Early checkups matter.

The earlier children begin getting regular children’s dental exams, the healthier their mouths will stay throughout their lives. Dental checkups help prevent cavities and tooth decay, which can lead to pain, trouble concentrating and other medical issues. Regular checkups also contribute to a creating a confident smile for your child.

TIP: Baby teeth begin to erupt at about six months, but this varies from child to child. When the first teeth come in, begin using a wet washcloth to wipe the teeth clean or a soft toothbrush without toothpaste.

Children’s dental exams: The first visit

We recommend scheduling your child’s first dental exam between 3 and 3 1/2 years old. We like to call the first visit a “happy check.” If you have concerns earlier than age 3, you can always have us see your child sooner.

There are a few reasons for early checkups:

  • To make sure the teeth and gums are forming normally
  • To check for cavities and discuss oral hygiene
  • To familiarize your child with the dental office in a non-threatening way to build trust

If you would like to know more about what occurs during a children’s dental exam, please contact us.

Your teeth by the numbers.

During your lifetime, you will have two sets of teeth. Primary (or baby) teeth appear around ages six to eight months, and all 20 are in place by age three. Children will begin losing their teeth at approximately age 5.

Permanent teeth will begin to grow around age six, and with the exception of wisdom teeth, are all present between ages 12 and 14. The next teeth to grow in are the 12-year molars and finally the wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth typically begin breaking through from age 17 and on. The total number of permanent teeth is usually 22, though few people have room for all 22 teeth, which is why wisdom teeth are usually removed. Any concerns can be addressed by Drs. Cope at your child’s dental checkup.

Wisdom teeth wisdom

Regular six-month dental checkups help us determine if and when the wisdom teeth need to be removed. Preemptive extraction may prevent wisdom tooth pain or infection later on if the third molars are trapped inside the jawbone and don’t have room to come in.

Misalignment issues may also be avoided with wisdom teeth removal. If Drs. Cope recommend the extraction of wisdom teeth, they can refer you to an oral surgeon.

TIP: It is often best to extract the wisdom teeth in the adolescent years when the roots are about two-thirds formed. This makes the removal easier for the patient.


For more information about baby teeth, visit

Schedule An Appointment

Drs. Susan, John and Lindy Cope want to keep your teeth and gums healthy and happy. Located at the corner of 90th Street and Roe Avenue, we serve patients from Prairie Village, Leawood, Overland Park and other surrounding Kansas City communities. To schedule an appointment, contact us at 913.385.9003 or click here: