Picture this: the time has come for your child’s first dental visit. Your youngster might be afraid of going to the dentist’s office, with its strange chairs and unfamiliar tools. However, it’s important to bring your kid in, since good dental health begins with proper education and preventive techniques. One way to put your little one at ease is to tell him or her what to expect. Of course, this could be difficult if you don’t know yourself. You might know what happens at your dental exam, but what about your child’s? At our Houston dental practice, Dr. Cindy Flanagan and our team treat patients of all ages. We’re committed to helping everyone enjoy beautiful, healthy smiles. In the following blog, we explain how kids’ dental exams are different than adults.
The Power of Pediatric Dentistry
Some parents mistakenly believe that caring for children’s teeth isn’t as important because they’ll lose their baby teeth, anyway. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry explains, “primary, or ‘baby,’ teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.” Diseased baby teeth lay the groundwork for a lifetime of dental problems. Furthermore, the oral hygiene habits children develop will follow them into adulthood. By being conscientious about your little one’s mouth care, you can set the stage for a lifetime of healthy smiles. This makes pediatric dentistry pivotal in your child’s oral and overall health.
When to Bring Your Little One In
One of the most common questions parents have about their children’s dental exams is “when should I bring my youngster in?” Fortunately, the answer is simple. As the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises, “in order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.” Once you bring your baby in for his or her first visit, you’ll need to bring your kids in for biannual preventive care appointments, much like the ones you attend yourself.
Children’s Dental Exams
While they involve many of the same components, children’s dental exams have some notable differences. At your kid’s visit, you will most likely stay in the room to comfort your little one, answer questions, explain how you can anticipate your child’s teeth to grow in the coming months, and learn how to better assist your youngster.
Dr. Flanagan will carefully evaluate your child’s teeth and gums. If we find any cavities or infection, we will schedule treatment for these (such as dental fillings) so they do not worsen. The examination appointment may or may not include a gentle cleaning, depending on how old your child is and how many teeth he or she has.
When your kid has developed most of his or her baby teeth, Dr. Flanagan will likely begin preventive fluoride treatments, to fortify the enamel, and may place sealants (thin plastic coverings) on the back teeth to stop plaque from accumulating.
To end the appointment, Dr. Flanagan will go over her recommendations for at-home dental care and provide demonstrations as needed. Generally, throughout the exam, we will make sure your child feels comfortable, understands what is happening, and comprehends how to maintain his or her smile.
Does Your Youngster Need a Dental Exam?
Dr. Flanagan and our team would be delighted to see your little one at our Houston dental practice! If your child has turned one without having an exam, or it’s been more than six months since his or her last visit, it’s time to bring your youngster in. Contact us today to find out more and schedule an appointment!