A common question many parents have is when should their child first visit the dentist.
Although everyone develops at different rates, most children typically start getting teeth between the ages of 6-8 months. Some may find it surprising that cavities can be detected in mouths as early as 1-2 years of age, which is why the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that regular dental visits should start around 12 months old.
Although some may feel like their child is too young or doesn’t have enough teeth to see the dentist, there are many benefits to getting children to the dental office at a young age. First, the earlier kids get acquainted with their dental office, the better chance they have to acclimate to that environment and get used to all the new sights, sounds, tastes and equipment. This leads to more positive visits and helps to establish a trusting relationship with their dentist over time. Additionally, the younger a child sees a dentist the more likely they are to prevent dental decay. Since every mouth is unique, examining the mouth allows the dentist to determine if your child is at high, moderate or low risk for developing cavities. This allows the dentist to develop a custom prevention plan for your child to ensure you are establishing the right habits at home to keep their mouth healthy.
Unfortunately, many parents do not recognize the value of keeping baby teeth healthy. After all, aren’t they going to fall out anyway? While it is true that baby teeth will eventually be replaced with permanent teeth, there are many reasons why it’s important to keep them in good shape including:
- Baby teeth hold space in the jaws for the permanent teeth. If a tooth is lost early due to a cavity, this leads to premature space loss which will make it challenging for the permanent tooth to come into the mouth in the proper position
- Early loss of baby teeth can lead to speech delays
- Kids who have cavities on baby teeth tend to be at higher risk for developing cavities on permanent teeth
- Cavities can be painful and lead to significant amount of missed school
- Healthy teeth allow children to chew properly, and maintain proper nutrition and a healthy smile
Sometimes finding the right dental practice to bring your child to can also be a barrier to starting care. At Affiliated Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics (APDO), we understand how important this decision can be for you which is why we make every effort to provide the premier dental experience for our families. For the past 35 years, our goal has been to deliver the highest quality pediatric and orthodontic dental care in a comprehensive, accessible, and family-oriented environment with advanced technology. All of our doctors are board certified and received extensive specialized training in their fields of expertise. We provide not only pediatric dental care for kids but also adult orthodontic care at both our Grayhawk and Scottsdale offices.
If you’re curious about establishing a safe and fun dental home for your child or maybe considering orthodontics for yourself, we would love to have the opportunity to serve you at APDO.