15 answers

When to Take Toddler to Dentist

I have a nearly 3 yr old son and it just occurred to me that I should begin thinking about dental care. When is the best time and/or does anyone have good recommendations for dentist who are superbly skilled with the little ones? Of course, I want to make sure that he receives the care he needs, but how much dental care is really necessary for the milk teeth if his diet is free of sugar and most processed foods. Has anyone waited until 5 or 6 before starting to see a dentist? Thank you!

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I started taking mine when they were 1. The Kids Dentist in West Linn is awesome! The whole office is decorated just for kids and has a lot of great things to distract them. Very nice people and great office!

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I am a dental hygienist. The official recommendation is that a child's first visit to the dentist occur before he/she turns one year old, or when teeth begin to erupt (sometimes children still don't have teeth at one year old). Then, you should have your child's teeth examined annually after that until he/she is able to sit still for an actual cleaning (usually somewhere between 2-1/2 to 5 years old, depending on the child). Cleanings are recommended every six months after that. For the very young children, most offices will schedule a "happy visit," during which the child gets to ride in the chair and become familiar with the office and dental team members, and the doctor does a quick visual exam (to make sure the teeth are coming normally and there is no decay beginning). Cleaning and x-rays may or may not be done. It's a very relaxed visit, but highly recommended. The earlier a child learns that the dental office is a friendly place with people who want to help him/her, the less likely he/she is to grow up fearing the dentit. Often, offices do not even charge for happy visits (especially if they happen to coordinate with your regular maintenance appointment and no cleaning or x-rays are done). As for the risk to your son's teeth, if he's not eating much sugar (although the natural sugars in fruits, juices, and milk can still be very damaging) and you're brushing his teeth regularly (especially before he goes to bed), then he's probably at a pretty low risk level. It would still be wise to have a professional check him out, though. Even very small spots of decay can spread very quickly on baby teeth, and decay on baby teeth can actually pass to the permanent teeth before they even come in! I'm new to the area, so I don't know any good pediatric dentists. If you like your own dentist, though, you could ask him/her if they see children or if they have a recommendation. Under normal circumstances, there's no reason why a child cannot see the same dentist his/her parents see. I hope this helps.

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At the advice of my pediatrician I took my son to the dentist when he turned two. The younger one wound up going around the time he got his first set of teeth, as the dentist said it is always a good idea to start sooner. Usually, by 3 yo they do a light cleaning, including flossing. This can be difficult to do if a child is nervous because it is his first time at the dentist. Which is why they say the sooner the better.

We go to Dr. James in Wilsonville. He is amazing! His staff, and office are completely comfortable and my kids actually look forward to going. I have even heard that several parents followed him from Vancouver when he opened up his practice in Wilsonville. http://www.dentistryforkidsonline.com They even have "Star Nights" which are special appointments they do in the evening for the busy working families.

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What my dentist told me was that it is a good idea to start getting them into the dentist at age 3 and age 4 to get them used to the idea of just sitting in the chair, and meeting the dentist, and seeing what goes on, kinda like practice for the future dentist appointments. So...you could probably wait until age 4-5, but the sooner the better, I think!

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I think it sets a good example to take him now and maybe when he is 20-something he might put himself in the dentist chair even though it feels "pointless". I also think it is nice to have a relationship with a dentist before anything needs fixed.

We LOVE Dr Pike ###-###-####. His office does children only and the price is very reasonable. They have gerbils, video games, therapy dogs, and greatest of all, understanding adults. They will never force treatment on your child. They start out by testing whether or not your child will let them touch their shoes well before trying to see their teeth. My son needed a root canal at the age of two. The staff took the time to get it done within his comfort level. No one had to hold my boy down-- he sat through it himself at the age of 2.

1 mom found this helpful

I took my kids for their first appointment at around 2 years. We love Dr. Krista Badger in NE PDX

1 mom found this helpful

I started taking mine when they were 1. The Kids Dentist in West Linn is awesome! The whole office is decorated just for kids and has a lot of great things to distract them. Very nice people and great office!

No you are suppose to bring the baby to a dentist at age 1 and you should be brushing at the sight of the first tooth. Baby teeth are very important even though most people do not think that!

