43 answers

Baby's First Dental Checkup

My work just finished open enrollment for insurance. While it was still going on I called my dentist to see if I should add my son to my dental insurance. He said that he wouldn't need his first cleaning/check-up until 4 years old. Last week my son had his 18 month checkup and the pediatrician seemed appalled that I hadn't brought him to the dentist yet. When did you first take your children to the dentist. Both the dentist and pediatrician seem like reliable sources in the matter, so I'm not sure who to believe/follow. What do you think mamas?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow! Thank you all for your replies. :) We have been brushing his teeth for a while now with training toothpaste. I think he has all but the molars (he got his first tooth at 2.5 months and never stopped growing them). I don't think my peditrician had any concerns. That's just the way she is... he has a bigger sized head, and even after sending him to a neurologist, craniofacial surgeon, MRIs, CATscans, and Ultrasounds and ALLLL saying he was normal, she wants to do these tests all over again because she thinks it might be why he's not walking yet. She's just thorough to the point of being a pain. Anyways, after taking in everyone's advice, I'll probably add him to my dental insurance during next Open Enrollment (he'll be 2.5 yo). That way we can have it if need be and at least get him in by 3. Thanks again for all of the input! :)

Featured Answers

I took both my girls at two for the first time. Another thing you need to consider is whether they will sit for it or if they will be afraid of the whole experience. Also determine if their teeth need to be looked at because they seem to have cavaties.

1 mom found this helpful

I just asked my dentist when I need to bring my 2 1/2 old in and they said not before 3 unless you are worried about something. You are not wrong in waiting. If you doctor was worried about something they should have pointed that out. I don't think you should worry.

1 mom found this helpful

I took my son at 3 because that is what a friend who is a dental hygentist said. Now I heard that you should start taking them at 2. I have a good friend who is a doc. in denstry and she said that they should start at 2 because for 1. It gets them comfortable in the settings 2. That at 2 they can get cavaties. It isn't much of a cleaning like they do for adults. THey just look in their mouth to see if they have cavaties..and I think floride they do. I will find out in June. THat is when I have my 2 year old's dentist appoitment.

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We go to a pediatric dentist who also recommends around one year old, as soon as they start getting teeth, just like your pediatrician. I don't take them though until they are two. I'm not sure why I wait until two but I do. I certainly wouldn't wait until 4 that seems crazy to me, but you aren't doing anything wrong by not having taken him yet.

1 mom found this helpful

I asked our dentist he said three years old is the earliest he would see kids. I have also been a professional nanny to several families that have had pediatrician that were rank in the top 100 doctors in american. They said start at three too.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.,

My dentist said age 2. So that is what I did with my girls. They were fine with the dentist and we never had any problems with them allowing him to check ther teeth. I always stayed by their side and encouraged them while they were being checked.

Blessings,
L.

1 mom found this helpful

18 months is still pretty young to go to the dentist. I know there are people who take there kids that young but some dentists won't even see a patient that young. I think that by 3 they need to be seen, but the younger the better. If your child is going to be scared to death then I wouldn't push it (unless there's a problem). Sometimes the older they get and mature the dentist doesn't seem so scary. So to answer your question no, I'm not sure why your dr was so appalled by it, it's not very common (to my knowledge) to take children that young, but if they will happily go then that's great. :)

1 mom found this helpful

i was told by two different peds. that unless your child has problems or an injury they dont need to see the dentist til 3. they just are too little to sit for a cleaning until then.

1 mom found this helpful

I took Tara when she was 5, and Elise when she was almost 4. But I have had daycare kids that needed teeth filled at 3 yrs old. I wouldn't bother putting them on the dental insurance until they were 3 honestly.

1 mom found this helpful

My dentist said once their 2 year molars were in. For both it was shortly after they turned 2, but b/c of when my hubby can enroll in his insurance our son, 3 in March, has had to wait until this year. I would say take in your child once they have all their teeth including their molars.

