Getting your little one off to a great start with taking proper care of their teeth is an important step in their overall health and wellness. Regular teeth cleaning is a major component of establishing a routine that will keep teeth growing strong and healthy – and help ensure their oral health now and long into the future.
Starting dental care when they are very young, even if they don’t fully grasp the importance of healthy oral hygiene habits, with gentle treatments in a calm and inviting space will all but alleviate any potential fears before they even have a chance to arise.
How Long Will a Cleaning Take?
Before getting your child’s teeth cleaned for the first time, you will want to do your research and select a dental office that is experienced in pediatric dentistry. From the dental tools and equipment to the office setting and training of staff, finding the right fit is key to a great experience for your child’s teeth cleaning.
The cleaning appointment involves flossing and polishing the teeth to remove any stains and prevent additional plaque buildup. It might include scraping the teeth to remove tartar and plaque if needed. During the appointment, technicians may take x-rays of your child’s teeth, which would be reviewed as part of the exam from the dentist although x-rays are not always part of a visit for young children. A fluoride treatment may be applied to help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities, and finally, a dental sealant may be added as a further layer of protection against decay.
You can expect the entire appointment to be completed in about an hour. And just like adults, children should see their dentist every six months for cleaning and evaluation.
How Early is Too Early?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should begin to see the dentist at one year of age. Good habits start at home, so by the time your child has their first visit, they should already be used to seeing everyone in the home caring for their teeth and talking about the importance of oral health even though they may not yet understand it at that early age. As babies, little ones are already observing their parents and learning by watching what they do. When they see you brushing, this will help them get off to a great start with their own oral health.
Even when they can begin holding a toothbrush by themselves, often when they are toddlers,
parents will still need to do most of the brushing, but singing fun songs about brushing, flossing and using mouthwash can make things entertaining for everyone. The song can be timed at around two minutes so it’s just the right length for how long your child should be brushing their teeth. Brightly colored toothbrushes for kids or those featuring their favorite characters can add to the positive experience.
There are also apps to make tooth brushing time a game that captures their attention and teaches proper tooth-brushing technique for little ones who are first learning to take good care of their teeth. Dozens of apps are available and they are designed for various ages, ranging all the way from toddlers through adults (even grown-ups need encouraging and proper brushing guidance sometimes), so be sure to read reviews to find the one that’s the right fit for your child.
Engaging your child in taking great care of their teeth and familiarizing them with what that means can ensure a successful first appointment. Before that first visit, you can even read a few books to your little one featuring their favorite character going to the dentist. Be calm but positive when you talk about it and your excitement for the visit will help set the stage for your child to be excited too.
A Positive Experience for Patients of All Ages
Don’t put off getting your child’s teeth cleaned any longer so your little one can begin a lifelong habit of good oral hygiene. At Dental Associates for Kids Only, LLP, we’re here to create an environment that leads to a positive and successful dental experience for each patient, every time. Request an appointment online or contact us today at 516-625-3806 to schedule an appointment.