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Until the child reaches the age of 3, parents are the only reference regarding the importance of a healthy mouth. Children will watch and learn dental hygiene habits from their parents who will be responsible for the cleaning and examination of their child’s dentition (using a wet washcloth or a small toothbrush from the age of 2). You must develop this routine in a positive way so that these gestures and habits become natural.
The ideal time for a first visit to the dentist is at the age of 3 (or earlier if you have concerns). At this age, your child will be able to express themselves, demonstrate an understanding of the importance of oral health and be open to this visit. If your child is well prepared, this appointment will become a moment of pleasant discovery and establish a solid foundation for long-term dental hygiene habits.
Ideally, your child should meet the dentist for the first time during a routine examination, before there is any sign of pain or other factors provoking feelings of fear or anxiety. In this case, the child may associate dental care with pain and remain fearful for each upcoming visit. It is possible that your dentist will not be able to treat your child because of a strong fear or the presence of important cavities. In these two situations, your dentist may recommend consulting a pedodontist (a dentist who specializes in care of children’s teeth).
The majority of treatments for children aged 9 and under are covered by the “Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec” (RAMQ). However, the costs of dental cleaning, scaling, fluoride application and sealants are not covered by the Régie.
Note that the treatments not covered by the RAMQ will probably have a slightly higher cost at the pedodontist than at your dentist, but it may be submitted to your private insurance company if you have family coverage for your dental care. In any case, the important remains that your child can get the care that is adapted to their needs.