Ensuring Your Child’s Future With Infant Oral Exams
Investing in your child’s future can be done in as early as their infancy. Some parents put up savings for their children to secure their needs financially while growing up. When it comes to your kid’s health, there are infant oral exams that can help you with that.
What are infant oral exams?
In dentistry, an oral examination done to an infant is to detect early signs of dental issues and diseases. An early assessment helps in preventing the development of certain dental problems or reverse it if it’s already present. As a result, the children will be able to optimize their oral and general health and enjoy their lives.
This doesn’t only promote preventive measures, it’s also a way for dentists to be able to build rapport with the kids. It is a known fact that most children have dental anxiety and meeting with a kids dentist at an early age will avoid having that wrong stigma. Instead, the kids will have a good understanding of dental visits, why it needs to be done, and that it’s not associated with discomfort at all.
Before doing a clinical assessment, the dentist conducts a pre-evaluation from both the kid and the parent, usually the mother. This entails a series of an interview regarding the following:
The natal history includes the recorded observations from the baby since its prenatal until neonatal visits. If the mother had high-risk pregnancy while carrying the baby, the dentist could use this information in explaining a possible dental abnormality. This also covers the baby’s developmental history in diagnosing relevant growth alterations.
Knowing the kid’s medical history will guide the dentist in managing his clinical exams in a safe manner. For instance, realizing that the baby has allergic reactions to a certain medication.
The assessment of dental history includes the child’s accounts of previous dental injuries or problems, oral care and habits, and feeding habits. It also seeks to know if the child has had dental treatments in the past such as fluoride or sealants.
After gathering the necessary information, the dentist begins the clinical assessment. The oral examination for the baby requires the participation of both the dentist and the parent, considering the mother. They will be positioned in a knee-to-knee figure to better support the child. To do this, the parent sits on the dentist’s chair sideways, facing the dentist. Meanwhile, the dentist sits on the operator chair and faces their knee opposite to the parent’s knee.
The infant, sitting on the mother’s lap facing her, wraps his leg around the parent’s waist. This position allows the mother to use her elbow in holding the baby’s legs down while her hands hold the baby’s hands. Once settled, the child’s head is placed on the pillow, which is resting on the dentist’s lap to begin the examination.
Before this, the dentist should give the parent counselling on what to expect and what her roles are. During the exams, the child may cry, which is normal. It is important that the parent should be stable to support her baby and restrain him properly while reassuring him. All of this, while the dentist gets good access to the child’s mouth. This is when the oral examination begins.
During the oral exams, the dentist checks the infant’s mouth for the following:
Extraoral examinations. This includes assessing the infant’s head, ears, eyes, lips, mouth, lymph nodes, and neck. The dentist will be checking for abnormalities in shape and size. He also considers the asymmetry of the head.
Intraoral examinations. This time, the dentist checks the baby’s soft tissues and gums. He evaluates for abnormalities such as cysts, ulcers, lacerations, or gingivitis.
After the oral examination, the dentist gathers the findings and assesses the child for the risk of dental diseases. Based on this, he will recommend the parents with the appropriate dental techniques in managing the diagnosis. This includes the following:
- Diet counselling. Parents should be aware that there are higher risks of dental caries for children who sleep while taking their milk in bottles. So, it’s best to give it to them before bedtime so they still have time to clean or brush their mouth. Other than that, the dentist will also share other preventive measures that involve your kid’s eating habits.
- Oral hygiene. Aside from brushing your teeth, it’s also important to clean the gums and tongue. Pediatric dentists can demonstrate proper techniques for your child’s oral hygiene practices.
- Fluoride. One effective way of preventing caries is by a fluoride treatment.
- Habits counselling. Parents need professionals to guide them in managing their kids’ non-nutritive sucking habits, like thumb-sucking.
Provide your child with the best care possible and when it comes to their oral health, your Thornhill dentist can give you the guidance you need.