Baby's First Dental Exam: What To Expect

When your baby goes to the dentist for the first time, you may not know what to expect. After all, a baby hardly has any teeth, so why is oral care so necessary? Believe it or not, your baby should see the dentist by the time they hit a year old so their dentist can help you get your little one on the right track to oral health. Learn what to expect at your baby's first dental exam, so you can be best prepared.

Education for parents

Most of your baby's oral exam will be about explaining dental care to you. You will learn how to watch out for gum disease or irritation, how to brush your child's teeth (and what kind of toothpaste or toothbrush to use), and you'll be given special instructions as to how to give your baby a bottle to prevent tooth decay. If your baby is not weaned from the bottle yet or still takes a bottle at night, your dentist might recommend removing the bottle once your baby has fallen asleep or weaning them to a cup to prevent tooth and enamel damage.

The actual exam

While most of the dental visit will be about teaching you how to care for your baby's teeth, there will still be an oral examination. Your baby's dentist will want to check the following:

  • tooth alignment
  • gum and cheek tissue
  • roof of the mouth
  • tooth color and shape

If your dentist notices any swelling or irritation in your baby's gums or sees that their teeth are discolored or uneven, they may request doing an x ray to check the root structure of their teeth to ensure they are growing in healthily. In most cases, an oral exam is quick and non-invasive.

Keeping baby happy

Your baby will be less uncomfortable in the dentist's office if they have fun and familiar toys to play with while waiting for their exam. If your baby takes a bottle, consider filling their bottle with water only to keep them satiated and comforted with a bottle without getting their teeth dirty.

Your baby's oral health is important at a very young age. You can help your child get a fresh start on their healthy teeth and gums by making sure they visit the dentist as soon as they turn a certain age. The sooner you get your baby to the dentist (such as Dr. Dean Simmons DDS PA), the better chances of having healthy teeth throughout life with proper dental care.