The Academy of Paediatric Dentistry recommends the first dental visit to be at Age one or 6 months after the first baby tooth has erupted. You have dutifully brought your infant to the paediatric dentist, so what’s next?
Here are some common mistakes made by parents after visiting us for the first time,
- You have made a follow up appointment but you have forgotten because there are no complaints
- You think you are doing pretty well brushing your child’s teeth, and that’s all that is needed
- Your child has recently received a dental screening in his school and they did not report any dental needs
At your first visit, your paediatric dentist would have profiled
your child’s caries risk
This is very important since 40% of our preschoolers are affected by an aggressive form of decay called Early Childhood Caries. Though caries predictions may have inaccuracies, this baseline data gives us some information to start with. Whether he is classified as high or low caries risk, you should know that a child’s caries risk changes at different points of his life and different strategies which worked in the past to prevent decay may require supplementing or changing.
A child's caries risk changes with age
During the first three years of life, as the primary teeth erupt, there would be developmental changes to the dental arch. Does your child's new teeth have any defects? How do you know? We are trained to spot such things so you should continue to bring your child for reviews as recommended by your Paediatric Dentist. The whole point of early visits is to PREVENT disease. We miss this opportunity when the child is brought to us only when the disease has already established itself.
Important take away points for Parents
A dental screening is different from a dental examination under proper lighting, and instruments.
A dental screening is therefore a cursory exam limited by child’s co operation, dirt in child’s mouth and visibility of teeth.
It cannot replace your scheduled dental check up with a Paediatric Dentist.
As a corollary, your child needs a Dental Home. Someone who is familiar with your child’s dental, psychological and medical needs, and who your child can feel comfortable with. This cannot happen after just one visit at age one! When we take your child under our wings, we aim to develop a relationship with him and with you. Though it takes a lot of time and effort, it is one of the joys of our specialty.
written by Dr Tan Wee Kiat
Disclaimer: The views expressed here represent the opinions of the author solely and do not reflect the views or opinions of My First Dentist. The contents of this website are meant purely for informational and educational purposes only. The website is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or professional care. If you have or suspect you have a health problem, you should consult a doctor or a qualified healthcare provider. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.