Age 1–2 Visits (Lap to Lap Exams)
Many parents often wonder when they should schedule their child’s first dental visit. The answer may surprise you. According to the American Academy of Pediatric dentistry, it is recommended that your child be seen by their first birthday (or six months after the eruption of their first tooth, whichever one comes first). Starting dental care early is essential for the oral health of your child later in life. At Puyallup Pediatric Dentistry, we use lap to lap exams for your child’s early visits, which can help to set them on the right track for dental health and success.
The Importance of Early Dental Care
Early dental visits are essential for the oral health of your child. Young children are susceptible to cavities, especially if they sleep with a bottle. Moreover, even though they lose their baby teeth, these teeth are very important. With your child’s first visit, we can examine their existing teeth, as well as the soft tissues of their mouth, and assess the condition of their jaw. We will provide you with techniques on how to improve their oral health and care, at home. These tips may include proper brushing, how to prevent cavities (avoiding letting your child sleep with a bottle of milk or juice), and nutrition for optimal oral health.
What Is a Lap to Lap Exam?
A lap to lap exam is a technique that we use to examine your child’s mouth. It provides us with a way for us to safely examine your child’s mouth while they get to remain comfortably seated in your lap. With this particular dental technique, you sit in the chair with your child seated in your lap, facing you. We then sit across from you. When your child is ready, you help them to lay back, so that their head rests in our lap. This way, we can see inside of your child’s mouth while they can see you and hold your hands. This can greatly help to keep your child calm while we exam your child’s teeth and mouth. We will do a fluoride treatment also during a lap to lap exam. Lap to lap exams also greatly help to build up the trust of your child in our dentists and become comfortable with the dental cleaning and exam process.
The Goal of Early Visits
Our main goal for our youngest patients (children under the age of 3) is to make their visits as quick and easy as possible. We understand that your young child may not want to, or be able to, sit still for very long. In general, their visits should only last about 10 minutes. During this visit, we check their teeth and will discuss any concerns with you that we may have. Even at this young age, visits every six months will help to provide your child with the best results. It will also help to build up your child’s confidence and comfort in our office. Starting at three years of age, we will begin preventative care visits, which will include exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments and any x-rays that may be needed.
The earlier oral care is started, the better prepared your child will be to take care of their mouth in the future. If it’s time to schedule your child’s first dental visit, call Puyallup Pediatric Dentistry today at (253) 466-1696.