It’s that time of year again! The summer weeks are quickly winding down and school days will soon be upon us. Right now, you’re probably in the midst of helping your child get all of those back-to-school necessities in order. In addition to gathering up school supplies and scheduling physical exams, have you remembered to schedule their back-to-school dental checkup?
Routine dental appointments are imperative to helping your child maintain a healthy smile, both now and in the years to come. Scheduling an appointment for your child right before he or she goes back to school is typically the most ideal time for parents and children alike. This way, you can avoid having to take your child out of school for the appointment, and can check one more item off of your list of things to accomplish before they are back in the classroom again.
It is suggested that your child begins seeing the dentist by the time their first baby teeth start to grow in, and then schedule a regular checkup every 6 months following. This preventative care is key to ensuring your child’s teeth are developing properly and are in healthy condition. Preventative care is also much easier and much less expensive than what it takes to correct any issues that could arise without regular dental care. Some of these issues can include cavities and decay, which can cause pain and a lot of damage if not treated right away. Poor tooth development can also lead to problems down the road, and might mean the need for extensive orthodontic treatment.
During a regular dental checkup, the dental hygienist will clean, polish, and floss your child’s teeth to remove any food particles, bacteria, and plaque build-up. The hygienist will also take x-rays of your child’s teeth to get a closer look at the teeth’s development and to help spot any decay that might not be visible to the naked eye. The dentist will then examine your child’s teeth and study the x-rays to make sure there isn’t anything abnormal. Fluoride is applied at the end of the appointment, which helps protect the teeth from bacteria. Dental sealants, a plastic coating that is brushed on to the chewing surfaces of the molars, can also be applied to your child’s teeth. Sealants are highly recommended as another protective measure against harmful bacteria.
If any issues do come up in your child’s appointment, your dentist will explain the problem and discuss the proper steps to take in regards to your child’s treatment. If there is a cavity, treatment will likely include the need for a filling, or possibly a dental crown if the decay has taken over a larger portion of the tooth. If your dentist notices that your child’s teeth and jaw aren’t quite developing as they should, a visit to the orthodontist might be suggested for further evaluation. Your dentist might also have some orthodontic training and can provide the necessary treatment options for your child.
A back-to-school checkup is essential for your child to have a healthy start to the school year. Don’t forget the importance of at-home dental care, too. Help your child maintain those pearly whites by brushing and flossing each and every day until it’s time for their next checkup. Their health and their smile will be better off because of the care that is given to their teeth today.