Should you take your child to the dentist when their first tooth erupts? Or, do you wait until all of your child’s baby teeth have come in? First birthday? Second birthday? Birth? Does anyone really know when the right time is to take your child to the dentist to begin regular checkups?

A lot of misconceptions abound when it comes to the right timing to take your child to the dentist’s office for the first time. The American Dental Association (ADA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) all recommend you take your child to the dentist by age one. The AAPD specifically advises you to bring your child to the dentist when their first tooth appears or by their first birthday (whichever comes first). In fact, the AAPD coined the slogan “Get It Done By Year One”, and they’ve even created a handy checklist to help you review the importance of proper dental care in early childhood.

Dr. Jason Horgesheimer recommends that parents bring their child in for their first dental check-up between 12 and 18 months. Either way you look at it, it’s apparent that the sooner you start bringing your child in for regular dental checkups, the better. Here are five reasons why you should start bringing your child to the dentist as early as possible.

1. Get Your Child Used to the Dentist

Dr. Chuck Odion explains that there’s a lot of misconceptions surrounding when you should bring your child to the dentist. Many people falsely think it’s best to wait until the child’s teeth have all come in or that you should wait until the child is older so that they are not scared of the dentist. As he explains, “you’ve got to break that ice and the more you do it, the more often something becomes a habit.”

By introducing your child to the dentist office experience at a young age, you are helping them get used to the setting and the procedures common to a dental practice visit. These younger children will become more accustomed to their dentist and the staff and they will grow to trust their pediatric dental professionals more.

2. Preventative Pediatric Dental Care Saves Money and Teeth

It’s important that you start bringing your child in for regular dental checkups every six months at an early age in order to prevent future tooth decay and cavities. In fact, if you bring your child in for one dental visit while they have only one tooth, this means you can ensure they have and maintain zero cavities, as suggested by the AAPD.

In addition to taking your child in for regular dental checkups every six months starting as soon as possible, this also includes taking care of your child’s teeth until they are able to do so independently. When you make it a habit to bring your child in for regular dental checkups at a young age, your dentist can determine fluoride needs and you will receive instructions on how to perform proper dental care on young teeth, and receive information on proper oral and facial development.

3. Intercept Small Problems to Avoid More Serious Dental Issues

At Redwood Davis Pediatric Dentistry, we aim to intercept little problems before they become big problems. If you want to decrease dental treatments and prevent extensive needs down the road, it’s important that you begin appropriate preventative dental care as early as possible. Dr. Chuck talks about the importance of early identification of oral health problems:

“For the child’s oral health, we are able to identify things younger. We can only prevent cavities through instruction and good oral habits, and those habits start at seeing your dentist every six months. It’s a battle that we can win and it’s structured around early intervention with the dentist.”

4. Kids Enjoy Their Visit at Redwood Pediatric Dentistry

Your child will enjoy their experience at Redwood Pediatric Dentistry. Our pediatric dentists and professional staff members have specialized working only with kids and know how to treat them in order to make your child feel comfortable and to decrease their fears and anxieties about seeing a dentist. Dr. Chuck explains in the video:

“They actually like to come. They like to see the fish tank. They like the prizes. They like to laugh. They like to talk about princesses and superheroes, and that makes them comfortable and familiar.”

4. Babies’ Teeth are More Susceptible to Cavities

Baby teeth are highly sensitive to tooth decay. This is because, in comparison to adult teeth, baby teeth have a very thin layer of enamel (the hard outer surface of the teeth) covering them. Cavities can be infectious and spread, even causing infection in the adult teeth growing beneath them in certain cases.

First teeth usually make their appearance sometime between six months and one year of age, and they are vulnerable to tooth decay from the very moment they erupt in your baby’s mouth. Many problems can result from the associative pain that comes from tooth decay, including:

  • The child may experience difficulty eating correctly
  • The child’s overall health and development may be impacted
  • Untreated tooth decay can lead to infection, loss of teeth, and expensive restorative interventions

Early identification of pediatric dental problems and proper preventative treatment can prevent tooth decay and its associated issues.

5. You Can Save Money When You Take Your Child to the Dentist By Age One

A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics showed that children who first saw their dentist before age one had dental costs that were 40 percent lower in their first five years of life, than children who did not. The reason is most likely because the cost of dental and medical procedures that may be necessary due to poor oral health can be quite costly. A scientific paper published in the journal Pediatric Dentistry revealed that children who wait to have their first dental visit until age two or three are more likely to require restorative and emergency visits than those who started seeing the dentist by age one.

Set Up an Appointment for Your Child at South Davis Pediatric Dentistry

Ready to “Get it Done in Year One?” Call us today at (801) 281-8881 to set up an appointment. We can’t wait to hear from you!