Going to the dentist is rarely a thing children look forward to, and in a world where you’re constantly having to schedule something or run tons of errands, it can feel like going to the dentist for regular visits is a bit much to take on.


However, it’s not as frequent as you might think. 


Today, we’ll provide a complete rundown of how often kids should go to the dentist. We’ll cover everything from routine checkups to preventive care and more serious treatments.


By the end, you should notice that visits aren’t as frequent as they’re made out to be, and it’s a lot more manageable than you’d otherwise think. 


Let’s get started.


Regular Pediatric Dentist Visits


Most of the time, you’re going to be taking your child to the dentist for a regular visit. This is the most frequent, and simplest, type of dental appointment you’re going to have to deal with. 


You don’t go very often, though. It’s only recommended to go twice a year, or once every six months.

A dentist teaching a child about how often kids should go to the dentist.

In most cases, going twice annually ensures your child’s dental health is up to par, but you’re not overdoing or going just to hear the same thing over and over again.


However, it’s important to know that your child’s pediatric dentist might require them to come in for more frequent visits in a variety of situations. 


Usually, that’s because a condition has formed, and it needs to be monitored to prevent it from getting worse. Most dental conditions are most effectively treated when they’re caught early and less extensive work has to be done to fix the problem. 


More frequent visits might also be scheduled if your child is likely to develop a condition due to lifestyle habits, genetics, or other things that predispose them to having dental issues early in life. 


Finally, if any work is done that has a risk of coming out or causing damage if it’s not taken care of, such as braces or temporary caps, you’ll likely have to go at least once or twice more within a year.


What are Regular Pediatric Dental Visits for? 


If you’re going to be setting up appointments for something at least twice a year, you should probably know what to expect. Luckily, these are the most predictable visits your child will have. 


First, these are just like regular physician appointments. The dentist’s main goal is to look at your child’s dental health, try to determine if there are any issues, and develop a plan if any noticeable problems pop up.


However, your child will also get an in-depth tooth cleaning that is a bit more extensive than what they get at home with a toothbrush and floss. This twice-annual cleaning goes a long way to make the most of your child’s daily dental care routine. 


The dentist will also provide you with dental care tips for kids’ teeth and what your child should be doing at each stage of their development to avoid issues, notify you of likely issues that might need to be addressed in the future, and more. 


This is a preventative care visit at its core, and it’s likely the shortest type of visit your child will deal with.


Non-Regular General Pediatric Dentistry Visits


Beyond regular visits that your child should incorporate into their lives throughout their lifespan, there are some non-regular visits that you’ll have to set up at certain times. 


For now, we’re not talking about emergencies or other clear issues. 


Here are the times you should plan a visit outside of regular dental appointments.


1: Age Milestones


First and foremost, you’ll want to get your child checked on at specific ages. As their body develops, their oral biology develops, as well. Teeth move, new ones start to erupt, they get older and have to ensure everything is growing properly, etc. 


The first age-related dentist visit is going to be their very first visit at 12 months of age. This is when your child’s first baby teeth start to erupt, and while they likely don’t have a full set of teeth showing yet, the dentist does need to make sure that the teeth are erupting properly.


Then, your child’s first set of X-rays will need to be taken between 4 and 6 years of age. This might be done during a regular visit, or you might be told to book an appointment when the pediatric dentist thinks it’s necessary.

A child learning how often kids should go to the dentist.

This is because your child is getting ready to start losing their baby teeth, and it’s important to see if cavities have formed between the teeth or if any damage is occurring beneath the gums. 


Finally, as your child starts to lose their teeth and their adult teeth start to erupt, it’s important to set up an appointment.


Many parents think that, because baby teeth fall out anyway, regular appointments aren’t necessary up to this point, but that means that issues that have been developing beneath the surface won’t be caught early enough for simple solutions to work. 


Of course, that last one will otherwise be handled by regular visits, but since it’s unfortunately common for new parents to miss this part, it’s better to find out later than never.


2: Wisdom Tooth Exams


The wisdom teeth, or your child’s rear molars, are the most problematic teeth to deal with. Not only do they often get compounded and cause infections and other problems, but they also tend to grow improperly and cause crowding in the mouth.


That can slowly create major problems with your child’s oral health. On top of that, since they’re in the very back of the mouth and difficult to reach, they don’t tend to be cleaned as well as the teeth that are easier to access with a toothbrush. 


When your child starts to have their wisdom teeth come in, it’s time to make an appointment unless their regular checkup is coming up soon. If they have an appointment a week or two away, your pediatric dentist will be able to properly check without any special appointments.


Less Common Reasons for Regular Dentist Visits


While your child is most likely to only have to go to the regular dental visits and milestone visits we’ve mentioned above, there are situations where children might have to go more frequently for situations of varying seriousness. 


