WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE FOR YOUR CHILD’S FIRST DENTAL VISIT?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry the first dental examination for children should occur after the eruption of the first tooth and no later than 12 months of age. A dental exam should be repeated every six months or as indicated by the child’s risk for dental disease. We generally find that if children begin seeing their dentist early on, they not only improve their oral health, but they also develop a much more positive perception of the dental office  compared to children who start going at a later age. In addition to the clinical exam, we also include the following assessments for pediatric patients:

  • Non-nutritive habit (e.g., pacifier use, thumb sucking)  counseling
  • Oral growth and development
  • Caries (dental decay) risk
  • Radiographic diagnostics
  • Medical history

Usually around 2 to 6 years of age, we begin assessing the need for sealants and the potential for any developing malocclusion (need for orthodontics). Some other things you should expect at your child’s routine dental visit include:

  • Cleaning and the use of topical fluoride (depending on age)
  • Oral hygiene counseling
  • Dietary counseling (proper use of bottles and “sippy” cups)
  • Injury prevention counseling (consider a sports guard for child)