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Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"What will my child's pediatric dental follow up teach me about teething?"

Question

Should my child see a dentist if he only has three teeth?

Answer

This is a great question as dental care is very important to your child's overall health. Most dental professionals and some pediatricians recommend a child's first visit to the dentist be around the age of 1. Some will recommend scheduling an appointment as soon as your infant gets his first tooth.

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However, many pediatricians will say it is fine to wait until the child is older, around 2 or 3, if there are no risk factors for tooth decay and they are seeing their pediatrician regularly. Although 1 year old may seem early and most children do not have a mouthful of teeth there are good reasons for this advice. The most important reason to see a dentist early is to discuss ways to prevent tooth problems through preventative care. Some ways to prevent dental problems in your child include never letting them fall asleep with a bottle, brushing your child's teeth with fluorinated toothpaste twice a day with an age-appropriate tooth brush, and limiting juice and never offering it in a bottle but rather a sippy cup. Your dentist will also discuss the normal variations in time-line of tooth eruption in children and discuss ways to help with teething pain.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.