Lap Exam (Ages 1-2)
Your child should visit a dentist earlier than you may think. According to American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), you should schedule their first appointment once their first baby tooth erupts. At the very latest, be sure they have an evaluation by their first birthday.
At Changing Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we understand that taking a baby or infant to the dentist may seem like a daunting task. Between the ages of one and two, a “lap exam” is usually the best course of action. As the name suggests, you will be asked to hold your child in your lap during their appointment. This can help keep them calm and cooperative throughout the exam.
The Importance of Professional Pediatric Dentistry
Your child’s first appointment is largely educational. During this visit, we will evaluate your child’s oral health and review the proper brushing and flossing techniques. This is also an excellent opportunity for you to ask any questions and voice concerns.
This first visit will set the stage for future appointments. For this reason, we strive to create a comfortable, kid-friendly, and even enjoyable experience. A lap exam is usually the best way to accomplish this goal.
Exam and Risk Assessment
Throughout the first few years, routine exams are crucial. During these exams, Dr. Meads will check the teeth, gums, and jaws for any developmental issues or abnormalities. Catching developmental issues early can prevent the need for more extensive treatments later down the line. Many of these issues are also easier to treat while your child is in the development phase.
A large part of these early exams is a dental caries risk assessment. Dental caries, or tooth decay, can occur for several reasons. The most common risk factors for an infant include poor oral hygiene, hereditary issues, enamel defects, diet, poor habits, and minimal fluoride exposure.
As your child develops, usually around the age of three, we will begin to perform professional cleanings. During a professional cleaning, our dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar deposits to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. We may also suggest fluoride treatment to keep the enamel as strong as possible. Fluoride treatment can even reverse minor instances of decay.
Oral hygiene and habit counseling are perhaps the most important part of these first few appointments. The habits you establish early on can either prevent or cause oral health problems that affect their permanent teeth.
One of these issues is known as baby bottle tooth decay. This occurs when you place an infant to bed with a bottle that contains anything other than water. It is a common mistake new parents make, and it’s easy to avoid.
We may also bring up finger, thumb, and pacifier habits. While these habits are completely normal for the first few years, excessive sucking can result in misaligned teeth. This is only a concern for children who do not naturally grow out of these behaviors by four or five.
Schedule Your Child’s Appointment
Remember, your child should receive a professional evaluation by their first birthday at the latest. Call (702) 998-2840 to schedule an appointment now!