Regular dental exams and cleanings are essential for everyone, including children, as a part of preventive health care.
During a dental exam for children, the dentist or hygienist cleans your child’s teeth and evaluates their risk of tooth decay. Exams may include applying sealants or fluoride to reduce the chances of corrosion. Dental exams for children may also include dental x-rays and other diagnostic procedures.
Your child’s diet and other oral hygiene habits are discussed by the dentist or hygienist who demonstrate appropriate brushing and flossing techniques. Other topics addressed by the professionals may include preventing oral injuries and the health risks associated with tobacco use, substance abuse, and oral piercings for adolescents.
Regular dental exams protect your child’s oral health. They enable your child’s dentist to detect problems early when treated successfully and provide tips for caring for their teeth.
How frequently your child needs dental exams is determined by many factors. The child’s age, health, and risk of tooth decay are considered by the dentist when recommending a timeline for the exams. However, you can view the following guidelines for your child:
Between six months to one year. The child’s first dental exam is better scheduled immediately after the first tooth erupts and no later than their first birthday recommends the AAPD and the ADA. Expect an examination of your child’s teeth and gums during the well-baby checkups.
Toddlers, school-age children, and adolescents. Six months is the most common interval recommended for regular dental checkups by the American Academy of pediatric dentistry. However, considering your child’s risk factors for oral health problems, your child’s dentist may recommend fewer or more frequent visits.
Before you consider scheduling your child’s first dental exam, think whether you are comfortable visiting your family dentist or prefer taking your child to a pediatric dentist to receive specialized dental and oral care for children from infancy to adolescence. Remember, pediatric dentists have kid friendly offices and equipment specially designed for children.
Scheduling your child’s visit carefully. You must schedule the dental exam at a time when your child is fully rested and most likely to cooperate.
What happens during the dental exam varies according to the child’s age and treatment requirements.
For children between six months to one year:
The dentist or hygienist places your child on a table or exam chair or asks you to hold your child on your lap during the exam. The dentist or hygienist will:
During every dental exam, the child’s oral hygiene and overall health are evaluated by the dentist or hygienist, along with their eating and drinking habits and the risk of tooth decay. Besides providing teeth cleaning for children, the dentist or hygienist may:
As your child gets older, counseling about oral health risks is also incorporated with dental exams. Children receive guidance about drinking sugary beverages, smoking, chewing tobacco, oral piercings, and refraining from wearing mouthguards when involved in contact sports.
Regular dental exams and cleanings help your child to develop excellent dental hygiene practices, which they carry throughout their lives. They are also beneficial to ensure they have healthy and durable permanent teeth after they grow up.