It’s never too early to instill good habits when it comes to oral hygiene. One of the best ways to ensure your child’s teeth remain strong and healthy is to schedule regular check-ups with a pediatric dentist.
Because a child is too young to understand all aspects of oral health and dental treatments, it’s important for parents to be informed so they can make decisions on their behalf. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of questions to ask your pediatric dentist, so your next visit can be a meaningful experience.
What happens during a pediatric dental exam?
Pediatric dentists are generally looking for cavities when examining children’s teeth. They’ll usually check for soft spots, which indicate that a cavity is forming. The sooner these vulnerable patches are identified, the better the chances of preventing the decay from spreading.
Aside from cavities, ask the dentist what else they’re looking for. Inflamed gums, signs of teeth grinding and tooth impaction are common problems found in children. By understanding what the dentist is on the lookout for, you’ll be in a better position to spot abnormalities in your child’s mouth.
How often should my child see the dentist?
According to the Canadian Dental Association, children should see the dentist every six months for cleanings and routine check-ups. These appointments are necessary to ensure dental issues are caught early and to find out if your at-home oral care routine is working. This is also a chance to discuss your child’s diet, brushing habits and upcoming milestones too. Ask your pediatric dentist if a visit every six months is ideal as he or she may have a different schedule in mind.
Is fluoride toothpaste necessary?
Research has shown that fluoride is useful in preventing cavities. This naturally-occurring mineral even has the ability to reverse low levels of tooth decay. If your child is under the age of 3, ask your pediatric dentist if your son or daughter is at risk of developing tooth decay. If the risk is there, the dentist will most likely advise using a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. However, if your child is at low risk, a toothbrush moistened with water is usually enough for a thorough cleaning.
Should my child get dental sealants?
Dental sealants are an effective way to protect your child’s teeth from decay. All teeth have recesses on their biting surfaces. These grooves, however, are vulnerable to tooth decay because food and bacteria can get stuck in them. Dental sealants are protective layers of resin placed on the tooth’s recesses. Once the sealants harden, food and bacteria are unable to get inside these grooves and cause decay.
Ask your pediatric dentist if this procedure would be beneficial for your little one. He or she will most likely recommend this treatment if your child is at higher risk for decay. This protective coating is usually applied as soon as the first permanent teeth come in — usually at 6 or 7 years of age. It’s important to note that sealants are applied only to the back teeth, which include the molars and premolars. Application is painless, and your child will not require any drilling or numbing medications.
Do children require regular cleanings?
Most pediatric dentists will recommend their patients see a dental hygienist every six months for a cleaning. This procedure will ensure the teeth and gums remain healthy and free of bacterial build-up. A child’s dental cleaning will usually involve removing plaque, scraping off tartar, polishing the teeth and a quick lesson on good oral hygiene.
Ask your child’s dentist what their cleaning session involves. In some cases, cleaning can take up to an hour. If you’re anxious about whether your child can sit still for that long, ask what strategies are used to help squirmy youngsters get through the procedure.
Does my child need a mouthguard?
Ask your child’s dentist if your son or daughter requires a mouthguard. These customized devices are usually made of soft plastic, and protect the teeth by creating a barrier. Children who suffer from bruxism — commonly known as teeth grinding — or those who play sports regularly should wear a mouthguard. A pediatric dentist can explain how easy it is for teeth to become chipped and cracked. If he or she believes your child needs a mouthguard, it’s best to get one made sooner rather than later.
By asking these questions, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your child is in good hands. At Treehouse Dental, we try to promote a positive attitude towards oral care. We believe this optimism is key in establishing good hygiene habits for healthy teeth and gums. Our pediatric professionals can ensure your child feels safe in the dentist’s chair.
For more information on pediatric dentistry, call Treehouse Dental at 1-833-333-6623
or contact us here.