This is a question that many parents ask us when they come to our office.
Ideally a toddler should visit the dentist for the first time at 1 year of age or 6 months after first tooth has erupted.
People might ask, why so early? In dentistry the most important aspect is prevention, we need to start educating the parents on how to take best care of the kids' oral hygiene and the kids need to start establishing an early and pain free relationship with the dentist and the dental staff.
As a dentist there is nothing that breaks my heart the most as when I see a kid that comes to the office for the first time with the majority of the baby teeth with severe decay that needs major dental treatment. Why does it break my heart? Because there is a high chance that this kid will develop dental fear as she/he will be associating dentistry with pain and furthermore will possibly avoid seeking preventive dental care due this fear. We try to manage this sad situations with sedation to prevent the development of dental phobia while we return the little ones to health.
We all know that traumatic experiences mark us for life!! This is the reason why adults that have always better dental condition and oral hygiene habits, have a history of getting preventative treatment from early ages.
In our office we try to make kids as comfortable as possible and we have nitrous oxide that can help them deal with dental appointments, however if we are unable to provide a trauma free experience we do not force kids to get the treatment done as this will be reflecting in their future dental care, as mentioned before. Instead we encourage parents to take them to the paediatric dentist and try to get all the treatment needed at once if possible under general anesthesia.
Let's make all the kids caries free, with regular check ups!!!