Kids Dental Checkup
Children are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) to go to the dentist twice a year beginning six months after their first tooth emerges. Biannual visits allow for the monitoring of the child’s oral development, changes in their teeth and gums, and an opportunity for the parent to be advised on good at-home oral care strategies.
Additional dental visits may be scheduled for children who are especially prone to tooth decay or who exhibit signs of orthodontic problems.
What is the purpose of dental checkups?
There are many reasons why dental checkups are necessary for maintaining your child’s oral health. First, in the case of a dental emergency, it is beneficial for parents and their children to have a familiar, comfortable location where they can go for treatment. Frequent dental checkups provide the child with a “good dental home” that they are familiar with.
Dental checkups also allow the pediatric dentist to keep meticulous records of the child’s dental health and jaw development as they grow up. Oral health issues do not arise overnight, and having a thorough record of the child’s condition is key to creating individualized treatment plans for them.
Third, dental X-rays can be taken during dental checkups. X-rays are the only way to identify small cavities in the primary (baby) teeth. The child may not feel pain yet, but when left untreated, tiny cavities can turn into large cavities, tooth decay, and eventually childhood periodontal disease. Dental X-rays are only taken if the dentist suspects cavities or orthodontic irregularities.
Fourth, the child’s teeth can be professionally cleaned during a dental visit. This removes any plaque or debris that has built up between the teeth and in any other hard-to-reach places. In addition to a good at-home oral care routine, professional cleanings can ensure that a child’s teeth develop properly.
Lastly, dental checkups give dentists the opportunity to recommend better oral health routines or additional tools that will enhance the child’s tooth health. For example, the dentist can provide fluoride supplements, sealants, or xylitol. They may also talk to the parent about removing sugars from the child’s diet, removing intraoral piercings, and transitioning the child from sippy cups to adult-sized drinking glasses.
Does my child need to go to the dentist if they have healthy teeth?
The condition of a child’s teeth can change rapidly depending on their diet or changes to their oral habits, like thumb sucking, which can lead to decay or misalignment. Having a professional look at their teeth ensures that any issues that may have come up are dealt with before they become a bigger problem.
No matter how healthy your child’s teeth may appear, plaque and debris will build up in their mouth over the course of six months and a professional dental cleaning is the best way to get rid of this.
Besides that, pediatric dentists can also monitor the child’s fluoride levels and apply fluoride varnish or gel to the teeth. This slows down mineral loss and protects the tooth enamel from oral acid attacks. Dental sealants can be applied to the child’s molars to seal out harmful debris, acid, and bacteria. Dentists may even provide children with take-home fluoride supplements, especially if the child lives in an area where fluoride is not routinely added to the community water supply.
If you have questions or concerns about childhood dental visits or would like to schedule a dental checkup for your child, please contact Brooklyn Dentist.