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Figuring Out When To Plan Your Child's First Trip To The Dentist

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A common point of contention among many parents is the question of when to start bringing your child to the dentist. Surprisingly, there isn't one simple answer to this question, and the answer could depend on a number of factors including rate of tooth development and any warning signs of a potential issue. Here are three factors to keep in mind when deciding when to bring your child to the dentist for the first time. 

Normal Circumstances

Under normal circumstances, it is recommended by the ADA that your child first go to the dentist by the time his or her first birthday rolls around, and obviously after at least one tooth has shown up. The thinking behind this is that this is the point when most children will stop breastfeeding and will begin to make the move toward solid food, which is a crucial turning point in your child's dental life. 

If Your Child Experiences Bottle Mouth

Bottle tooth decay, often referred to simply as bottle mouth, is when a child's teeth begin to decay very early due to prolonged exposure to sugars such as those present in milk or fruit juices. If you notice unusual pitting or discoloration on your child's teeth, then it may be time to visit a dentist in order to get a solution to this problem before it causes serious issues. Your child's pediatric dentist will probably make dietary recommendations, but may be able to prescribe another treatment based on the age of the child.

In Case of Late Teeth Appearance

If you feel as though your child should start to have a tooth or two poking out, you're not alone. The age when teeth first begin to show can vary widely, and can even be as old as 17 months. If your child passes his or her first birthday without signs of a tooth, then bringing it up to a pediatrician is a good idea, as he or she might recommend a trip to a pediatric dentist for a more in-depth look at the issue. This may or may not include a blood test or x-ray in order to rule out underlying medical problems that may be inhibiting tooth development. 

Knowing when to start your child's regular dental check-ups is a confusing issue, and one that can be muddied even further by late appearance of teeth or glaring dental health problems. However, knowing what to do in case of common dental road blocks can help greatly in making this decision, and can save your child some serious pain if you end up avoiding a major dental catastrophe.