Maintaining healthy teeth is a lifelong pursuit. That’s why it’s important for your child to begin attending regular teeth cleanings from an early age. However, we know that’s often easier said than done. To make your child’s dental appointments as fun and stress-free as possible, it helps to know what to expect.
When Should Your Child First See a Dentist?
According to dental experts, you should take your child in for their first dental exam about six months after their first tooth erupts. The main purpose of this initial exam is to get your child to feel comfortable with their dentist. But it’s also a great opportunity for the doctor to examine the development of the teeth, bite, jaw, and gums for early warning signs of possible complications down the road.
During your child’s first exam, a cleaning likely won’t be necessary. But, if there is some noticeable tartar buildup, the dentist may perform a gentle cleaning, including tartar removal and a simple tooth polishing.
Unless there are signs of tooth decay, x-rays will not be necessary at this early stage of tooth development.
What to Expect During Your Child’s Teeth Cleaning
After your child’s initial dental exam, doctors recommend scheduling regular checkups/cleanings every six months. Besides keeping your child’s teeth healthy, these checkups help the doctor to ensure that teeth are developing normally and staying cavity-free. Making a regular habit of dental cleanings also means that the cleanings should take less than an hour to perform.
Here’s what to expect during a standard checkup/cleaning:
- A review of your child’s oral health history
- Removal of plaque or tartar buildup
- Ultrasonic dental tool cleaning
- Flossing and polishing
- A review of X-Rays for possible complications, such as cavities
- Examination of teeth and gums
If you’re diligent about brushing and flossing, as well as discouraging your child from consuming foods high in starch and sugar, these checkups should come with good news regarding your child’s oral health development. However, if complications should arise, your doctor will be able to address them early, preventing the establishment of long-term dental health problems, and keeping your child smiling brightly.