When Should My Child First Visit the Dentist?
February 14, 2012 by wong
I’m going to discuss a topic that I get asked several times a day – when should my child first visit the dentist? Traditionally, most general dentists start seeing children around age 3. The reason for this is that most dentists feel that a 3 year old is more cooperative in the dental environment than younger children. The problem I have with this is that all the baby teeth are in by age 3 and some have been in for over 2 years. By waiting to age 3, dental problems including cavities go unnoticed and when found by dentists at age 3, treatment can be quite comprehensive.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that the first dental visit should be when the first tooth erupts or by age 1. At The Tooth Doctors, we recommend a “Happy Visit” initially where the child gets used to the dental environment. At this “Happy Visit”, the staff at The Tooth Doctors attempt to have the child become comfortable in the dental environment and, if allowed, will examine the teeth. As well, home oral hygiene routines can be discussed.
By seeing children earlier than age 3, I believe that we can implement more preventative-oriented dental care for your child to prevent early childhood cavities. Early childhood cavities occur when multiple teeth have decay, usually due to a combination of constant feeding (bottle at night), ineffective home oral hygiene, and lack of professional dental care. The ounce of prevention by bringing your child in sooner than age 3 can result in a more pleasant dental experience for your child and possibly prevent dental fear that a majority of adult patients experience in one form or another.
Please see the CDA link for more information.