Regular dental exams are essential for children as they are a crucial part of preventive health care. However, the common thought that runs through a parent’s mind is,
“why does it feel like all they did is brush my child’s teeth and apply sealants or fluoride?”
If that’s what it felt like, it’s likely you and your child are practicing proper oral hygiene habits and the doctor doesn’t need to further educate you and your child or provide further examination or treatment. (Insert round of applause)
Regular dental exams help protect our children’s oral health. They provide an opportunity for your child’s dentist to detect concerns early, when they’re most treatable, and provide education for proper hygiene habits for your child’s teeth.
Age, risk of tooth decay, health and other various factors may determine how often your child needs to visit the dentist.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend scheduling a child’s first dental exam after the first tooth erupts and no later than their first birthday.
Typically, the doctor will discuss your child’s diet as that may play a large role in your child’s oral health and the education the doctor may bestow upon you. Other educational opportunities may include proper flossing and brushing techniques. Additionally, as your child grows, they may discuss other topics such as Orthodontic treatment, oral injuries, the health risk of tobacco and oral piercings.
So, what’s up with the frequent X-Rays?
Your child’s dentist may not need to take x-rays on your child at every cleaning appointment. Generally, the dentist will take x-rays based on your child’s oral health history, their age and risk of disease. An x-ray will allow the dentist to see detailed images of those tight spaces in between the teeth that are not visible during the exam.
This is why introducing flossing at a young age is so important. As our children grow, their baby teeth start to move closer together and their adult teeth will also come in closer. Once their teeth are touching, it is important to floss to help keep food and sugar bugs out of those tight spaces.
Your dentist will usually discuss the need and importance of x-rays during the exam or prior to the exam. Radiation exposure from dental x-rays
Although it may feel like you fiddled about the dentist office remember, your child’s pediatric dentist is an advocate for your child and their oral health. It is important for you to voice your concerns to the dentist. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, there’s never a “dumb” question to be asked. You and your child’s dentist are on the same team, advocating and educating good oral hygiene for your child and their bright future ahead.