4949 Westown Pkwy Suite 150
West Des Moines , IA 50266-6716
(515) 225-0066

Age 1 for your child’s first visit

When should a child first see the dentist?  

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend children see a dentist within six months of the eruption of their first tooth or by their first birthday!

Some say that this is too young to see a dentist.  As specialists in pediatric dentistry, our doctors know that it is never too early to find a dental home and that cavities and other oral problems affect some children when they are very young.  Dr. Diana and Dr. Matt look for cavities, gum problems, oral diseases and pathology as well as your child’s overall development and growth.  Our goal is to help prevent problems that our patients may face rather than just reacting when things go wrong, such as cavities or trauma.  We want to be a dental home for your child so that we can answer all your questions and be ready if and when you should ever need us for treatment.

What are dental problems that young children may face?

Believe it or not, some children develop cavities as young as 12 months old.  Our doctors also look for gum problems, oral cancer, your child’s bite and their overall growth and development.  Sometimes signs of diseases or conditions that affect the body are first diagnosed by a dentist because of a dental problem.  Some children have lip ties or tongue ties that we can release with our laser.  Another common issue with this age group is when they are learning to walk, sometimes a child will fall and bump their mouth.  This can cause movement or displacement of teeth or gums.  Call our office if your child ever takes a serious tumble so that we may advise you.

Example of a Young Child with Cavities

This is a picture of a child who is only nineteen months old.  She has cavities on her two front teeth.  One of the cavities is so large that it has caused the tooth to die, and an infection has resulted.  You can see the infection in the gums as a yellow area above the teeth on the left of the photo.  When teeth are infected, the treatment is almost always extraction.  

Many cavities are preventable.  If this child had seen a dentist at age one, she might not have had to have an infection and extractions.  When very young children require dental treatment, it breaks our hearts.  We wish we could have been there sooner to help with prevention.  Our doctors are very experienced in working with young children and walk parents and patients through each step of the process if your child requires treatment.  

What happens when a young child comes for their first check up?

Our dental assistants and doctors are experienced in working with very young children.  We will take time to review your child’s diet, oral hygiene and home care.  We will discuss oral habits such as thumb sucking and pacifier use.   Our doctor will show you how to properly brush and floss.  We don’t expect full cooperation from young children.  They are too young to understand why we want to brush their teeth and do an examination.  They might fuss or cry, but we will show you how to safely position them on our laps for the cleaning and exam.  Our doctors will answer your questions, address your concerns and make recommendations to help guide your child to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums!   

Many parents are nervous about their child’s first visit.  Some parents find it helpful to read books with their children about dental visits before coming for the first time.  We encourage you to help your child form a healthy, positive view of the dentist.  If you are relaxed and look forward to meeting us, your child will too!  

We love to see young faces in our office – many times these little ones are our favorite patients of the day!

Call us at 515-225-0066 to schedule a visit.  We would love to work with you and your family to have fun and easy dental visits!