When should my child first see a dentist? I hear this question a lot. The answer, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, is no later than 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth. OK, that's mostly helpful but the 'alternate answer" is a bit more straight forward.
~Take your child in for his first dental exam no later than the first birthday~
As a mom juggling a multitude of stuff, the very last thing I could possibly imagine is scheduling a visit at the dental office for my toddler. Is there some expectation that he will willingly sit in the dental chair? Scalers? The rotary polisher?The foamy fluoride trays I had as a kid? I picture bad things happening, and on top of that, time and energy would be wasted. Not okay.
As a dentist, I know this is actually not the case. It's a much easier process than ever before. When we think of preventative dental care for our young children, we tend to visualize what we know for ourselves. The good news is, a dental exam for a child under three years old is designed just for them. We provide lap exams instead of going straight to the chair. We complete a super quick exam with the little mirror. We play games as we examine them, but really we are zeroing in on key developmental issues. We paint on fluoride varnish faster than a toddler can say "Nooooooo, don't want it:." We guide the primary caregiver on how to effectively prevent cavities based on individual health history and lifestyle factors.
That's precisely why an early dental exam is so important. Your dentist will provide all the latest cavity prevention guidelines, and you'll have a face with a name that you can call anytime with a dental question. So if you are thinking of a gift for your child on his first birthday, consider setting up the first dental exam. You can take a photo during the visit, and make all sorts of adorable crafts with it. It's not the norm yet, but maybe it should be. It's easier to prevent than to drill and fill.
Stay At Home Smiles, LLC is proud to serve patients in the comfort of their own home throughout Fairfax County and beyond.