Health Services, Office of Oral Health, courtesy of Don Altman, D.D.S., M.P.H. The assistance of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association is gratefully acknowledged.