For many parents, the mere idea of taking their child to the children's dentist fills them with dread. There is no doubt that the first look at the inside of a dentist's office can be very frightening for little ones. But as with so many aspects of our lives, good dental hygiene begins when we are young, and many children dentists say the sooner the better.
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When should I take my child to see the children's dentist for the first time?
According to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), babies should be assessed by a dentist within 6 months of the first tooth breaking through or by their first birthday. That may sound very young for some parents, but the CDA emphasizes the importance of prevention or determining any small problems before they have time to develop into big ones.
A child should definitely see a child's dentist by the age of 2 or 3 when all of the baby teeth are in, the CDA recommends, with regular check-ups following at 6-month intervals.
Why is it so important at such a young age?
Even in very young kids, a children's dentist can spot potential problems to avert trouble later. For example, he or she can see where are not the teeth are coming in properly which could indicate the possibility of future orthodontic work.
If a young child is already developing minor cavities, it could be that the cleaning process needs improvement or perhaps there are nutritional factors that need to be addressed. And of course, small cavities can be repaired before they get worse and require more intensive treatment.