When Should My Child First See a Pediatric Dentist?

When should my child first see a pediatric dentist? According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, AAPD, it’s around a child’s first birthday. More specifically, it’s when a child’s first tooth appears.

When choosing a dentist for young kids, a pediatric dentist is preferable because they have years of specialty training following dental school.

Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.

At Smiles in Framingham, we are unique because Dr. Deborah Himelhoch is board-certified in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics with over 37 years of experience. This rare combination means that the whole family can get the best dental and orthodontic care in one friendly Framingham, MA location.

Why See a Pediatric Dentist So Early?

When the first tooth emerges, the chances for tooth decay begin. Smiles in Framingham make sure baby teeth stay healthy and protected. For example, pediatric patients may benefit from dental sealants that prevent food and plaque from building up on baby teeth.

The AAPD notes that baby teeth help children speak clearly as well as chew food naturally. As teeth come in, they create a position for permanent teeth to follow later. So, ensuring baby teeth are healthy has long-term benefits.

By starting early, your child will have the best chance to avoid oral health issues. Also, regular visits will help kids learn the importance of good oral health habits. So, getting started can ensure a lifetime of better health and beautiful smiles.

How Often Should Kids See Their Pediatric Dentist?

The frequency of visits depends on your child’s personal oral health. However, the AAPD suggests check-ups about every six months. With routine visits, we will prevent cavities, check on sealants, and recommend any necessary repair where needed.

We will always keep our eyes open for any potential problems during check-ups, catching them before they can worsen.

Dr. Himelhoch’s advanced training in behavioral and care needs for kids means she can assist kids with special needs. Also, we’ll help parents with recommendations for the best ways to care for kid’s oral health at home. See more here.

Keeping Kids Comfortable and Calm

Pediatric dentists specialize in treating children and love to make children feel special. Generally, kids are calm, comfortable, and confident during their visits at Smiles in Framingham. We love kids and helping them enjoy their visits as much as possible.

In cases where kids are anxious, we provide safe sedation dentistry for children from Framingham, Southborough, Ashland, Wayland, Natick, Marlborough, Hopkinton, Holliston, and the surrounding areas.

Pediatric dentists have comprehensive specialty training and can offer other sedation methods for your child. However, each child is unique, so we tailor care to each child’s unique needs. See more about Nitrous Oxide, perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. 

When Should Kids See an Orthodontist?

As noted, Dr. Himelhoch is also a board-certified top orthodontist. So, by getting kids started at Smiles in Framingham, your child also has access to top-quality orthodontic care. 

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children visit the orthodontist no later than age 7. Thus, very young kids won’t require orthodontic care until later in life.

By age 7, the first adult molars have usually grown in, although it varies by individual. Then, Dr. Himelhoch can begin addressing any early signs of malocclusions, misaligned teeth, or jaws. Aligning the teeth and jaws is the specialty of orthodontists. Like pediatric dentistry, becoming an orthodontist requires years of additional education and training past dental school.

By getting an early start on orthodontic care, you can avoid problems chewing food, speech impediments, and TMJ jaw problems. Even better, kid’s smiles will be as beautiful as they are healthy. 

Today, Smiles in Framingham is taking every precaution to keep everyone safe while providing routine dental and orthodontic care. To learn more about the steps we’re taking to keep everyone safe, please see our recent post here. 

Have questions? Call us anytime at 508-872-0555. 

Contact us here to schedule a visit.

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Dr. Himelhoch is trained and experienced in providing care for both pediatric and adult orthodontic problems to the residents of Framingham, MA. Also, we’re proud to serve Southborough, Ashland, Wayland, Natick, Marlborough, Hopkinton, Holliston, and the surrounding areas.

To all my wonderful patients and their families:


The greatest pleasures of my career are watching children grow strong and healthy and seeing smiles become more beautiful. It has been a tremendous privilege to be a part of that growth and transformation. Now, however, it is time for me to slow down and share the care of my patients.


Starting in September 2022, Smiles in Framingham will merge with Moynihan Dental Specialists. I will remain with the practice, but will reduce my hours and give up administrative responsibilities. The wonderful team of people you and I have come to rely on will be staying. They will continue to help care for you. There will also be new faces, new people who will get to know and care for and about you.


Dr. Michael Moynihan is a second generation dentist and orthodontist practicing in Framingham. Dr. Mike, as he is known, is on the faculty of Boston University in the department of orthodontics. We spent two years as teaching partners supervising the Boston University orthodontic residents as they treated special needs children at Franciscan Hospital for Children. It was during that time I came to appreciate both how skilled Dr. Mike is and how much he cares about his patients. I retired from teaching prior to the pandemic, but Dr. Mike still puts much of his time and energy into teaching the next generation of orthodontists.


I met Dr. Daniel Moynihan when he was my student in 2017. Even at that time he was one of my most conscientious students. He cares deeply about all of his patients and I am proud to be associated with him. Dr. Dan is highly skilled with all aspects of orthodontics, including treatment using Invisalign and other aligners.


Dr. Katherine Moynihan and Dr. Christine Chiao are other members of the Moynihan team. Dr. Katherine Moynihan finished her orthodontic training at Boston University in 2021. Dr. Christine Chiao is a pediatric dentist, who also teaches at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine.


Life is an adventure with many chapters, twists, and turns. I enter this chapter of my life looking forward to what comes next and feeling some sadness that this phase of my life is changing. For now, we will be keeping all appointments as scheduled. We will contact you individually about any appointment changes. All orthodontic contracts will be honored with care provided by the orthodontists. I have every confidence that the doctors of Moynihan Dental Specialists will provide you with excellent care for many years to come.


My very best wishes to all of you,


Dr. Deborah Himelhoch