THE FIRST CHECKUP
Like many parents, James thought she could wait until Juliet was older to schedule a first dental visit. But in fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends an exam within six months of the first tooth's appearance and absolutely no later than baby's first birthday. Even if the dentist doesn't do much at that first meeting, it's an opportunity to address potential problems before they crop up. "At the initial appointment, we go through a cavity risk assessment," Dr. Nowak says. "We decide on fluoride treatment, dietary modifications, and the frequency of checkups." If you can, see a pediatric dentist. While some general dentists care for babies, pediatric ones have special training and equipment designed for little bodies--and often fun decor that puts kids at ease. Click on the "Find a Pediatric Dentist" link at aapd.org.