You should start taking care of your teeth at a young age. You should clean your baby’s mouth regularly even before the first teeth are cut. The first visit to the dentist could take place when the child cuts their first tooth or when the child is about one year old. You can get the first advice on oral health from a midwife or family nurse in your child’s first year of life.
Home hygiene helps to prevent caries. You can start with constant monitoring already when the baby cuts their first teeth. It is recommended to start regularly visit a dentist, when the child is three years old. On the first visits, the parent could stay with the kid and support him or her. The most important thing is the positive experience you get from the first visits. Children who are already familiar with the dentist and have pleasant experiences will feel comfortable later at the dentist. When a child is afraid of the dentist, it requires patience from everyone.
Studies have shown that if the teeth are strong and healthy by the end of adolescence, treatment will not be needed for several decades. Thus, with the right hygiene habits and preventive controls, it is possible to avoid situations where a significant part of the savings will be spent on dentistry in adulthood.
School nurses also work with dentists to refer children for preventive examinations at the age of 7, 9 and 12. If a child needs dental care, it must be provided with the family’s knowledge and approval. However, it should be checked whether the dentist has a contract with Tervisekassa. Only then the service is free for the parent.
Tervisekassa pays for dental care for insured persons under the age of 19. After the child has reached the age of 19, free dental care is provided for one year only, if the need for treatment arose during the last visit before the age of 19. Free service is available at the same dental care provider where the need for treatment was identified.
A parent has the right to choose a dentist for their child. However, always check that the chosen dentist has a contract with Tervisekassa. Tervisekassa contractual partners are listed on the Tervisekassa website. If there is no contract, the parent must pay for the service in full and this money cannot be claimed from Tervisekassa. Tervisekassa pays only for the services listed in the Tervisekassa list of health care services.
Family nurses and school nurses have the obligation to recommend (refer) dental disease prevention appointments – this is regulated both in the family physician’s work instructions as well as in the regulation of school nurses work. If health care is provided without the presence of a parent – for example, organized by the school – the child must have their parent’s consent with them.