When should my child first see the dentist?

For parents, one of their concerns is taking their child to the dentist. Questions about that subject include "At what age should I bring my child to the dentist?"

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, they recommend seeing the pediatric dentist as early as six months, six months after the first tooth erupts, and no later than 12 months of age. Why is that so? The goal of that is to establish a "dental home" by 12 months age.

A dental home entails this:

1) Comprehensive oral health care including acute care and preventive services by AAPD periodicity schedules

2) Comprehensive assessment for oral diseases and conditions

Individualized preventive dental health program based upon a caries-risk assessment and a periodontal disease risk assessment

3) Anticipatory guidance about growth and development issues (i.e., teething, digit or pacifier habits)

4) Plan for acute dental trauma

Information about proper care of the child’s teeth and gingivae. This would include the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease of the supporting and surrounding tissues and the maintenance of health, function, and esthetics of those structures and tissue

Before your child's first tooth erupt, they might have some symptoms such as inflamed gums or teething problems that are common as the baby teeth are erupting. You can also consult your pediatric dentist if any home therapy is available for your child. This is part and process of growing up and is in most cases, not a big deal

Referrals from friends are probably the best way to find a good pediatric dentist. You can also ask your child's pediatrician for some recommendations. Comparing different certifications earned by professionals is also helpful, and if you can find a board certified pediatric dentist that is fantastic.

One important tip for cultivating a healthy attitude in your child before he goes to the dentist is this: you should never make any promises that you may not be able to keep (such as that it won’t hurt, or that it will be quick). Instead, inform your child what they can expect i,e meeting a new person who is going to take a look at their teeth. If you know what the office will be like, you can describe the waiting room. However, you don’t need to try to describe the dental instruments or procedures, the dental staff will most likely have child-friendly names and will introduce your child to everything. Also, it is best not to bribe your child or let them know that if they’re good, they’ll get a treat. By doing so, you may create more worry for the child. If you want to reward them, do it as a surprise after the dental appointment. Most dental offices have a treasure chest of young children to explore after their visit. They may even reward them with a nice toy or sticker.

Most importantly, just be calm yourself so that you don't let any anxieties phobias or you have about the dentist be shown to your child. Never underestimate your child's ability to pick up on your emotions.