As a parent, you want your child to have a healthy and happy smile. That’s why it’s important to understand the recommended frequency of dental checkups for kids. Why? Because most dental concerns are preventable, and good dental health begins during childhood. In fact, many of the oral hygiene habits that adults have today were formed when they were young children.
Preventative dental care and early intervention are important for your child’s developing smile. When issues are caught earlier, major dental treatments can usually be avoided altogether. But the key is to plan dental checkups at a young age and go back for an exam and cleaning at least twice a year!
The Importance of Preventative Dental Care for Kids
Preventative dental care is essential for kids of all ages. Regular dental checkups and cleanings help prevent cavities and gum disease, and they also provide an opportunity for the dentist to monitor your child’s oral health and make recommendations for treatment if necessary.
During your child’s preventative dental visit, they’ll also have access to two important preventative therapies: dental sealants and fluoride treatment.
Sealants block out cavity-causing bacteria in hard-to-clean surfaces, like the deep grooves and pits on their molars (back teeth.) Most dental insurance policies will cover sealants for kids as long as the sealant is on a permanent molar. Usually, those teeth erupt around the ages of 6 and 12, give or take a year or two.
For kids, fluoride treatments after their dental cleaning can help reverse the early stages of tooth demineralization (which is the first stage of cavities.) By remineralizing the tooth, your child has a better chance of avoiding cavities altogether.
Dr. Huynh will also take routine X-rays to evaluate your child’s oral development and screen for cavities between their teeth. That way, issues can be intercepted early, before the decay spreads deeper into the tooth or other teeth.
Pediatricians and Pediatric Dentist Recommendations
Pediatricians and pediatric dentists typically recommend that children see the dentist every six months for regular checkups and cleanings. This allows the dentist to monitor your child’s oral health and address any concerns in a timely manner. Even if your child isn’t experiencing any dental problems, a child’s teeth may be more prone to decay than adult teeth. These regular visits help familiarize your child with the dental environment and instill healthy oral habits to avoid issues like cavities in the future. Visiting a dentist routinely also keeps care positive, reducing the chances of dental anxiety in the future.
Your Child’s First Dental Visit
According to dental experts and pediatric specialists, your child should see the dentist for the first time by their first birthday or as soon as their first tooth appears (whichever comes first.) During this first visit, the dentist will examine your child’s teeth, gums, and bite, and they’ll answer any questions you may have about your child’s oral health. This is also an opportunity for your child to become familiar with the dentist and the dental office, making subsequent visits easier as they transition to more traditional cleaning appointments.
Six Month Dental Checkups for Kids
After your child’s first dental visit, it’s recommended that they see our Mesa family dentist every six months for regular checkups and cleanings. During these appointments, our dentist will examine your child’s teeth, screen for orthodontic or developmental needs, and we’ll provide a gentle preventative cleaning. Our team will also provide age-appropriate oral hygiene instruction for your child to help them keep their smile healthy.
Does My Child Need Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a preventive measure that can help protect your child’s molars from cavities. Most sealants can be added to your child’s routine checkup appointment or other visits, as they only take a few minutes to place. During the appointment, we will apply a thin coating of plastic to the chewing surfaces of your child’s molars, creating a barrier that prevents food and plaque from settling in the grooves.
Should My Child Get a Fluoride Treatment?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to cavities. Fluoride treatments can be applied during a dental checkup and are especially recommended for children at a high risk of developing cavities.
Schedule Your Child’s Next Checkup Today
Regular dental checkups are essential for kids of all ages. If it’s time for your child’s next checkup, schedule an appointment with Dr. Huynh at Eastport Dental in Mesa, AZ. Our skilled and experienced team will provide your child with the highest quality of dental care, ensuring a healthy and happy smile for years to come.