This is how a typical dental exam begins for infants and toddlers. At that age children have a little trouble sitting still that long — even though the exam is often fairly quick.

Dental exams for children this young are not done in the traditional chair setup.

A knee to knee exam works by having the parent in a sitting position directly across from the dentist (or dental assistant). Each adult’s knees touch the other’s. The child sits with their legs facing the parent so they can be gently laid back with their head facing the dentist. The dentist stabilizes the child’s head, and the parent can hold their child’s hands.

This way the dental provider can easily see the child’s teeth and gums, and it’s easy for the parent to hold the child still. Since they are in physical contact with their parent, most children are soothed and also find it easier to sit still.

We also recommend the knee to knee approach at home. If you’re having a little difficulty keeping your child still for home brushing, you can do this with your partner. You can even make a game out of it, and adding some fun and humor to the experience makes building the habit easier for children.

If you’re looking for a new dental home, call our office today to schedule a visit!


What Kinds Of Exams Can Be Done Knee To Knee?

What’s great about this technique is that basically any of the typical parts of a dental visit can be easily done. Namely, we can…

  • Examine the teeth and gums
  • Brush the teeth
  • Floss
  • Apply fluoride

How Long Does A Knee To Knee Exam Take?

As a pediatric dental office, our team have built our procedures around being efficient and as quick as we can, knowing a lot of our patients are spirited and don’t have the patience for a lot of poking around.

Our knee to knee exam generally only takes two minutes!

How Parents Can Prepare For A Knee To Knee Exam?

We find that a big piece of what makes for a positive appointment is setting the tone for the day earlier on, at home.

You can get your child used to aspects of the exam by gently rubbing their gums with a warm, wet washcloth. This familiarizes them with with having something touching their gums, and makes the exam seem less surprising.

Have your child sit on your lap and play with them by swinging them. This is a fun game, and builds positive associations for when you lay your child on your lap similarly at the appointment.