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Both of my boys where 2 and they both went to a peds dentist, and they both loved it! Now they are 7 and 9 and they go to the same dentist that I go to and they are not scared at all and we have no problems. I believe age 2 is a great age to start because by then they have all of their teeth and by then they need to be cleaned. Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful

I actually just asked my dentist and pediatrician this same question a couple months ago since I had read everywhere that kids should visit the dentist around a year or so. Both of them said around 3 years old is a good age. I had asked them why they recommended that when I had just read a year was when they should visit a dentist and they both said "Have you ever known a 1-year old to sit still in a chair and let someone with weird metal objects come near them?" I kinda laughed, but then realized they were right.

1 mom found this helpful

If I had listened to what your dentist said and NOT had my daughter's teeth checked until she was 4, she wouldn't have ANY molars right now (she is 7). My daughter was born WITHOUT enamel on her molars... something you can not tell from just looking at the teeth. In turn she required two crowns BEFORE she turned 3 to repair the teeth.

That said, my son has been going to the dentist since he was 2, mostly as a precaution.

We go to a pediatric dentist in Orland Park and they are wonderful. More expensive than a "regular" dentist but totally worth it.

Based on my experiences, I would NEVER wait that long. Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

I have a soon to be 9yr old and a 5 1/2yr old. I had each of them to the dentist when they could chew food. My daughter got her teeth early so she went a little earlier. They have to be able to keep their mouth open. Beware that some great Dentists do not have patience for little ones. I had my children go to my husbands dentist. My daughter had a cavity and it took over a hour. He was going to leave it expose half way but I made sure he finished. She now goes to my dentist.

My sons x-rays showed he will not get all his adult teeth. This will give him problems losing them and teeth lining up. He also had two babyteeth fuse together so around 13months he got a protective coating put on to prevent decay.

So go to the Dentist but be aware that your Dentist might not like to treat real little ones. There are Peds Dentists. You can always call one and get their input.

1 mom found this helpful

I used to worry about the same issue. Because all the websites, etc. seemed to say to take the child for their first dental check up at age 1. However, I never understood it because my daughter at that age didn't even know or want to keep her mouth open. I would have to force it open when she put something in her mouth that she wasn't supposed to.

Anyway, I didn't take her until she was 3 and she started preschool (not that they required it). I had asked the dentist at the time, they said that was the perfect age to have the first checkup. Her teeth were fine and the hygienist just cleaned them. I don't there's any point taking them to the dentist if they're not ready or would understand what's expected of them during a check up. I think the important this is that you brush their teeth twice a day during those early years and then you're not likely to have any problems.

1 mom found this helpful

We either started at 2 1/2 or 3. I believe at her 2 1/2 year appt they just had her come in "take a ride in the chair" as they told her and counted her teeth. It was quick...maybe 3-5 minutes. They in turn were able to see if there were any real problems, while letting her think it was fun. Then around 3 she went in for the cleaning. We go every 6 months with her, and it has been great. When they clean her teeth, she laughs and says it tickles!

1 mom found this helpful

We took our daughter at 18 months and nothing productive came from the visit other than she got a free tooth brush! She wouldn't sit still and would't open her mouth. On the other hand, we had insurance and I thought the younger we start taking her, the more comfortable she will be later. The dentist said he doesn't need to see her now again until 3.

1 mom found this helpful

If you are brushing your childs teeth, there is a good amount of spacing between them so you are getting them really clean look at about 2 1/2 years old for the first appt. I took mine at age 1 due to the tight spacing of the teeth. It was a knee to knee exam. It reavealed a problem with the ability of the next teeth to come in due to space, as they will push the teeth next to it out, making it look like he is getting adult teeth early. Also to look for loose teeth and see them to avoid a loss and choking. My older kids saw the dentist later my 4 year old had 2 cavities even though we brush well and needed a crown on one tooth. The oldest has Celiac disease and a really small mouth with delay in tooth/bone development. So a dental appointment can help find dental problems. One of my neighbors found out her 20 month old had juvenile diabetes at the first visit, the dentist noticed an odor coming from the teeth and called the pediatrician and asked for testing for several things. This may have prevented some major complications by finding it early. Just a thought that it is not just teeth that dentists help out.

