According to guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), your child should be seen by his/her pediatric dentist no later than six months after the eruption of the first tooth.
The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. This visit gives your child an opportunity to meet the dentist in a non-threatening and friendly way.
This visit mainly will involve counseling on oral hygiene, habits, and on the effects that diet can have on his/her teeth. It is NOT recommended to wait until age 3 to visit your dentist and as a general rule, the earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems.
Children with healthy teeth chew food easily, learn to speak clearly, and smile with confidence.
It is falsely believed by many people that tooth decay is now uncommon in children. This is not true and dental decay remains the most prevalent disease in humans, with approximately 25% of children ages 2 to 5 years having cavities in primary (baby) teeth. Caries (decay) rates among children ages 6 to 8 is 56% nationwide according to a recent CDC report. Untreated decay in baby teeth may lead to serious infections, which left untreated can be dangerous and may affect the development of the underlying permanent teeth.
It is also often assumed that if a baby tooth is lost due to decay or infection, there will be no adverse effects. This is also not always the case. While the premature loss of a front tooth often will usually only have an esthetic effect, loss of a back tooth can cause loss of space which is needed for the proper sequence of eruption of the permanent teeth. This in turn may increase the need and/or the complexity of future orthodontic treatment.
The AAPD recommends a dental check-up at least twice a year.