Pediatric Dental Checkups for Back to School
As much as you may hate (or love) to admit it, summer is coming to an end and back to school season is in full swing! We know the first few weeks can be a little chaotic; checking off everything on the kids’ school supply list, buying the yearly back to school outfits, figuring out drop off and pick up, there’s a lot on your plate! So why add back to school dental check up to the list?! Hear us out, the school year will only get busier as time goes on. Conflicting after school activities, sports schedules, not to mention valuable learning time. (According to the American Dental Association, children miss over 51 million hours of school every year just for dental care!).
There just never seems to be a ‘good’ time for a trip to the dentist! Scheduling your child’s dental checkups for the back-to-school season not only allows you to cross one more thing off of your ever-growing list, but it creates a memorable habit to maintain your child’s oral health: back to school equals one bi-annual dental check up! At Spokane Dental, we know that not only do some schools require a back-to-school dental exam, but that your child’s dental health is a priority no matter the time of year.
What to Expect at a Pediatric Dental Checkup
Every back-to-school checkup may look different depending on the child’s specific needs and/or when they last paid a visit to the dentist, but overall, there are a few types of dental treatments we typically offer for our pediatric patients!
Exams and Cleanings: Every time your child comes into our office for a routine checkup, we perform a cleaning and an exam to really get into the nooks and crannies that may have been missed over the past few months, and to get a general idea of where your child’s oral health is at, or if there are any immediate glaring issues.
Protective Sealants: 42% of children ages 2 – 11 develop cavities in their baby teeth, and 21% of children 6 – 11 develop cavities in their permanent teeth (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 2023). To avoid the dental damage, and let’s be frank, inconvenience, of cavities, protective sealants are often used. Sealants are smooth, clear coatings that fit into grooves in the molars to help block out germs and bacteria that cause cavities, as well as making them easier to clean!
Fillings: If and when a child does form a cavity, it’s critical to seek treatment as soon as possible so the decay doesn’t spread to other nearby teeth. At Spokane Dental, we use discreet, white fillings to replace where the area of decay previously was and to prevent it from expanding deeper in the tooth.
Crowns and Pulp Treatments: When a child’s baby tooth becomes damaged, we often place a crown over the tooth to help it stay in place for as long as possible. We refer to pulp capping as the pediatric version of a root canal treatment.
Digital X-rays: When needed, we will conduct x-rays during the check up to get a better visual understanding of what’s going on in your child’s mouth, especially in regards to places we are unable to see from just a visual examination. With x-rays, we have the ability to identify cavities in their earliest stages as well as monitor and assess orofacial development and diagnose cysts and other potential problems.
Extractions and Space Maintainers: Teeth that have been severely decayed or are unable to be restored are more often than not extracted in order to prevent the spread of infection, as well as eliminating the pain it causes to your little one. If the tooth we extract is a baby tooth, we insert a space maintenance device to help prevent any spacing issues while waiting for the permanent adult tooth to come in.
The Benefit of Back-to-School Dental Checkups
Pediatric dental checkups aren’t just all about what we can do in the office. They’re about creating good dental health habits and educating both you and your child on how to best take care of their oral health while at home, in between visits. We love giving out tips on fun ways to get kids to brush their teeth, or explaining how sugar really impacts your teeth! We also set aside time to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s oral health. If you attend another dentist that doesn’t allow time for you to ask questions, we highly encourage you to be an advocate for your child and at the very least, ask the five questions recommended by the American Dental Association:
- How is my child’s overall dental health?
- Will my child get a cleaning today?
- Does my child need an x-ray?
- Can you check my child’s mouth guard?
- Should my child get sealants?
At Home Dental Tips
While getting back into the routine of school, homework, and extracurricular activities, we suggest checking in on your child’s dental health routine and improving it where possible. (We’re human, we know some things can slip and get a little lax in the sunshine and bliss of summer vacation). Here’s a few things to take a look at when refreshing your child’s at-home dental health routine:
- Ensure they’re brushing their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time!
- Floss every day. We know, flossing isn’t exactly a fan favorite, but it’s critical in removing debris a toothbrush can’t reach!
- Replace their toothbrush! Then mark your calendar to replace it again in 3 to 6 months. (If you forget to mark the date, no worries, when the bristles on the toothbrush begin to look worn out, that’s a good indication it’s time for a new one!)
- Use a mouthwash with fluoride to rid their mouths of bacteria and strengthen their teeth.
Back to School Dental Checkups in Spokane, Washington
If you’re looking for the best dentist in the Spokane area, look no further. As a family dentist, our team is experienced in working with all ages of children with differing states of their oral health. We’re committed to providing you and your family with the best care and creating an environment where you’ll immediately feel at ease. If you’re looking to get your child (or even yourself!) scheduled for a back-to-school dental checkup, give us a call at (509)822-5614 or schedule an appointment today!