How Often Should Your Child Get a Children’s Oral Health Exam?

How Often Should Your Child Get a Children’s Oral Health Exam? from Grand Parkway Pediatric Dental in Richmond, TXRegular checkups are recommended not just for adult patients but for pediatric dentistry patients as well. Professional cleanings and examinations play an important role in preventing disease and detecting serious issues early on, making them easier to treat in many situations. Most adults should see a dentist once every six months, but what about children? When should professional dental exams even begin for kids?

Pediatric dentistry recommendations for oral health exams

Every person is unique. The age when the first baby tooth erupts can vary widely from one child to the next. Some people are highly prone to dental issues while others never even develop a cavity in their lifetime, although this is rare. How often your child needs to be seen can depend on numerous factors, and the decision should be made with the input of a pediatric dentist. However, most parents can expect to follow these general guidelines for oral health exams.

The first checkup

Your child should see a dentist within six months after the first baby teeth erupt or by age 1, whichever comes first. Early visits like this are not so much about cleaning as they are about checking for healthy oral development and educating parents on how to care for their child's teeth and gums. Visits in early childhood can also help minimize dental anxiety by allowing kids to become familiar with the office, build a reputation with the staff, and enjoy plenty of positive experiences with their dentists.

Routine visits

After the first visit, it is recommended that most children continue to see a dentist once every six months. Dental checkups in the early years are particularly important, as children can be more prone to tooth decay. Some may also have habits or tendencies that can impact their oral health, such as:

  • Thumb-sucking.
  • Chewing on fingernails.
  • Prolonged bottle or pacifier use.
  • Grinding or clenching their teeth.
  • Chewing or sucking on foreign objects.

Routine oral health screenings give dentists the opportunity to thoroughly clean teeth and remove tartar buildup. X-rays and other examinations allow them to detect decay below the surface or keep an eye on trouble spots as your child grows. There are also many preventive pediatric dentistry treatments that can help protect your child's teeth against damage, such as sealants or topical fluoride applications. Finally, these routine appointments can help children feel more comfortable with dental cleanings and potential dental work in the future.

Concerning symptoms

In addition to routine checkups, it is important to have your child evaluated by a dentist if they start to exhibit symptoms that point to a potential problem. Oral pain, sensitivity, bleeding gums, swelling, and oozing should all be taken seriously, especially if they are unexpected or last for more than a day or two. Even if these symptoms only occur with a baby tooth, they should still be examined by a professional.

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Starting routine pediatric dentistry visits early in life can help protect your child's teeth from damage, pain, and disease. While twice a year is the standard, your dentist may recommend more or less, depending on your child's unique needs.

Request an appointment or call Grand Parkway Pediatric Dental at 832-579-0960 for an appointment in our Richmond office.

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