Visiting the dentist as a child is a huge step. It sets the foundation for a lifetime of oral health. Because of this, you want the experience to be a good one – and that includes regular dental cleanings. Sure, routine brushing at home is a very important part of oral health, but it is not the only part.
Let’s take a look at everything involved in cleaning a child’s teeth, as well as why it is so important.
Preparing Your Child For The Dentist
Your child’s first dental visit should take place around 1 year of age, with visits to follow every six months thereafter. This not only helps your child get comfortable with the dentist and the dental team but also the environment and the sounds, too.
When preparing your child for the first cleaning, it is important to speak positively about the experience. Focus on the fact that it is how to keep teeth growing strong and healthy. Talk about your own dental cleanings when you go, as well as the appointments of any siblings. This reinforces that it is a safe and normal part of dental care.
Most importantly, talk to your child in a way they understand. For instance, instead of telling your child about getting x-rays, refer to them as taking pictures of the teeth. And, always avoid words like shot, needles, hurt, etc.
What Happens at a Child’s Dental Cleaning?
A cleaning visit for kids usually involves a couple of different steps:
- Dental x-rays
- Removing plaque or other buildups from teeth
- Polish each tooth
- Oral examination by the dentist, along with a review of x-rays
Taking a set of x-rays will help the dentist to determine if everything that can’t be seen with the naked eye is well. Depending on the age, this could include ensuring that tooth eruption and such is moving as it should be and that there is no tooth decay taking place within the teeth. They are a great diagnostic tool.
The actual cleaning part of the visit includes polishing the teeth, scraping off any buildup and plaque, as well as flossing. This professional cleaning removes the things your child may miss while brushing at home – especially in those hard-to-reach places. It also reduces the chance of developing cavities. This portion of the visit is a great teaching moment for the hygienist and an opportunity for the child to learn about proper oral care.
Once finished with the x-rays and cleaning, the dentist will come in to perform a comprehensive oral exam. This includes an examination of the teeth and gums, as well as the head and neck to detect any abnormalities. The x-rays will be reviewed at this time and, if necessary, a treatment plan will be developed to address any issues or concerns.
Finally, your child may have a fluoride treatment to help strengthen teeth and prevent decay. And maybe even dental sealants which adds a layer of protection between the tooth and any cavity-causing agents.
All of this takes place in about an hour, setting your child up for dental success.
Dental Cleanings at Dental Associates for Kids Only, LLP
At DAFKO, we know kids can be apprehensive about coming to the dentist. That’s why we make it a part of our regular practice to create a fun and supportive environment. We communicate with your kids in a way that they understand – so that they find the experience positive and rewarding.