1 mom found this helpful

Our pediatrician also recommended taking to the dentist as soon as the first tooth showed up. I didn't take them until they were 4. The dentist had no problem with that at all. But if you notice anything than I would take in sooner. Our dentist even told me that for the first few years, all they will do is look for any problems that might show like an overbite or discoloring and if there are cavities. Just make sure you brush those little teeth. For my almost 10 yr olds, we also use ACT/or Walmart's equivalent and they have had no cavities.

1 mom found this helpful

I've had 3 dentists tell me that they don't need to come in until age 3. My pediatric dentist won't even see them until they are 3. I guess they don't have all their teeth until then, so its just not necessary!

1 mom found this helpful

I took my son to the pediatric dentist at 16 months for a discoloration on his tooth. He's gone for a check up every six months since and he's now 3 and a half. I'm not sure where you live, but in my area there aren't many pediatric dentists. For MY dentist to take children, they must be 4 years old. I think it really depends on the situation and the availability of specialized care in your area. Good luck!

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My son was 4 and I'm going to wait with my daughter until she's 4. No need to take them in early unless you or your husband have bad issues with teath.

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Our doc said around 3, but we waited until 4. All was well, and the dentist said that unless you have a concern 4 years is normal.

1 mom found this helpful

We started at 2 1/2.

1 mom found this helpful

My ped never really said anything either way, but my daughter was 3 & 1/2 when she first went. No cavities! There is a really great Dora the Explorer book we read every day for 2 weeks before...it really helped. The dentist was impressed that my daughter actually knew the names of the tools being used and was not afraid. I think it may be a little too soon for a dentist visit, but good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My mom was a dental hygienist for a pediatric dentist and their office suggested 3 years old. I wound up waiting until my oldest was 4 and she had a cavity. It was an anomoly, as all the others were fine, but I still felt horrible for having waited. Find a pediatric dentist in your area and consult them.

1 mom found this helpful

I took my son at 3 because that is what a friend who is a dental hygentist said. Now I heard that you should start taking them at 2. I have a good friend who is a doc. in denstry and she said that they should start at 2 because for 1. It gets them comfortable in the settings 2. That at 2 they can get cavaties. It isn't much of a cleaning like they do for adults. THey just look in their mouth to see if they have cavaties..and I think floride they do. I will find out in June. THat is when I have my 2 year old's dentist appoitment.

1 mom found this helpful

I've usually had my youngest at the dentist when the older boys are there as well. So around 2 she had him go and sit in the chair and she counted his teeth and she talked to him about brushing. She had a set of big teeth and used a toothbrush to show him how to brush. My dentist knew he wouldn't retain lots of that, but wanted to get him interested in the chair and all that.

When he was 3, same thing. When he was 4, she cleaned his teeth and gave him flouride.

He is used to going everywhere, so it's much different than it being your firstborn.

1 mom found this helpful

I just asked my dentist when I need to bring my 2 1/2 old in and they said not before 3 unless you are worried about something. You are not wrong in waiting. If you doctor was worried about something they should have pointed that out. I don't think you should worry.

1 mom found this helpful

First I would change my pediat. doctor,I can't see why a doctor would be appalled by that.Mine was appalled about everything than I switched.
I started at age 3.My kids are 15,14 and 4. They never had a tooth problem.
You don't want your child to be afraid of a dentist.18 month I think is to young.

1 mom found this helpful

My dentist says 3 yrs old .....

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My kids were about three, and our dentist, who is pretty old-school, recommended that. [my youngest is now 5] But I know the ADA now recommends their first visit before they are one. I think that's a bit extreme - they don't do x-rays then and I don't see why a pediatrician can't also count teeth. But that may be why your pediatrician reacted as he did. (I don't remember our pediatrician ever asking!)

1 mom found this helpful

Listen to the dentist. I was also told by our dentist - 3 or 4.

