When Should My Child First See the Dentist?

Posted by: Dr. Erwin Su, on June 29, 2013

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists and the American Academy of Pediatricians all agree that children should see a dentist for their first check up by the time they reach their first birthday. While this may seem very early, many forms of advanced tooth decay can develop long before your child’s preschool years.

What’s Involved in the First Visit
Your child’s first dental visit will typically involve an oral examination, nutritional consultation and oral hygiene instruction. Preschool children and older may receive dental x-rays to check for cavities between the teeth, as well as have their teeth cleaned and a fluoride treatment performed. Most preventive care appointments are every 6 months. These routine visits promote optimal oral health and allow the dentist to screen for decay or dental diseases while they are smaller and less invasive to treat.

Catching Problems Early is Key
Should the dentist identify an area of tooth decay, early intervention provides the best treatment outcome. Baby (primary) teeth decay at a faster pace than permanent teeth, so delaying treatment can allow small cavities to turn into severe infections. If left untreated, early tooth decay can damage developing permanent teeth that have not yet erupted, or even cause severe health conditions that lead to hospitalization. The earlier your child receives intervention for tooth decay, the easier it is to repair, the more comfortable your child will be, and the less you will have to pay for restorative dental therapy.

What about older children?
If your child is older and hasn’t yet seen a dentist, don’t worry. Your child’s dentist can address any concerns that you may have and screen for existing conditions that may have developed in the meantime. Their dentist will use positive language that decreases any anxiety that they may have and work to ensure that their visit is enjoyable so that they will want to come back again.

Categories: All Posts, Dental Health, Kids Dental Health