Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First dental visit

There is a woman in one of the mom’s groups I belong to whose husband
specializes in pediatric oral health. She is urging everyone in the
group to get their kiddos to the dentist and says that dentists who
recommend waiting to age 3 (like mine) or 4, just don’t like
interacting with young kids.

These are some of the major dental organization guidelines she passed along:

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) policy says "the
first dental visit should occur shortly after the first tooth erupts
and no later than the child’s first birthday."

The American Dental Association (ADA) policy says the first dental
visit should occur "within six months of the eruption of the first
tooth, and no later than the child's first birthday."

The Academy of general Dentistry (AGD) policy says "a child’s first
visit to the dentist should occur within six months of the eruption of
the first tooth.”

I was surprised to not see any questioning, or any explanation of the rationale behind the guidelines. I felt like a cynical crank when I pointed out that earlier
visits = more patients = more money for the dentists. It’s in their
self interest to promote people coming in as soon and as often as they
can. Shortly after the first tooth erupts? Are you kidding? For

She took her own daughter at 20 months and cited the benefits of
getting a really cool toothbrush and getting used to sitting in the
chair. For $150 and the time it would take me to make the appointment
and bring him? Sorry. River will get used to sitting in the chair when
the time comes because he has to. I don’t think it will traumatize

Unless someone can show me some evidence that a kid who eats a healthy
diet and brushes once a day is at some serious risk of dental disease
if he doesn’t get to the dentist before age 3, I think I’ll listen to
my dentist, and not these guidelines. It does make me sad though that
I feel so little confidence in U.S. medical association guidelines.
Though I feel very cynical compared to these hyper-concerned moms, who
are willing to jump at whatever an expert says, I am a little more
active on this front than Mark. When I told him I thought we should
start making a habit of River brushing once a day, he asked “Why?
Those teeth are all going to fall out anyway.”

When did you make your first pediatric dental visit? When you do think it makes sense?

1 comment:

Lainey Wright said...

I have to say, I am sort of with Mark on this one! & I am with you on how irritating it is to feel you cannot trust various guidelines. It certainly makes it harder to make these sorts of decisions...Seeing as X has 6 teeth already, maybe we'll go sometime after his 1st birthday? -but who knows? -if we're cleaning his teeth daily, I am not so sure it matters. Who are these overly concerned moms anyhow?