Pediatric dentistry is an area of dentistry that focuses on the oral health of children. Starting good dental hygiene habits early in life is important. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, more than 50% of children under the age of nine have had at least one cavity in their baby teeth, and…
A Pediatric Dentistry Offices Discusses Children’s Dental Check-Up
Pediatric dentistry specializes in the care of children. It is generally recommended that children see a dentist twice a year. While it is normal for both you and your child to feel a little nervous about dentist appointments, there are many health benefits to keeping up on regular checkups. Learning more about the process can ease the nerves of everyone involved.
Why regular checkups matter
While they are not permanent, baby teeth are subject to the same types of damage and health concerns as permanent ones. This includes cavities and other issues that can become painful or dangerous if left untreated. As your child's permanent teeth begin to come in, it becomes even more critical that problems are prevented or caught early enough to be easily treatable.
In addition to examining the health of individual teeth, pediatric dentistry appointments will monitor the health of your child's gums and jaws. Younger years are a good time to spot any issues that may be developing in these areas. Routine appointments do not take much time and ultimately help you provide a better, healthier life for your child.
Visiting a pediatric dentist
When trying to choose where to take your child for a dental checkup, you might wonder if pediatric dentistry is necessary. Pediatric dentists specialize in working with children, including helping them feel more comfortable and at ease during appointments. If your child is hesitant to see a dentist, a pediatric dentist is a great option to help them overcome their fears and feel safe about checkups.
If it is your child's first time visiting the dentist, the purpose of the first visit may be to introduce the child to the office and make him or her feel more comfortable. The child will be shown how the chair adjusts as well as the various equipment that will be used.
What to expect from a checkup
Knowing what to expect from a pediatric dentistry appointment and talking about it with your child can help her or him feel calmer about the experience. If it is your first time seeing a dentist, you will need to fill out some paperwork at the beginning of the appointment. Routine appointments often take less than an hour and follow a straightforward process to check for any health concerns and deep clean the teeth.
Once your child reaches a certain age, the dentist will want to see areas of the teeth and jaw that are not visible to the naked eye. During the appointment, X-rays will be taken of your child's teeth. This safe, painless process allows the dentist to catch any hard-to-see issues, such as cavities. X-rays usually are not taken until a child's permanent teeth begin to come in, which is often around six years of age, but this varies greatly. X-rays are also not taken at every check-up; they usually occur every 12 or 18 months.
In addition to X-raying the teeth, the dental professional will deeply clean your child's teeth. This important step in pediatric dentistry removes built-up plaque and helps prevent future health issues with the teeth and mouth.
This deep-cleaning process usually involves scraping any tartar and plaque off the teeth and along the gumline. The hygienist then uses a gritty toothpaste and electric polisher to scrub and polish the teeth. Once the teeth are clean and sparkly, they will be flossed.
After the cleaning, the dentist closely examines the teeth, gums, jaw, and soft tissues of the mouth. If X-rays were taken, the dentist compares them with the physical exam to ensure there is no decay. At this point, the dentist may recommend sealants to prevent cavities. The dentist will also have enough information to be able to recommend if and when the child may need braces.
Scheduling future care
Depending on the health of your child's teeth, the dentist will finish the appointment by recommending any additional care that may be needed. You can generally schedule future routine checkups before leaving the appointment to ensure they make it onto your calendar. If the dentist feels the child is at higher risk of decay, more frequent visits may be recommended.
Few children like going to the dentist, but by going through the process with them and finding a dental office that focuses on pediatric dentistry, you can help the experience be less stressful. Routine checkups make a big positive difference in your child's long-term health.
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