Parents want the best care for their children. We begin their medical care just after birth and continue with all the recommendations to prevent and manage disease. We listen to their advice on many subjects, including when our children are to see the dentist for the first time. Unfortunately, many pediatricians are working off an old guideline when recommending their patients’ first dental visits; i.e. just around the third birthday. Since pediatricians deal with the medical care of his or her patients, not the child’s dental care, they may not realize that there has been a shift in the dental recommendation. The American Dental Association has changed the recommendation for a child’s first visit as follows:
“It is advantageous for the first visit to occur within six months of eruption of the first tooth and no later than 12 months of age”. ADA
The first visit should be relatively innocuous for your child. Many times this visit is just a “look-see” and ride up and down in the dental chair. As a dentist, I prefer to make this visit all about introduction to my office and for educating mom and dad on home care. Prevention of dental problems is the best key to long term dental health and avoidance of fearful dental appointments for a young child.
Remember to schedule your child’s first dental visit early!