Pediatrician or Family Physician

The choice between a pediatrician (a doctor who treats children only) and a family physician or general practitioner is one for you to make. Both can meet the needs of your child—annual physical exams, disease care, treatment of common illnesses, etc.

Dentist or Pediatric Dentist

When your child develops his or her first tooth, it’s a time to rejoice—and to see a dentist. Early examinations will help protect your child’s teeth and set up a lifetime of good dental health. Follow the first trip with semiannual visits for teeth cleaning and periodontal exams.

Optometrist or Ophthalmologist

Your child should have his or her first vision screening before age 5, even if you haven’t noticed any eye problems. Both optometrists and ophthalmologists specialize in the treatment of eyes and problems affecting the eyes. The difference is that an ophthalmologist can perform surgeries, while an optometrist cannot.


The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends each young woman have her first gynecological visit between the ages of 13 and 15—regardless of sexual activity. This doesn’t mean she will have her first pelvic exam or Pap smear. Instead, the first visit lays the groundwork for future visits and provides an opportunity for the doctor to discuss periods, cramps, sex, and birth control needs.