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At what age should my child have his/her first dental exam?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends every child have established a Dental Home by 12 months of age. We will examine your child's mouth, instruct you on proper oral hygiene techniques and diet, and establish a relationship with each other.

At this initial and each subsequent checkup visit, we will review proper methods of home care appropriate to your child's understanding, check for cavities, clean your child's teeth and apply fluoride as needed.

How often does my child need a professional polishing with rubber cup and polishing (prophy) paste?

It depends. There is no scientific evidence that the traditional polishing with rubber cup on a dental handpiece and polishing paste has any therapeutic value. In fact, numerous reports have shown that plaque left on the teeth is not a barrier to fluoride uptake; and there is no difference in rate of tooth decay between patients who receive a rubber cup polish and those who don't. Also, polishing with rubber cup or brush and paste is somewhat abrasive and may remove the outer, most fluoride rich layer of enamel, which is the most protective against cavities. Polishing with a rubber cup and paste is helpful to remove stain, if it exists. Scaling with a hand instrument is more gentle on the enamel and also removes calculus (if it is present) and some stain.

This has been the policy of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry since 1986:

How often should my child have a dental checkup?

It depends. The interval for dental checkups is determined by the patient's risk factors (such as dental crowding, diet, medical condition, enamel defects, etc.), history of cavities, level of oral hygiene, etc. It is individualized for each patient. Some may require more frequent recalls and some may not need to return sooner than a year. There is no scientific basis for the "routine six month checkup."