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Maternal and Child Health Bureau logoA Health Professionals Guide to Pediatric Oral Health Management
HomeModuleModule 1: An Introduction to Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 2: Managing Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 3: Oral Conditions and AbnormalitiesModule 4: Prevention of Oral DiseaseModule 5: Non-Nutritive Sucking HabitsModule 6: Oral InjuryModule 7: Infants and Young Children with Special Health Care NeedsContentsGlossaryEvaluationHelp
Module 2: Managing Infants' and Young Children's Oral Health
Module Contents
Overview
2.1 Oral Development

Tooth Eruption and Loss
Teething
Malocclusion
2.2 Interview and Risk Assessment

During & After Pregnancy
During Infancy
During Early Childhood
2.3 Oral Screening
2.4 Behavior Management
2.5 Oral Examination (current page)
2.6 Anticipatory Guidance

For Pregnant Women,
New Mothers, or Other Intimate Caregivers
For Parents of Infants

For Parents of
Young Children

2.7 The Dental Home
Key Points
Post-Test
References
Additional Resources



2.5 Oral Examination

Note
notepad graphicThe American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that infants visit a dentist for the first time within 6 months of the eruption of the first primary tooth, and no later than age 12 months.

 

Resistance and healing capacity in infants and young children is determined partly by physiology and partly by behaviors. The younger the infant or child when tooth decay begins, the greater the risk of future decay. Therefore, delaying the onset of tooth decay holds promise for reducing long-term risk for decay. For this reason, the time to begin preventing tooth decay is when teeth begin to erupt.[2]

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that infants visit a dentist for the first time within 6 months of the eruption of the first primary tooth, and no later than age 12 months.[6] Children should also have an oral examination every 6 months or as indicated by the individual child’s needs/susceptibility to disease.[7]

An oral examination includes a complete clinical oral assessment and appropriate diagnostic testing to assess oral growth and development and/or pathology. During the examination, the dentist will assess the child’s exposure to systemic and topical fluoride; counsel parents about fluoride; and prescribe systemic fluoride supplements, if indicated. The dentist will also assess the appropriateness of feeding practices and provide anticipatory guidance.[7] If stains or other deposits are present, they may be removed by the dentist or dental hygienist at the visit. Usually another appointment will be scheduled if other treatment needs exist.

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logo: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau