Whether you live here in Bankstown or in rural Australia, early life dental visits are important.
But exactly when should your child first see the dentist? The answer is unfortunately not clear cut. Read on to find out what our Australian dental authorities recommend.
When dentists recommend a first visit
The Australian Dental Association recommends visiting a dentist when your child’s first tooth appears or when they turn 12 months old – whichever comes first. This is because teeth can be affected by decay as soon as they emerge, which happens at 3-7 months old in most babies.
The time it takes for a cavity to develop an vary greatly, though it can take as little as six months if the conditions are right. That means a first tooth which arrived at 4 months could already be decayed before your baby turns one. While decay that early is uncommon, an early dentist visit can catch it before it becomes painful.
When the government recommends a first visit
The Victoria, Queensland, and West Australia State Governments recommend a dental check before age two,,. Here in New South Wales and in Tasmania, a dental visit before your child’s first birthday is recommended,. South Australia recommends a dental visit at 12-18 months of age, while the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory don’t have a clear stance.
While each state may have slightly different advice, all given recommendations fall between ages 1 and 2. As a result, we recommend a first trip to the dentist at some point in this period.
Do they really need to see a dentist that early?
We recommend seeing a dentist between ages 1 and 2 because that’s when a dentist can start identifying and addressing future problems. It’s also a great time to start forming healthy habits.
In most cases, your child’s health will not suffer if you need to wait until they are closer to two years old before visiting. Just remember to keep an eye out for signs of trouble and schedule an earlier visit if needed.
What if my child doesn’t want to go?
A child’s first dental visit is a milestone, just like their first haircut or first day of school. The Australian Dental Association recommends celebrating it as such: “Take photos and write about the experience. Either you’ll get a lovely memory to reflect upon, or some great material for their 21st birthday!”
Children’s dentists like the Advanced Health Medical Centre team are well versed in keeping kids calm during treatment. There’s no need to feel embarrassed if they’re flustered or noisy: trust us, we’ve seen it all before.
What about costs?
If you or they receive an eligible Centrelink payment, your child is eligible for funding through the child dental benefits schedule as soon as they are born. You can check the current eligibility requirements on the Services Australia website.
If your child is not eligible for the benefits schedule, you still access quality dental care through Advanced Health Medical Centre. Our highly trained and experienced team is always happy to help kids keep their teeth healthy.