When should my child first see a dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that the first dental visit should occur by one year of age. Some dentists will tell you age 3, but they aren’t pediatric dentists. Pediatric dentists are trained to care for children starting with infants.
How do you get a one-year old to cooperate?
When we first see a young child especially age 2 and under, we don’t expect that they will want to sit in the dental chair or have their teeth looked at. We have separate consult rooms for this. The child sits on their parent’s lap with their head into the doctor’s lap and we can see quite well.
This seems very young when children don’t have all of their baby teeth yet at age 1:
The key to starting dental care early is for prevention and education. Prevention of early childhood cavities is the main goal. To accomplish this, parents need to understand their child’s individual risk for developing cavities. We also give parents tips on caring for their infant’s mouth and making best diet choices and can provide information on the proper use of fluoride and toothpaste. When necessary, we discuss thumb and pacifier habits, ways to prevent accidents to the face and teeth, and various milestones including teething.
Is there much risk for developing cavities in the early years?
National studies have shown that cavities are increasing in preschool-aged children. More than 1 in 4 children has had at least one cavity by the age of 4 and many get cavities as early as age 2. Early childhood cavities, when left untreated, can have a detrimental impact on the baby teeth leading to pain and infection, which can spread to the bone where the permanent teeth are forming. All of this can have a negative effect on the overall health and wellbeing of a child.