Pediatric Dental Timeline for Parents

female dentist and pediatric patient smiling and holding thumbs up in a dental office

Oral Health Is Important From Day One

As parents, we often wonder if we are doing it all the right way. With so much to care for and worry about, proper dental hygiene may not be at the forefront of your mind regarding your child's health, especially if they only have a few teeth.

However, we remind you that your child's oral health should be as important as their other health priorities. We have created a timeline that outlines all you need to know. Find tips on pediatric brushing, flossing, and dental visits!


A dentist should see infants within six months of your child's first tooth eruption or by the child's first birthday. Teething may begin as early as four months and continue until after twelve months.

You can use teething rings or other frozen toys to help soothe your infant's gums and provide them with relief.

Toddlers (Ages 1-3)

Children aged one to three years should be seen by the dentist twice a year. We suggest making an appointment in the spring and again in the fall.

You should be assisting your toddler with thorough tooth brushing and flossing habits at home. Some children will want to be independent and do this themselves; some will want to avoid brushing altogether. Be patient with your children.

Teeth should be brushed twice a day, once in the morning and before bedtime.

Create a routine that empowers them to start realizing the importance of oral hygiene, and know that you will have to go back through after your toddler brushes and make sure all surface areas are covered.

Early Childhood (Ages 3-6)

At this age, children should still see the dentist twice a year for routine check-ups. In the event of cavities or tooth extractions, your pediatric dentist may recommend additional dental visits.

Children will start to pick up habits around this age! According to psychologist Albert Bandura, children will begin to cognitively engage in observational and social learning, a "learning behavior controlled by environmental influences rather than innate or internal forces."

What does this mean for you as a parent? Your young one will most likely start grasping your oral health habits and attempt to mimic them. Take advantage of this learning behavior and lead by example! By brushing twice a day (for at least two minutes each), flossing once a day, and visiting the dentist twice a year, your children will learn the significance of oral health.

Mid-Childhood (Ages 6-10)

During this period, your children will begin losing their baby teeth and growing their adult teeth. If there is an issue with adult teeth growing in (or infant teeth needing to come out), your dentist will schedule a tooth extraction.

Your child should have an established dental routine for both morning and night. At this age, it is essential to continue "partnering" with your child: brush your teeth at the same time while still allowing them to be independent. Lastly, you should continue seeing a dentist twice a year as your child's oral health needs change from baby to permanent teeth.

This age is also a perfect time for your child to see the orthodontist for the first time. The American Academy of Orthodontics suggests that your child see an orthodontist by seven. Why? A treatment plan will be created in the late childhood years as your child shows signs of teething issues, bruxism, missing teeth, extra teeth, and crowded teeth.

Preteen Years (Ages 10-12)

On top of routine dental exams, children should continue visiting their orthodontist between ten and thirteen. If needed, your preteen will most likely get braces in this timeframe. Routine x-rays and check-ups will ensure everything is as it should be.

Besides wisdom teeth, all of their adult teeth should be grown in. Any issues will be identified and corrected by your dentist or orthodontist.

Lastly, remember to check in with your child regarding their oral habits. Following a proper routine will make you and your child take pride in their smiles.

Teenage Years (Ages 13-18)

Your child will most likely get their braces taken off during their teenage years. Their wisdom teeth may need extraction after braces removal.

Your teenager should ensure they wear mouthguards to protect their teeth, gums, jaw, and tongue when playing sports. Additionally, you should work with your teenager to ensure their diet is nutrient-rich and low in sugar and carbohydrates.

Caring for Your Child’s Smile at Northwest Dental Group

When you encourage positive oral habits from the start, we are confident your child will grow up with a glowing smile!

At Northwest Dental Group, we understand that visiting the dentist can be a nerve-wracking experience for children. Our friendly staff goes above and beyond to create a relaxed atmosphere. We even offer personalized sedation treatments for maximum relaxation.

To schedule your child's first dental exam, contact us online or call our office at (507) 203-2332 today. We look forward to treating you and your family!

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