By Susan Braden
Traditionally, the American Dental Association has recommended that children get their first check-up at age 3. However, many dentists are now recommending that children see a dentist within 6 months of their teeth erupting through the gums (check out the Mom's Guide for more information about how to care for your child's teeth). This means that children as young as 1-2 years old are being recommended to visit a dentistry provider for their first check-up and may need affordable dental care at an earlier age.
While it is unlikely that your toddler will need a crown or root canal on their first visit, taking him or her to a dentistry provider for the most basic preventative care will be very helpful to your child’s future dental health. If your child thus needs to start dentistry work at an earlier age than you had expected, there may be an increased need for your family to find affordable care options.
When your toddler goes to the dentist, he or she is not necessarily going to need major dental work. Finding a plan to discount your toddler may not seem like a major concern up front, but since most toddlers need to visit a pediatric dentist (specializing in children’s dentistry) remember that this specialist visit will be more expensive than a visit to the general dentist.
Your child’s very first visit will likely be focused on getting him or her comfortable in the dentist chair. It is important for your young child to understand right away that a visit to the dentist can actually be fun. Most likely, a pediatric dentist will not need to do any major work on your toddler, but will count your child’s teeth, look inside your child’s mouth and make the experience as exciting as possible. If your child does have immediate dentistry needs, the pediatric dentist can address these right away before the problem spreads.
Along with having fun, your child will begin to learn the good oral hygiene habits to follow for the rest of life. This visit can also be very helpful to you as a parent, since the dentist will have an opportunity to coach you about how to implement proper oral hygiene for your child.
Even though your child’s first visit to the dentist should not require much work, it is still very helpful to have affordable dental care options available. There are many different plans and insurances which can offer low cost dentistry to you and your child. You may want to place your child on your benefits, or seek out an individual discount option for your child. Whichever coverage options are available in your area, your child will best learn the value of going to the dentist if you start taking him or her there at a young age.