As a family dental office in Boise, this is a question that we get all the time from parents in the Treasure Valley area. They want to know what the proper age is to start having their children go to the dentist.
If you consult a textbook on the subject, it’ll probably say age 1 is the right time. That’s fine, but honestly, you can get away with somewhere between ages 2 and 3, because most kids don’t have all their baby teeth in until then.
It’s still important for you to be good about brushing your kids’ teeth and minimizing sugar in the meantime. Be wary about using fluoride toothpaste until they can spit it out consistently.
The number one issue with young kids and tooth decay is when they have juice or milk cups that they sleep with. They should only have access to these sugary beverages a few times per day.
On the other hand, if there’s any issue or concern with a child’s dental health, it’s essential that they get in to see the dentist right away.
The Pediatric Dentist
It’s thankfully rare to see any severe dental cases in younger children. I think it’s because people are a lot more aware these days than they used to be.
That doesn’t mean it never happens, though. If your kid came in with a severe dental issue, we would refer them to the pediatric dentist. The reason is because a pediatric dentist can offer a hospital setting with anesthesia.
We’re not able to do that as a family dentist, and it’s really important. Think about what it’s like for a 3 year old going to the dentist for the first time. It’s usually pretty scary. For lots of dental work, it’s much better to be at a hospital where they can be put under during difficult procedures.
In the end, you’ll have to play it by ear to decide when the time is right to take your child to the dentist for the first time. Just remember to bring them by Modern Dental in South East Boise when you do!