The rule of thumb is to bring the baby in within 6 months of the first tooth erupting in the mouth, or by age 1.
This first appointment serves a few important functions:
- Teaching the parent(s) the proper way to care for the baby's newly erupting teeth,
- Allowing the dentist to evaluate the baby's mouth to insure proper development and health
- Providing mom/dad an opportunity to address any questions/issues they have with baby's mouth,
- Makes the crucial first step in introducing a young person to the dental environment.
Another question is what type of dentist is suitable to look after your baby's dental health. There is a sub-specialty of dentistry known as pediatric dentistry, where pedodontists treat only people from birth to late teens. They have the most training, experience and education when it comes to children, however your family dentist may also be equally qualified (especially a general dentist with many years of experience). Ask your family dentist and see who they would recommend to see.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is an excellent resource to assist parents in finding a local pediatric dentist.