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What age to see small children?

I have always worked in general practice(24 years) and have always started seeing children around age 3 or 4. We would refer to pedo if they needed to be seen earlier. I did a working interview the other day and a 2 year old was scheduled and I was made to feel stupid because I had never worked on a child that young before. How young do you all see them in general practice?



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6 Answers

The ADA recommends that the first dental visit take place within six months after the first tooth appears, but no later than a child’s first birthday.

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We also encourage families to bring them in around 1 and get them use to seeing us…we usually spend some time with them casually…look, count, teach them a little…but we dont typically spend a full prophy (charged out) appointment until they are about 3…this has been usual in all offices I’ve worked in…I’ve not worked in a pedo office which I imagine may start them much earlier. ..

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Our youngest patients are around 9 months, but we see them once they have their first tooth. Ive had 1yr old patients with caries because of baby bottle syndrome. There’s been a couple times 1-2 yr olds gums started bleeding just from me touching them. Some who are around 2 actually sit in the chair by themselves, but mostly at or under that age, we just do knee-to-knee technique prophy and exam.

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We start seeing them in our office at age 2. However, we have seen younger if parent requests.

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We start Happy Visits at no charge when children erupt their first tooth. Usually by age two to three I am able to hand scale, polish, floss etc….. The happy visit is a fun visit showing them all the things we use. Mr. Thirsty, the water and air gun etc….. They love to spray water into a cup and then use Mr. Thirsty to drink it all up over and over again.

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I tell parents to bring their children in when they come for their hygiene appointments (but bring another adult to help watch the child) More often then not the child will sit in room or close by with the “toy wagon” It gives them time to adjust to noise, us, mask, gloves, and the environment. If they ride in the chair great if they don’t want to fine. As they get in more “visits” they may let us count their teeth. When it is their turn they already know us, it wont be a first time in the office processing EVERYTHING AND having to deal with us actually working on them. Obviously if the parent has a concern the scenario is different. Good Happy visits. Sometimes if the young child is very curious they will allow a full visit. That always makes for a proud parent.

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