Parents looking to see if their children have access to dental care should check with the dentist, but if they have to travel, it may be best to wait a week or two for the appointment to be made, said Dr. Sarah Kelleher, a dentist and associate professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The waiting period for a referral from the doctor to the dentist is usually two weeks, said Kellehers’ husband, Paul, who has two young children with primary-care physicians in the same county.

The longest it takes is 24 hours, he said.

The first appointment is typically made at least 30 days before the expected visit date.

 Dental care is one of the most basic things you can do for your child, said David Shaffer, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

If you know your child is eligible, it’s good to go to the doctor as soon as possible.

But if you’re not sure, ask your child’s pediatrician.

If they have no information, it is good to find out.

Kellehers and Shaffer said parents should also look for dental care at home.

That’s especially true if you have children under age 18 and can’t find a dentist in the immediate area, or you live in an area that is not covered by Medicaid.

If there’s a hospital or clinic nearby, you should call ahead to make sure it is covered.

If not, you can get a referral online.

For more on dental care:  For more health news, check out NBCNews.com’s Health and Wellness section.