The general rule is six months after the eruption of the first tooth. There are rarely any dental problems at this age but the focus of the visit is mostly to educate the parent on oral hygiene and how to prevent future problems. Acclimating the child to the dental office is also crucial which can lead to stress-free visits in the future.
For older children who have never been to the dentist before it is important for the parent to prepare the child in a positive way. Avoid using any words that would make the child nervous such as “shots”, “pinches”, or “poking”. Instead, build up excitement leading up to the appointment and even offer some kind of reward if the child does well.
Although most general dentists see children, if the child is uncooperative or needs extensive work a children’s specialist may be necessary. However, it is advisable to see your primary dentist first.