A complete oral examination should be part of every routine visit, beginning at 6 months of age.
The most important things you need for a thorough examination are a good light source (eg, lamp, flashlight, otoscope) and a good look at the patient's mouth. A tongue depressor improves visualization of mouth surfaces. Other helpful tools include a disposable mirror to see more tooth surfaces and a toothbrush to clean off plaque or demonstrate toothbrushing technique to parents and children still learning to brush.
A knee-to-knee examination is often best for an infant or small child. To perform this exam, sit down facing the parent, knee to knee, with the child sitting on the parent’s lap facing the parent. Then have the child lie back onto your lap. The parent can gently hold the arms while you control the head. You can also adequately screen a supine child from the top of the examination table.
Older children and adolescents can sit up or lie down on the table.