1 mom found this helpful

I've heard lots of reports that said they should go to the dentist at 2 for their first check-up. I asked my pediatrician, and he said it's not necessary at that young an age. So I asked my dentist, and they said it's a good idea. I did take him, but all the dentist did what count his teeth to make sure they were all in, and just checked the general apperance. I guess it all depends on your pediatrician and dentist as to what they say and do. It seems everyone says something different.

1 mom found this helpful

I took both my girls at two for the first time. Another thing you need to consider is whether they will sit for it or if they will be afraid of the whole experience. Also determine if their teeth need to be looked at because they seem to have cavaties.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.,

I experienced the same reaction from our pediatrician when I took our daughter in for her 12 month check up. I too called my dentist and he said he never heard of children going to the dentist so young. I am trying to find a dentist that will see a 16 month because my daughter's 18 month check up is in April.

I do brush my daughter's teeth twice a day so, I am not too worried.

For your situation I would try and find a dentist that sees toddlers and make an appointment. Or at least call around and ask their advice (which I am going to do on Monday).

1 mom found this helpful

I think both of my kids were around 3 years old. My son did bump his mouth and blacken his front, baby tooth around that time and my pediatrician wanted me to bring him to the dentist to make sure everything was okay with his mouth - and it was. (It's amazing how many little boys have one blackened front baby tooth - pretty common!)

The nice part about my kids going early is they never have had any kind of fear of the dentist or dr's. And we have had our share of medical and dental trips. Just make sure you are brushing his teeth and getting him in the habit of knowing this will happen. Your pediatrician should be able to alert you to any major dental concerns before three (minus taking x-rays). Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

your ped sounds like a nutjob, no offense. i took my oldest dd in when she was 3 and just asked about my little one and they said 3 or 4 yrs for her too (they are 7 yrs apart, so it's been awhile since having a little one!)

hth!
Manda

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I've heard when the teeth start to touch, and you can't see in between them. But personally I haven't taken mine. The oldest is 5 and really should be seen. I better get on top of that. I've had trouble deciding if I should take her to a children's denist or just mine, but the children's dentist in our area doesn't let mom back there (I don't think I'm comfortable with that).

1 mom found this helpful

I would say around 3-4. I think 18 mos is way too young. You need to be able to have them sit in a chair for a couple of minutes. On your child's first visit the dentist will most likely just count his teeth and ask about any problems anyway. However, all this being said you do need to brush his teeth/gums at home. You can use a very small tooth brush, or one of those brushes that fits on your finger. Brush all the surfaces of his teeth using just water or a very small amount (pea size) of the baby/toddler FLORIDE FREE tooth paste.

1 mom found this helpful

Our pediatrician recommended taking our son at 2 years.

I first took my son at 3. He just went to my dentist. watched me get mine cleaned( i have no problems thank God) then he got up in the chair and got his cleaned. regarding a ped. dentist or regular: If a grown up dentist is truly a 'good dentist' they should be able to do children also. one who wont see them til they are older, well in my opinion is not a good dentist. they should be able to work on all sizes of mouths. Good luck
D.

Great post and so true about starting dental care early. Most people don't realize how early it actually starts for young children It’s important to remember that oral health matters at every age. Read more about taking care of infant and young teeth at www.dentalinsurance.org.

We took our son at 2 years of age. He had a simple cleaning and it was more of a meet/greet. I just took him at 2 1/2 and again he had a cleaning and got flossed and had a fluoride treatment. I personally would never wait until 4..ridiculous. I was say 2 is a good age.

i'm sorry, i just have to say i'd see another dentist. 18 months? COME ON> sounds like he's trying to make you feel insecure as a mom. i don't trust it. we did 3 yrs old and it was almost a waste of time!

Absolutely no later than 2 years old. REally you should be seen at 1 year old as they have teeth then. My two year old had a cavity just due to his tooth having come in with bad enamel on it. Therefore, if you wait until they are four, you could cause infection in the parent tooth underneath!

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