Routine Dental Checkups
Routine dental checkups are vital to good oral hygiene and are the best way to detect problems at their earliest stages. Early detection and treatment saves unnecessary discomfort, time, and money.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends checkups twice a year in order to prevent cavities and other dental problems. Oral hygiene needs change with age and the condition of your child’s teeth and gums. Your pediatric dentist may recommend a checkup schedule that is more or less frequent than twice a year.
Infants & Small Children
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child's first visit to the pediatric dentist no later than their first birthday. It is recommended to see your pediatric dentist sooner if any of these dental health risk factors exist:
- Sleeping with a cup or bottle
- Thumb sucking
- Teeth staining
- Down Syndrome
What to Expect
Your child’s dental checkup includes:
- A visual exam of the mouth, face, jaw, and neck
- Digital diagnostics, as determined by your pediatric dentist
- Professional cleaning and polishing of teeth
- Comprehensive data capture in an electronic dental record
During a visual exam, your pediatric dentist looks not only for cracked and decayed teeth, but also for growths and sores on the roof and floor of your child’s mouth, tongue, lips, gums, and the mucous membranes that line the cheeks and gums. Then, your pediatric dentist will check the lymph nodes of your child’s head, jaw, and neck for pain, tenderness, and flexibility.
- Digital X-rays: Digital X-rays digital x-rays detect dental problems that cannot be found during a visual exam. We use Digital X-rays digital x-rays that provide instant results and emit 90 percent less radiation. Your pediatric dentist determines how often your child needs to have Digital X-raysdigital x-rays.
- 3D Imaging: Three-dimensional imaging technology determines the precise position and shape of each tooth. Your pediatric dentist will determine whether the use of this technology is appropriate to aid the development of a dental treatment plan or to follow the progress of your child’s dental treatment.
Your child’s teeth are cleaned using special instruments to remove plaque from above and below the gum line. Afterwards, the teeth are polished. Tooth polishing makes your child’s teeth look and feel great. It also smooths tooth surfaces so plaque is less likely to accumulate.
Electronic Dental Records
The records of our patients' dental checkups, diagnostics, and treatments are kept electronically. Our patients benefit because our pediatric dentists and specialists have immediate, comprehensive access to medical histories, as well as the results of previous and current exams, diagnostics, treatment plans, and progress reports. Electronic dental records improve patient safety and create clinical efficiencies that help reduce waiting time before and during appointments.
Once your pediatric dentist fully understands the overall dental health condition of your child, they will provide you with practical, age-appropriate information and the significant oral health milestones of the coming years. Your pediatric dentist will partner with you and your child to ensure that oral health goals are met so that your child is healthier and happier.
Good Oral Hygiene
The key to healthy teeth and gums is keeping plaque and food decay from building up in your child’s mouth. Plaque and food decay attract harmful bacteria that cause cavities, gum disease, and persistent bad breath.
Your child’s tongue also attracts bacteria. During the normal process of eating, tiny fragments of food collect on the tongue. As these fragments decay, bacteria create a filmy white coating on the top of the tongue.
Practice the four-step routine to keep plaque and harmful bacteria from building up in your child’s mouth.
Easy Four-Step Routine
To to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy:
- Brush your child’s teeth twice daily (after breakfast and before bedtime)
- Use dental floss daily
- Clean your child’s tongue regularly by using a toothbrush or a tongue scraper
- See your pediatric dentist for routine dental checkups
Infant Oral Hygiene
When your infant’s teeth begin to erupt, wipe them daily with a moist washcloth to remove tooth plaque.
As your child grows more teeth, use a soft child's toothbrush with non-fluoride toothpaste (like Baby OraGel) until your child is able to spit out the toothpaste.
When your child is ready to use fluoridated toothpaste, use only a small pea-size amount on the toothbrush. Swallowing too much fluoridated toothpaste can lead to staining of children's teeth (dental fluorosis).
Benefits of Good Hygiene
With good oral hygiene, your child will:
- Have less plaque to remove during routine dental checkups, so professional cleanings will be faster and more comfortable
- Minimize the need for dental procedures due to tooth decay or gum disease
- Help minimize your family’s annual dental budget
- Feel healthier and happier
- Enjoy fresher breath