American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
recommends that infants visit a dentist
for the first time within 6 months
of the eruption of the first primary
tooth, and no later than age 12 months.
Resistance and healing capacity in infants
and young children is determined partly by physiology
and partly by behaviors. The younger the infant or
child when tooth decay begins, the greater the risk
of future decay. Therefore, delaying the onset of
tooth decay holds promise for reducing long-term risk
for decay. For this reason, the time to begin preventing
tooth decay is when teeth begin to erupt.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
recommends that infants visit a dentist for the first
time within 6 months of the eruption of the first
primary tooth, and no later than age 12 months.
Children should also have an oral examination every
6 months or as indicated by the individual child’s
needs/susceptibility to disease.
An oral examination includes a complete
clinical oral assessment and appropriate diagnostic
testing to assess oral growth and development and/or
pathology. During the examination, the dentist will
assess the child’s exposure to systemic and
topical fluoride; counsel parents about fluoride;
and prescribe systemic fluoride supplements, if indicated.
The dentist will also assess the appropriateness of
feeding practices and provide anticipatory guidance.
If stains or other deposits are present, they may
be removed by the dentist or dental hygienist at the
visit. Usually another appointment will be scheduled
if other treatment needs exist.