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11Feb2014

Infant Oral Health: Your Baby’s First Exam

START EARLY. Healthy teeth help your child’s whole body. Tooth decay is an infection. In fact, it’s the #1 chronic disease in children.

The good news is, it’s PREVENTABLE. Start good dental habits in early childhood to prevent more serious health problems later in life.

Take Your Child To The Dentist When You See The First Tooth, Or By Age Of 1

An infant’s first dental exam should take place at about 12 months of age, and very rarely reveals any cavities. The parents are excited, hopeful, and anxious all at the same time.

Unfortunately, many of those same children come back 12 to 18 months later in need of restorations (fillings), crowns, pulpotomies (baby root canals), or worse yet, extractions. Their parents then feel more than anxious—they also have financial fears, and sometimes they’re angry or ashamed. And, they’re asking themselves the same question you are: “If I brush my baby’s teeth, how is it possible for them to have cavities?”

Bring Your Baby In For An Anticipatory Guidance Appointment

Just as pediatricians see infants for well baby checks to track their growth and weight, test their hearing and vision, etc., pediatric and general dentists want you to bring your infant in for a well baby dental check called Anticipatory Guidance.

This first dental check up is exactly what the term states: being able to anticipate what the needs of your infant/toddler are before a problem occurs and to guide both parents and child through the different stages of development.

It Is Best To Be Proactive Rather Than Reactive

This first visit to the dentist should be done when the first tooth appears in the mouth (around 6 – 12 months of age). In this way, all parties involved (infant, parents, and dental practitioner) are being proactive rather than reactive to what happens in the child’s first five years of life.

During The Anticipatory Guidance Appointment, With One Or Both Parents, The Following Should Occur:

    1. Oral visual exam (done knee to knee as shown above).
    2. Oral hygiene instruction and discussion of eating habits.
    3. Fluoride and prevention advice.
    4. Counsel on oral habits.
    5. In case of oral trauma, course of action determined.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an Anticipatory Guidance appointment, contact us.

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