According to the Canadian Dental Association, infants should be assessed by a dentist within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth or by one year of age. At the first appointment, your dentist can have a look at the eruption of the baby teeth, (if the child lets us!) visually inspect for cavities and go over any oral hygiene questions with the parents. More than anything, the initial visit allows your child to get used to coming to the dentist and experience the dental environment for the first time in a positive way.
Children in general, should be seen by the dentist every six months to catch any small problems early. When a child is old enough, x-rays should be taken. X-rays show decay between the teeth and will also show if teeth are coming in the way they should. Fluoride application is especially important for children as well to help prevent cavities.
Once your child has permanent molars, sealants will be typically recommended to help reduce the chance of tooth decay. A sealant is a kind of plastic that is put on the chewing surface of the molars. The plastic seals the tooth and makes it less likely to trap food and germs.
Your dentist can also tell you if crooked or crowded teeth could cause problems. Sometimes crooked teeth will straighten out on their own as the child’s jaw grows and the rest of the teeth come in. If they do not straighten out, your child may have a bite problem (also known as malocclusion). This can cause problems with eating and with teeth cleaning. It can also affect the appearance of your child’s smile. Your dentist can suggest ways to treat this, or refer your child to an orthodontist.