Infant Oral Care | Well Baby Exam

Did you know that your child should see a dentist when their first tooth erupts or by their first birthday, whichever comes first? Although infants have few teeth, it’s important to introduce dental care at an early age to make sure that they stay on track.

Understandably, the dental exam for an infant differs significantly from that for an older child. We take care to recognize the unique needs of infants and adjust our techniques to meet those needs. A well-baby dental exam should be an uneventful experience for your child.

We view ourselves as your partners in ensuring that your child has optimal oral health from infancy onward. Don’t hesitate to ask for anything that you may need to keep your child’s smile in tip-top shape.

Value Of Dental Exams For Infants

You may be wondering why infants need dental exams if they only have one or two teeth, or maybe even none. Babies gain several benefits from having their smiles examined regardless of how many teeth they have. They will:

  • Establish comfort with seeing a dentist for routine care
  • Have a baseline assessment from which the remainder of dental development can be monitored
  • Have access to a variety of preventive treatments
  • Be able to have any oral diseases diagnosed and treated early in the disease process

Infant Oral Care | Pediatric Dentist | Belterra Kids Teeth | Dripping Springs, TX

Not only do these exams protect your child’s oral health, but they can also put you at ease, too. If you have any questions about any aspects of your child’s home or professional oral care, please ask us at your child’s exam. We want to make sure that you have all of the info you need to take care of your child’s smile.

Well Baby Exam Process

Parents may also wonder how a dentist examines the smile of a child who can barely sit up independently. We use the lap-to-lap technique, in which a parent holds the child in their lap, with a parent facing a child. Then the child lays back into the dentist’s lap for the exam.

When looking at your baby’s smile, we’ll be paying close attention to the following:

  • Palate
  • Dental arch shape
  • Condition of any teeth that are present
  • Condition of gum tissue

We will also assess the pattern of tooth eruption and compare it with typical tooth eruption in infants to make sure that your child’s development is progressing as expected.

If any abnormalities or signs of disease are present, we will advise you of any dental interventions that could help address the issue.

Parents And Pediatric Dentists: Partners In Baby’s Oral Care

Our dentists are only one factor in protecting your child’s oral health. Your contributions at home are equally important. We view ourselves and our patients’ parents as teammates in this effort.

In between exams at our office, you should be brushing and flossing your child’s teeth daily and limiting your child’s consumption of sweet treats to keep teeth in good condition.

If you notice issues or concerns at home, we are relying on you to bring them to our attention so that they can be treated as needed. Such issues may include:

  • Adequate oral hygiene practices
  • Pacifier use
  • Thumb sucking
  • Tooth grinding

Furthermore, there’s no need to wait for your child’s next exam to discuss any concerns that you may have. Feel free to call our office to ask questions between visits. We are happy to discuss your child’s case with you at any time.

Common Questions about Infant Oral Care

When should I take my baby to the dentist?

We recommend that infants visit a dentist for the first time no later than their first birthday, or sooner if their first tooth erupts before then. This allows the dentist to establish a baseline from which future development can be monitored.

Do babies need toothpaste?

Before the baby’s first tooth erupts, wiping the gums gently with a damp washcloth will suffice for oral care. However, when the teeth come in, it’s time to start using a toothpaste suitable for children on a brush. For children up to 3 years old, a rice-sized bit of toothpaste will suffice. You can increase that to a pea-sized amount in children three years old and older.

When should I start brushing my baby's teeth?

You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they begin to erupt. See the previous question for guidelines about how much toothpaste to use. When your child has two teeth that touch each other, you can introduce gentle flossing to clean between those two teeth.

What kind of dental issues are most common in infants and toddlers?

Tooth decay is the most common dental issue in infants and toddlers, although fortunately this condition can be prevented with good oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and professional dental care. It’s important to work to prevent tooth decay and treat it promptly when it does occur because premature tooth loss can have a cascade of consequences for your child’s smile. Other concerns in infants and toddlers include thumb sucking and tongue thrusting, and our exams monitor for the effects of those issues, as well.