Preventive dentistry is the area of dentistry that focuses on those procedures and life practices that help people to prevent the beginning or progression of oral disease. It includes at-home dental care performed by patients, as well as dental care and education by professional dental staff in the office or clinic.
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The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental visit within 6 months of their first tooth erupting or no later than their first birthday. This initial dental visit is important in assessing dietary habits and need for fluoride. Oral hygiene instruction and an examination by the dentist for early signs of decay are also important services given during this appointment.