The Importance of Back-To-School Dental Checkups
Start the School Year Right!
Send your kids back-to-school with a new backpack, new shoes, new lunchbox, and a healthy smile! Regular dental checkups and cleanings play an important role in fighting the most common chronic disease in school-age children today: cavities!
Dental issues cause children to miss more than 51 million school hours each year!
A child’s baby teeth (also known as primary teeth) are softer than their permanent teeth, making them more susceptible to cavity-causing bacteria. When one tooth is affected by a cavity, the teeth adjacent become more vulnerable as well! A professional dental cleaning will remove cavity-causing bacteria, plus any stains, from your child’s teeth to help keep their gums and smile healthy! By seeing one of our pediatric dentists twice a year we can watch, catch and treat cavities, avoiding unnecessary pain, trouble eating, difficulty speaking and future school absences.
What’s included in a routine dental cleaning?
- Examine teeth for cavities.
- Examine gums for infection.
- Look for other mouth abnormalities.
- Evaluate occlusion, the way teeth come together.
- Monitor their jaw and check for sufficient room for permanent teeth.
- Determine the effects of childhood habits (thumb sucking, pacifiers, bottles, etc.)
- Take digital x-rays to assess tooth decay/infections, and evaluate tooth roots and teeth position.
- Perform a thorough teeth cleaning.
- Evaluate and review brushing, flossing, fluoride and diet tips.
- Develop a plan to keep your child cavity-free!
Tips for a successful dental appointment:
- Timing is everything! For younger children, don’t schedule an appointment that interferes with their nap time. For older children, avoid cramming the appointment after summer camp and before soccer practice. If you’re child’s already exhausted, they won’t have the energy to make it through the appointment successfully!
- Hungry kids are grouchy kids! Feed your child a light snack before the appointment… just not in the waiting room! Please brush their teeth before the appointment as the dentist doesn’t want to see food in their teeth!
- Decide who goes first. If you have multiple kids scheduled, choose the child who’s had the most positive dental experiences to go first and be the model patient.
- Keep calm! Don’t get upset if your child’s dental visit doesn’t go smoothly and they’re acting up or truly scared. Let our pediatric dentist work with your child to help calm nerves and turn the list around. Also don’t get anxious and let your phobias be projected onto your kids. It’s important that children at a young age have positive feelings about visiting a dentist so they have healthy dental hygiene habits for life!
- Be on time! We strive to be on-time with all our appointments and ask parents to keep in mind, your appointment is specifically reserved for your child. Children in pre-school and elementary grades are usually seen in the morning. Late afternoon appointments are reserved for middle and high school age patients (school absence forms are available upon request). Please allow a 24-hour notice for cancellation so that your appointment may be made available to another patient.
Tips for establishing good dental hygiene habits at-home:
Ages 6 and Under
At this age, let your child start brushing themselves, but jump in as needed, or follow up at the end. Because their mouth is growing, sometimes kids don’t take into account their new molars in the back.
By now, your child knows what to do, but might forget to do it! Continue to encourage healthy dental hygiene habits and follow up on brushing/flossing skills if needed.
Teenagers should start to understand self-care. But don’t let your teen’s habits become out of sight, out of mind. Support them and make sure they understand the consequence of not taking care of their teeth.
Check out our additional resources and incentives to help your kids, and you as parents, stay on track between dental visits >
Book your Back-to-School Dental Cleaning
The school bells will be ringing before you know it! Don’t wait… schedule your child’s back-to-school dental checkup and cleaning appointment by filling out an Online Appointment Request or calling 214-618-5200 for an exam.