It seems like we blinked and summer flew by! The school year is right around the corner and that means new school supplies, sharpened pencils, and important checkups with your child’s doctors, including us! The Center for Disease Control reports that tooth decay is the most chronic problem in children. In fact, almost 20% of children ages 2-19 have untreated tooth decay that can lead to pain and difficulty with eating, speaking and learning. Thankfully, tooth decay is easy to catch and even prevent in children.
We’ve got 7 tips to make the most out of back-to-school checkups at the dentist:
1. Plan ahead.
Unfortunately, not all parents think to make those back-to-school appointments before August, sometimes making it difficult to find the perfect time for the whole family. Every six months you and your children should see the dentist, so don’t forgo setting up those next appointments before you leave the office. Once you and your family get in the habit of scheduling in advance for those cleanings, it’ll be easier to avoid the rush.
2. Timing is important.
The time your child comes into their appointment can determine if they’re going to have a good time. Avoid upsetting normal routines such as naptime or snacks so your child is at their best. Not all children have the stamina left to cope with after-school appointments. Hungry patients are rarely happy patients, and it’s okay to give your child a snack or a light meal before coming into the office, just be sure they brush before they go back to the room! You know your child’s temperament best, so plan accordingly for success.
3. Know what to expect.
A cleaning and check-up appointment typically starts with x-rays, followed by a cleaning with the hygienist and an exam with our dentist. At Dental Depot we strive to make dental appointments as positive for your child as possible.
Young children are given a “happy visit” to get them accustomed to the newness of the dental office, the dentist and their team. It’s important for us to lay positive groundwork for your child so that future appointments feel like a win. Other important dental visit milestones include x-rays, typically taken around age five, and orthodontic consultations at age seven.
4. Keep calm and cheer your kid on.
Kids can sometimes get upset during appointments because it’s a new situation and they often look to their parents to see how they should be reacting. If the dentist makes you nervous, try to leave those nerves at home to support your child. Be prepared to encourage your child throughout the appointment.
5. Bring any appliances with you.
If your child has a mouth guard for athletics or a retainer post-orthodontic treatment, bring these items along so your dentist or orthodontist can inspect them for wear and tear, and to make sure everything is still fitting properly.
6. Follow up on treatment.
If the dentist finds that your child is in need of treatment, make sure your child gets to those appointments! The American Dental Association reports that children miss 51 million school hours each year due to dental disease. By taking care of dental problems early, your child can spend more time in their classroom learning.
7. Preventative treatment really works.
While check-ups and exams can catch problems early and even prevent them, your child’s dentist may recommend sealants to give your child’s teeth an extra layer of protection. Sealants are a thin protective coating that goes over the chewing surface of your child’s molars that reduce the risk of cavities by 80%! This coating prevents cavity-causing bacteria from staying in the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of your child’s mouth. The best time for sealants to be applied is after their first molars come in, around age six, and after they get their 12 year molars.
Maintaining good oral health habits at home combined with regular dental visits can make a big difference in the lives of you and your children. Don’t delay, schedule those back-to-school appointments today!