A healthy smile for life begins in childhood. It’s paramount to take care of your child’s teeth, both at home and by taking them to the dentist for regular appointments.
Brushing, flossing, and overseeing their diet are all essential parts of oral care, yet it can all be for nothing if you skip these dental visits.
Parents should take their children to visit the dentist twice a year, or more if there are complex dental health issues at play.
The Purpose of Dental Checkups
The primary purpose of dental checkups is to ensure your child’s continued oral health, check for developing issues, and monitor the development of their teeth and jaw.
Your child’s paediatric dentist keeps meticulous records of their ongoing dental health and development so that they can anticipate future issues and intervene quickly. They check for cavities, tooth decay, and orthodontic irregularities.
However, these early visits also serve as important touch-points in your child’s oral health journey. They’re an opportunity to establish positive associations with the dentist. That way, they’re more likely to maintain a consistent appointment schedule throughout adulthood.
Plus, your child’s paediatric dentist uses these appointments to educate both you and your child on how to best care for their smile. They may recommend a variety of oral health-optimizing treatments, such as sealants or fluoride supplements.
Alternatively, the dentist may suggest changing aspects of your child’s diet or oral care behaviour. For example, they may advise reducing sugar intake or transitioning from sippy cups to adult-sized drinking glasses.
The Basics of a Child’s Dental Visit
Much like when you visit the dentist, your child’s appointment has two main parts:
- Dental cleaning: The dentist removes plaque and tartar buildup using special tools. Afterwards, your child’s teeth are flossed and polished. Plaque and tartar can lead to gum disease, poor breath, and tooth decay if not completely removed.
- Complete dental exam: Your child’s mouth is examined for signs of dental issues like cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
X-rays may be taken, as well, to look for even more serious conditions, such as cysts, impacted teeth, jawbone abscesses, tumours, and severe decay. Some of these conditions are impossible to detect with a visual inspection alone.
Why Regular Checkups Are Important
Regular checkups are extremely important. They’re an opportunity for the family dentist to check for a variety of dental health issues and monitor your child’s oral development.
When it comes to oral health conditions, it’s vital to identify them early before they get much worse. Often, your child won’t feel any pain until it’s already quite serious. Furthermore, cavities and tooth decay progress faster in baby teeth than adult teeth. The enamel of primary teeth is thinner, so it’s easier for tiny cavities to develop.
During these checkups, the dentist makes sure that the adult teeth are erupting straight and in the right position. If your child’s teeth are coming in crooked or if there’s not enough space, it’s best to implement an orthodontic treatment as soon as possible.
Their First Appointment
Your child should come in for their first appointment after their first tooth emerges or by the time they have their first birthday—whichever comes first!
Baby teeth may not be permanent, but whether or not they are taken care of has lasting effects on your child’s oral health. Caring for their baby teeth is crucial for the development of healthy permanent teeth.
Ongoing or Recurring Dental Health Problems
What should you do if your child has ongoing or recurring dental health problems? Unfortunately, some children experience persistent issues, like cavities, gum irritation, inflammation, and tooth decay.
Their dentist may suggest scheduling appointments every three months instead of the usual six.
In these cases, it is absolutely paramount to take extra good care of their teeth. More frequent appointments ensure adequate cleaning and removal of plaque and tartar buildup. That way, their adult teeth emerge into a healthy oral environment.
There are a few things you can do to prevent recurring issues with your child’s teeth. Specifically, you should monitor their diet and reduce their intake of sugar. You should also make sure that they’re brushing twice a day for a full two minutes.
Healthy Teeth and Routine Checkups
Are regular checkups really necessary if your child has healthy teeth? Yes, they are absolutely necessary.
The condition of your child’s teeth can change rapidly. In the six months between appointments, your child’s previously healthy smile can encounter a range of oral health problems, such as new cavities or misalignment from emerging permanent teeth.
A rigorous homecare routine is crucial for your child’s oral health, yet so are these regular dental appointments. Plaque that is missed at home turns to tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist with special tools.
Dental X-rays are perfectly safe and an essential tool for diagnosing hard-to-see cavities, impacted teeth, and other issues that may elude a visual inspection. Consequently, x-rays are an indispensable part of your dentist’s toolkit.
Most dentists take X-rays once a year. However, your child may need to receive x-rays every six months if they are at a high risk for cavities.
How frequently should your child visit a dentist?
Your child should see a dentist every six months. If they’re facing ongoing or complex oral health issues, it’s best to visit Bristol Dental Clinic every three months. These appointments are hugely important for your child’s long-term oral health, as well as the healthy development of their teeth and jawbone.
Therefore, skipping even a single visit is never a good idea. Even if your child had a healthy checkup with no issues six months ago, do not wait a year until their next appointment. A lot can change in that time!
Schedule Your Child’s Next Appointment: Contact Our Dental Offices in Mississauga
It’s vital that your child visits the dentist every six months. If you haven’t scheduled their next appointment yet, now is the time to do so.
Our team at Bristol Dental Clinic in Mississauga is ready to welcome you and your child. We take pride in our welcoming and compassionate environment, as well as the knowledge and skill of our dental team.