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The First Dental Visit

The most common question I get from parents is, “when should I bring my child for his/her first dental visit.”

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child’s first visit at age 1 or within 6 months of the eruption of their primary teeth.

The Academy uses the “dental home” concept as all aspects of oral health that involves the interaction of the patient, parents, non-dental professionals, and dental professionals.

This dental home should provide:
- comprehensive assessment for oral diseases and conditions;- individualized preventive dental health program based upon a caries-risk assessment and periodontal disease risk assessment;- anticipatory guidance about growth and development issues (ie, teething, digit or pacifier habits);- plan for acute dental trauma;- information about proper care of the child’s teeth and gingiva. This would include the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease of the supporting and surrounding tissues and maintenance of health, function, and esthetics of those structures and tissues;- dietary counseling;- referrrals to dental specialists when care cannot directly be provided within the dental home;- lastly, education regarding future referral to a dentist knowledgeable and comfortable with adult oral health issues for continuing oral health care; referral at an age determined by patient, parent, and pediatric dentist.

*Information above obtained from Pediatric Dentistry Vol 28 No 7 Reference Manual

Joseph W. Lopez, DMD, MPH Pediatric Dentist Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania