Posted on August 15, 2014
When do I take my kid to the Dentist?
Since 2003 both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry have recommended a child see a dentist by the age of one. Wow, that seems early, or does it? The average child will see his or her pediatrician or family doctor seven times by the age of two for “well baby” checks. These visits are two fold; they provide a check for normal development and offer anticipatory guidance to parents. In other words, what should I expect in the coming months?
A trip to your local children’s dentist does the very same thing related to your child’s oral health. In Fort Collins Colorado, almost all the pediatric dentists offer infant dental care visits not only because it is recommended but it makes good sense. If a trip to your children’s dentist can help avoid later problems and answer questions a parent didn’t even think to ask, the child will get off to a better start with the dentist and may even have lasting lifetime benefits.
At my pediatric dentist practice in Fort Collins, we offer complimentary dental exams and counseling to about 30 months. Free! Why free? Have you ever tried to file a dental insurance claim for an infant? Seriously, because infant oral health exams are not widely recognized as the norm, we offer a 20 minute appointment that introduces a parent to pediatric dentistry in a non committal way and gives them information about their child that they simply cannot get anywhere else. Then, we do a KNEE TO KNEE lap exam of the child that takes about two minutes or less. Sure the young children often cry, but their little mouths are open and both the dentist and parent can get a good look at teeth coming in, the soft tissues of the mouth, and any strange anatomy the parent may have a question about. The kids walk (or crawl) away with a toy and toothbrush, and Mom walks away with a reference booklet, strategies for brushing and peace of mind. When the child turns three, they have had two or three of these visits and the first official dental “cleaning” appointment goes wonderfully. And with no cavities! With the caries rate for 2-5 year olds increasing in this country, you don’t want your child to be a statistic!
Other topic s your pediatric dentist will cover at your infant dental care exam:
Water fluoridation/ fluoride supplements
Timing for use of fluoride toothpaste (generally after age three with notable exceptions)
Diet and accident counseling
Non-nutritive sucking habits such as thumbs, fingers, pacifiers, blankets
Nursing/ Bottle weaning timing