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I'm in NZ so dental check ups are free here until you leave school.
They start around 18mths, but we didn't end up taking DD1 in until she was 2 1/2
Our pedi told us to go at 18 months, so we did. I had no problems finding a pediatric dentist covered by insurance. We haven't paid for anything. We went to the dentist our pedi recommended, which is right next door to the pedi. So, we double up--we go to the dentist first, and then the pedi right afterwards.
I want my children to learn early about dental hygiene, since most people hate going to the dentist.
Plus, the dentist told me that my DD had a lot of plaque because it was difficult to brush with a regular toothbrush and recommended the kid's sonicare electric toothbrush. The next time, my DD had very little plaque.
We started at two with both girls, and just take them to our family dentist every six months, which is covered by our dental insurance.
I took DD1 for the first time around 15 months because she had some buildup on her teeth, but it didn't require cleaning.
Once we started regular visits, It took a few times for them to get comfortable with the equipment and the process, but now they do great. DD1 is a pro now at five; and at her last appointment, my three-year-old let them do everything except rinse with the water squirter. Sometimes I schedule my visit right before one of them, so I take one girl, she watches me get my teeth cleaned, and then takes her turn -- it helps them to see it first.
Linz-E:I took DD at per her pediatricians recommendation. I found a pediatric dentist relatively easy and didnt pay anything with insurance for first visit. It was a great experience all around!
Should say at 2 :)