Pediatric Dental Exams
Proudly serving Newton MA and surrounding towns.
Pediatricians and dental experts recommend that all children have their first dental exam by the time they turn 1 year old (or get their first tooth.) By establishing a relationship with your family dentist at a young age, it’s easier to:
- Minimize dental anxiety
- Prevent tooth decay
- Intercept concerns while they’re smaller
We want your child’s first experience with the dentist to be a positive one. Through routine exams and preventative care, we can help your child enjoy healthy teeth for life. As a result, they’ll associate dental care with something that’s comfortable (and even enjoyable) in the future.
Screening for Tooth Decay
Primary (baby) teeth decay at a much quicker pace than their adult counterparts. Regular screenings for pediatric cavities are important in preventing spread of decay, unnecessary emergencies, and permanent damage to adult teeth.
Our dentist will work at your child’s pace, performing an age-appropriate exam based on how well your child may want to cooperate that day. Scheduling appointments early in the morning when your child is well rested tends to work best. From “counting” their teeth to checking for signs of decay, we’ll keep you informed of any changes in their oral health that you should be aware of.
Will My Child Need Dental X-rays?
Small digital X-rays allow us to check on the development of adult teeth, unerupted baby teeth, and screen for cavities between existing teeth. X-rays show us areas that aren’t visible during an exam. They’re vital for early diagnosis of most common dental concerns.
Tooth Eruption and Development
Most children will have 20 primary (baby) teeth, which erupt over the course of several months until your child is around 2 years old. By age 5-6, their permanent (adult) teeth will begin to erupt and replace them. There are 32 adult teeth, but some children may have extra or missing adult teeth, depending on their family history.
Are They Ready for a Cleaning?
Once your child becomes comfortable within the dental practice setting and they have all of their baby teeth, it’s best to have them cleaned routinely. Even though they do not have as much buildup as an adult, these preventative care services (along with fluoride and sealants) will help to significantly lower your child’s chances of developing cavities. Our team will also review hygiene techniques and diet tips to encourage a healthy smile.
Tips for Your Child’s First Dental Visit
It’s extremely important to maintain a positive, stress-free atmosphere for your child’s first encounter with the dentist. We’ll use positive language and an upbeat attitude to help your child feel excited about their visit with us! As a parent, you can talk about the dentist in a positive light or “play” dentist at home, taking turns brushing each other’s teeth or looking at a doll’s mouth with a handheld mirror.
Be careful not to use any words such as “hurt” or “shot”, even if you’re trying to explain what won’t be involved. Instead, suggest they smile wide so that the dentist can count their teeth or make them clean!
Advice for Parents
Children often feed off of our own emotions and feelings. If you’re someone with a past history of dental trauma or anxiety, it may be difficult to keep a positive attitude for your child. Being well rested and relaxed is important for you and your child alike! We’ll work at everyone’s pace to ensure the entire family is comfortable during their visit to our office.
Dietary Impacts, Thumb Sucking, and Tongue Ties
Our dentist will screen for orofacial factors such as tongue ties, thumb and finger sucking, or prolonged pacifier use. These risk factors can permanently alter the way your child speaks as well as the anatomical shape of their mouth. Additionally, if they still use a bottle or sippy cup, we’ll work with you to develop a plan to help them shift to more age-appropriate drinking (as this will also impact their oral development.)
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Although meaning well, some parents may put their child to bed or down for a nap with a bottle or cup. If it’s anything other than water (such as milk or juice) it can significantly raise your child’s risk of developing cavities across multiple teeth at one time. We will screen for decay and discuss risk factors during each exam, to help you avoid preventable oral health conditions.
Schedule a Checkup Every Six Months
Children need routine dental check-ups too. Plan to book your family’s visits together under one roof for added convenience! Schedule an exam and cleaning every six months to keep your smiles healthy. Call (617) 527-6061 or request an appointment online.