Some of these are relatively normal, but more frequent visits might be hard to handle in some unfortunate cases.


1: Braces


Braces are typically installed between the ages of 10 and 14, and they’re crucial for many children suffering from teeth alignment problems.


However, you should know that you and your child will get a lot more time with the dentist once braces are added to their treatment plan. 


Usually, children with braces will have to go to the dentist once every few weeks


This seems like a major commitment, but there’s a good reason for it. 


First, braces are far harder for kids to keep clean compared to a normal daily dental routine. There are lots of wires and joints, and there are simply too many crevices for a kid to consistently clean them properly. The dentist will take care of this during braces-related visits. 


This also ensures that the braces aren’t causing any harm. They’re not fun things to have in general, but they do need to be monitored to make sure nothing abnormal is happening. 


Finally, braces aren’t set-it-and-forget-it options. They’re designed to pull teeth into alignment gradually. So, they’ll have to be adjusted every few weeks to move the teeth into the intended position slowly, and that has to be done by your child’s pediatric dentist. 


This usually lasts up to two years. So, while it’s not a permanent situation, expect frequent visits for two years.


2: Oral Cancer Screenings


Unfortunately, some children are predisposed to oral cancer due to existing conditions or serious genetics or environmental circumstances. 


Typically, this is part of a regular checkup. If dentists notice any alarming signs of oral cancer during a normal checkup, you’ll likely have to come back for a follow-up appointment within a couple of weeks. 


However, if oral cancer is a serious concern, your child has a tumor in their mouth, or there’s another reason to heavily monitor for cancer, more frequent visits will be scheduled to ensure any potential cancer is dealt with promptly. 


If the dentist can’t determine whether a problem area is cancer or not, they will likely require a biopsy to test a tissue sample.


3: Ongoing Treatments of Existing Issues


How often kids go to the dentist, and what’s done during those visits, will change dramatically if a problem is noticed and requires extensive work. 


The most common example of this is the need for fillings or caps


Typically, these will be done either all at once or in stages depending on how much work needs to be done. If subsequent visits are to complete treatment, such as doing groups of teeth at a time, appointments will likely be scheduled a couple of weeks apart


Even beyond the initial completion of treatment, the dentist might recommend quarterly visits to ensure everything is in order, the problem hasn’t gotten worse, and previous treatment solutions haven’t fallen out or otherwise failed. 


It’s difficult to give an exact timeframe for this because there are a lot of variables ranging from the treatment being done to the particular dentist’s schedule.


Luckily, if you commit to regular visits and a proper daily routine, you should be able to avoid most of the problems that require this more frequent dentist interaction.


4: Your Child is Predisposed to Oral Health Problems


Finally, you might have to go to more frequent dental visits without any sort of emergency or ongoing treatment plan due to your child being predisposed to having dental issues


This can happen for several reasons. If your child was born with a dental health issue or something else that has made their tooth development a bit abnormal, the dentist will likely want to monitor their teeth more frequently.


Another reason could be if they have dietary restrictions that regularly expose their teeth to harmful substances.


This is another situation where your dentist will decide what to do about it, but some dentists choose quarterly visits to create a good balance between monitoring and not constantly having you come to the office.


Why Making These Appointments Is Important


In most circumstances, your child is going to have to go to the dentist twice a year, and they might have to go occasionally to have something treated or to check up on their teeth at a major milestone.


That’s not extremely frequent at all, but even if your child ends up having to go more often, it’s crucial not to miss visits.

A dentist talking with a parent about how often kids should go to the dentist.

Parents often think that these appointments, especially for younger kids who will lose their teeth soon, aren’t that important. After all, the teeth will fall out and be replaced naturally, right? 


That’s true, but that initial set of teeth is far more important than you might realize. It sets the stage for the rest of your child’s life in terms of dental health. 


Those initial teeth create the guidelines for their adult teeth to come in properly through, and they can pass damage down to the permanent teeth before they ever erupt.


Things like cavities can create damage in your child’s permanent teeth, or they can spread to surrounding teeth damage a permanent tooth as it comes in, and more. 


Throughout the first several years of your child’s life, regular visits will ensure everything is working out properly, and they won’t have far more serious issues when their permanent teeth come in.


Where to Get the Best Pediatric Dental Care for Your Child


How often kids should go to the dentist will vary based on different situations, but on average, you can expect to take your child to the dentist twice per year to avoid serious oral health pitfalls and catch problems quickly.


That frequency can spike in some situations, but that’s not a certainty or anything to worry about. 


However, you need to make sure your child is going to a pediatric dentist who makes them comfortable and gives them the best care possible. 


For that, Dino Kids Dental is your best choice. Our child-friendly office and top-quality dentists can keep your child’s oral health on the right track.


Book an appointment with us today!