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When should my child start going to the dentist?

child at the dentist

Between crawling, walking, and talking, children hit a lot of milestones in the first year of life. Among them is their first tooth. And when that pearly white starts to poke out from the gums, that means it’s time for another milestone—their first visit to the dentist. 


We know that might sound early, but this recommendation comes from the American Dental Association because Infants are at risk for tooth decay as soon as teeth appear. 


While most children have their first tooth between 6 and 12 months, there’s no need to be concerned if your child hasn’t. Primary teeth can take up to 18 months to grow. Still, we’d recommend taking your child to the dentist at the year mark so dentists can check that their gums are healthy. 


Early childhood dental visits can also be advantageous to parents, who usually assist with toothbrushing for the first couple of years (Yes, toddlers need their teeth brushed!). The dental staff can provide tips and techniques specific to your child’s mouth. 


Signs your child needs dental intervention


Brand-new teeth can still experience problems. In fact, nearly 25% of children between the ages of 2 and 5 experience dental caries, or small holes in teeth caused by decay. Unfortunately for parents, It’s not always easy to tell when a young child has a tooth problem, especially because they can’t verbally describe what’s wrong and warning signs aren’t always visibly obvious. 


If you notice your child regularly struggling to eat, whether that’s avoiding food or crying while chewing, that may indicate tooth sensitivity. Since nerves in the teeth and ears are connected, children experiencing pain will often tug at their ears.  


More direct signs of tooth problems are apparent by looking in your child’s mouth. Look out for white dots on teeth or light brown discoloration. 


Have questions about your child’s teeth or want to book their first visit? Find a Cal Select Dental location near you. Our staff is highly trained in pediatric dentistry and would be happy to put you on the calendar.  

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