Just have to put my 2 cents in too. I took my daughter when she was 2, just to watch and have her teeth "counted" (really just to take a quick look and have her sit in the chair), then at 3 for her first cleaning. The hygenists were great with her, she got to watch me as they explained everything they were doing to me. She thought it was hilarious that mommy had to wear a bib. When I was finished she literally jumped into the chair and opened her mouth as wide as she could for her turn.
I see Dr. Timothy Elliot in Gresham and he is the best

At my peds recommendation, I took my daughter at 3 years old. I can't imagine what real value there is in taking them much earlier (e.g., when their teeth first erupt) as long as you have been diligent about brushing, have introduced flossing and are managing sugary foods (e.g., after sugary foods, do a quick brushing or give a tiny (rice-size)bit of toothpaste to slosh around their teeth.

When she turned 3, we went to Dr. Pike (based on several recommendations from not only our ped, but other moms). Absolutely great experience for her. Totally tailored to kids' needs. She had a great experience and her teeth looked great (my step mom is a dental hygienist and checked after the cleaning). ;)

Check out his practice at http://www.doctorpike.com/

I took mine at age three. She has some problems and I was concerned, but found out that it will have to wait awhile. Her first visit was very low key (tell the dentist this is the first visit) and the dental hygenist was wonderful. She had the tools out for her to play with. There were explanations before each thing done, so my dd knew what was coming and what we didn't get we didn't get or push from her. At this age it is just good to teach them to get in the chair. Have they gone with you to the dentist? Mine had before she went and she thought she was a big girl for doing what Mommy did with the dentist. It was cute. Good luck.

i waited until my daughter was 3... she didn't have any issues, i just thought it was a good idea to get her comfortable with a dentist. my son came along, he was 1.5, they both did very well. we live in happy valley, the dentist we used is young kidz dental on sunnyside. the office was very clean & kid friendly.

D.,
Our dentist said a child can go as early as 1yr old. Our son saw him when he was 1yr and did great. Recently our youngest has gone to him and loves to go. He is now 5yrs and doesn't get scared.
Dr. Downey has two offices, one in the Hillsboro area and one in the Murray/Scholls area. He and his wife are both dentists and are great with kids. The number is ###-###-####.

Poor thing you are going to get 100 different answers to this one. I'll share my experience with you. I read that you should take him at 1 and called our dentist and he said there was really no point. We had appts when he was 18-20 months so I brought him along. He sat in the chair and the dentist just looked at his teeth. They were super nice about it. And he wanted to be held by the hygenist when we were done and he doesn't ever go to anyone. There were no tears or anything but they didn't pry into his mouth like I said he just peeked. I thought his teeth were looking spotty which is why I brought him with us. He said just to keep bringing him when we come and they would let him watch us get our teeth done once and peek again at his. He said to be sure to brush and that flouride toothpaste was okay because even though your child may be getting the flouride drops it is different. But of course not too much. I keep a toothbrush in the kitchen and we try to brush after breakfast and then again at night after baths. I let him do it then go back in and finish the job. So, good luck with all your responses and hope mine helped a little too!

Early is best. It takes each child a few visits to get comfortable and they want to be doing a full cleaning by the time the new teeth do start to come in at age 5 or 6. Even baby teeth can have issues that effect the permanent teeth to come behind them. Additionally, if you happen to have any dental tramau (my son fell at 3 and knocked a front tooth nearly out with risk a damage to the permanent behind it) it helps to already have a relationship with a dentist.

We have an EXCELLENT pediatric dentist -- Karole Wilson. She is located near Washington Square Mall if that's convenient for you. Her number is ###-###-####.

You need to start now. Milk is loaded with sugar! You'd be suprised by how much sugar is in just regular food. How the baby teeth are has a large impact on permenant teeth. My sister's oldest son had to have both front teeth capped at age two due to what they use to call "bottle rot". His baby teeth were rotten from sleeping with a bottle. They had to care for those teeth so his permanent teeth would be ok. I'm sorry I don't know a good childrens dentist but I'm sure that mamasource has some good ones you could look up.

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