Many "family" dentists may tell parents
not to bring children to their practice before they have all their primary teeth
(age two or three), sometimes they even recommend to wait until age 6. The
parent of a fearful or uncooperative child may be told "we have to wait until
your child is old enough to sit still". Under unfavorable circumstances delay of
dental care can lead to catastrophic disease progression that is not in the best
interest of the child.
The AAPD recommends an initial postnatal oral
evaluation within six months of the eruption of the first primary tooth and
later than twelve months of age.
a child should have his or her first dental visit at the
One important aspect of this visit is to
discuss the child's risk of developing oral and dental disease. . In high risk
cases this may be as early as three months. Dental decay in children can
progress very rapidly.
The dentist will also evaluate
the child's oral and dental development. The common question about "how
many teeth at what age ?" will be addressed. The dentist will also
evaluate the need for fluoride supplementation. It may be important to
discuss non-nutritive habits (finger sucking, pacifier), injury
prevention, oral hygiene, and effects of diet on the dentition.
If treatment is indicated the dentist
should be prepared to provide therapy or he needs to refer the patient.