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Your Baby's First Dentist Appointment: When's the Right Time?

By Jill Feilmeier on March 26, 2015 in Kid's Health

Dentist By 1 - Delta Dental of Iowa

Only eight percent of Iowa children see their family dentist by age 1.1 That is a staggering fact when both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommend that the first dental visit should occur within six months after eruption of the first tooth – and no later than a child's first birthday.2

Once those mini pearly whites start popping up in your child's mouth, it's definitely time to make your little guy or gal their first dentist appointment. The ideal time for a child's first dentist appointment is by age 1, or within six months after the first primary teeth erupt.

Some children don't show teeth until after age one, in which case your rule of thumb should be “Dentist by 1”.

Who: Consider taking your child to a pediatric dentist — someone who has additional training in caring for children's oral health.

What: The dentist will check your child's teeth, gums, jaw and bite. They may also clean your child's teeth, apply a fluoride varnish to protect teeth from cavities, and review your child's oral hygiene and nutrition routine.

When: Within about six months of your child's first tooth's arrival or by the time they turn one.

Where: A baby's first visit usually takes place at the pediatric dental office. The child may sit in the parent's lap during the examination.

Why: An early introduction to the dentist will help prevent your child from any fear later in life. It will also help reinforce the necessity of bi-annual visits to the dentist.

Make sure to be positive when it comes to the dentist and let your child enjoy their first dental visit. They may even walk away with a sticker or trip to the prize box!

Learn more about Delta Dental of Iowa's Dentist By 1 initiative.

1Delta Dental of Iowa 2010 Claims Data.

2American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association.