There seems to be varying opinions out there on when a child should have their first dental check-up. It's usually the pediatrician that suggests a dental visit. I've heard 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, or after all the teeth are in. The American Dental Association and The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggest within 6 months of the first tooth erupting or at least by age 1.
Here's what we suggest here at AllStar Smiles 4 Kids based on my 36 years of experience in pediatric dentistry:
1)The first visit should be somewhere between 2 and 3. Much of this has to do with your child's level of cooperation. If you know they will not let anyone look at their mouth and even brushing is a "fight", then I would suggest delaying that first dental check-up a few months.
2)Unless.....you notice something that doesn't look right like a spot on a tooth or sore on gums, then by all means bring them in earlier. If you are concerned about an oral habit like thumb sucking or pacifier use at any age, then please come in and talk with me.
3)Most children a 2-3 years of age will be apprehensive, and we certainly understand that, so we make our first visit very simple and may only take a quick look. If your child lets us do more we may try to clean the teeth if that is needed, but at this age we don't force anything. I've found that the less you do at the first visit, the easier it is to come back and add a little more each time.
I would be glad to see your child at any age if you have any questions or just want to call and talk with me over the phone. Our primary objective is to develop good dental habits and a good relationship with the dentist that lasts a lifetime!