More than 25 percent of children in the United States have cavities by the time they are 4 years old, sometimes as early as age 2. Regular dental checkups are one way to help your child maintain good oral health. This program offers some ideas on how to prepare your child for that first trip to the dentist and what you and your child should expect. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children receive a dental exam after their first birthday. However some dentists, including our own, recommend that the first visit does not need to occur until around age 3. Whatever advice you choose to follow, a trip to the dentist does not need to be scary.