New parents often ask, "When should my child first see a dentist?"
The short answer is "first visit by first birthday," or within 6 months of the erruption of the first tooth. That's the view of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Pediatricians agree. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children who are at risk of early childhood cavities visit a pediatric dentist by age one.
The idea of such early dental visits is still surprising to many new parents. However, national studies have shown that preschool-aged children are getting more cavities. More than 1 in 4 children in the United States has had at least one cavity by the age of 4. Many kids get cavities as early as age two.
In our Terrific Toddler Program, we complete a knee-to-knee exam and cleaning. Your toddler sits comfortably on your lap while our experienced staff clean and examine their teeth to gauge tooth development and any early signs of decay. In this way, we can gently introduce them to the office setting in a private and comfortable environment and also proactively work to resolve any early issues.
To prevent early childhood cavities, parents should investigate their child's risk of developing cavities, and the variables involved. At their child's first visit, they may also learn how to manage diet, hygiene, and flouride to prevent problems.
In addition, the Terrific Toddler Program dental visit offers parents a forum to discuss:
After this first visit, the dentist will suggest a schedule of follow-up visits. In the past, dentists typically called for visits every six months. Now, the schedule may vary according to each child's needs and risks. As your child grows, the dental team can help you learn how to prevent common oral problems.