What Can You Expect During an Infant Dental Exam?
Did you know that starting dental care from infancy increases the chances for healthy smiles into adulthood? Even if your little one has one or two teeth, they can develop cavities. Our team at Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry welcomes you to our kid-centered practice and looks forward to working alongside you to establish healthy habits for long-term healthy smiles.
When Should You Schedule Your Baby’s First Dental Exam?
As a parent, you want what’s best for your child, and one of the best things you can do for your little one is to start dental care early on. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends scheduling your baby’s first dental visit within six months of the first tooth coming in and no later than 12 months of age.
After the first infant dental exam, most children require twice-yearly dental exams and cleanings to maintain healthy smiles. If, however, your little one is at a higher risk of cavities or other dental problems, we may recommend more frequent visits.
The Importance of Caring for Baby Teeth
Your child’s teeth will eventually fall out, so why is it so important to care for them? Baby teeth serve many essential functions. They help your child chew and play an integral role in speech development. They also guide the permanent teeth into their proper positions when it’s time for them to erupt.
Neglecting to care for baby teeth can lead to infections, tooth decay, cavities, and other dental concerns that can impact your child’s health. Moreover, losing a tooth prematurely can cause the neighboring teeth to shift toward the gap, leading to crooked teeth and problems with the bite. That often translates to the need for orthodontic treatments down the road.
What Happens During an Infant Dental Exam?
Each child’s visit is a unique, tailored experience. However, here are some of the things you can expect during your little one’s infant dental exam:
- Medical History: We will review your baby’s medical history and ask you about any oral health concerns you have.
- Checking for Cavities: Cavities can develop in baby teeth like adult ones. We will check for signs of early decay or cavities to ensure your child’s smile is healthy and sound.
- Examining the Gums: We will look at your little one’s gums to see if there are any signs of irritation, inflammation, or infection.
- Evaluating the Bite: We will assess your child’s bite and ensure the jaws are properly aligned.
- Promoting Healthy Habits: We will demonstrate how to clean your baby’s teeth and gums and may discuss topics such as brushing techniques, fluoride, nutrition, pacifier use, and thumb-sucking.
Healthy Habits for Long-Term Healthy Smiles
There are several things you can do at home to ensure your little one’s smile stays healthy and sound, including maintaining excellent oral hygiene. Caring for your child’s smile begins before any teeth erupt. Start by using a damp cloth to gently clean your baby’s gums after every feeding.
Once the first baby tooth comes in, it’s time to use a soft-bristled baby toothbrush and a smear of toothpaste to keep those tiny chompers clean. Around age three, use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste and monitor your child’s brushing time until you are confident your little one can spit out the toothpaste.
Cavities are common in young children but are preventable. Make sure to limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks and avoid putting your baby in bed with a bottle or sippy cup. Encourage your little one to drink plenty of water to keep that tiny smile clean and fresh.
Infant Dental Exams Near Me in Glendale, AZ
Visit Smile Explorers Pediatric Dentistry to learn more about setting the stage for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Our pediatric dentist and kid-centered team will do everything possible to ensure your little one’s visits are comfortable, happy, and stress-free. We look forward to caring for your child’s smile. Call us at 623-322-2277 to schedule your baby’s appointment today!