Seeing a dentist for kids is an incredibly important childhood activity. Kids' dental care can prevent and stop many oral issues before they become serious or irreversible. Dental treatment for children also helps kids develop good oral hygiene practices which can keep their teeth healthy and strong throughout the remainder of their lives. If, as…
How Often You Should See a Kid Friendly Dentist
Taking your child to see a kid friendly dentist is an important part of oral and overall health. Even though baby teeth will eventually fall out and be replaced by permanent ones, it is still essential to keep them clean and treat them for any issues that develop, even during young childhood. Failure to properly care for baby teeth can result in serious complications, including:
- Digestive problems
- speech issues
- Severe decay or infection
- Alignment issues
- Extensive dental work in the future
Following the American Dental Association's recommendations for when and how often to see a kid friendly dentist can reduce the risks for serious issues while improving a child's dental health.
When to take your child to a kid friendly dentist
How often your child needs to visit the dentist may vary based on their individual situation. In general, most children follow the same schedule as adults when it comes to professional oral care.
The first checkup
Some parents assume they do not need to take their kids to visit a dentist until they are close to school age. However, the ADA recommends scheduling the first dental appointment before age 1, when the first baby teeth start to appear above the gum line. This initial appointment allows the dentist to check for proper development while making recommendations to parents as needed for home care. These early dental visits also help children acclimate to the process of having their teeth cleaned and examined while allowing them to become more comfortable with the setting and the staff.
Routine cleanings and exams
Beginning at age 1, children should continue to visit a kid friendly dentist every six months for a checkup and professional cleaning. Young children are especially prone to cavities, but early detection at these appointments can prevent the need for extensive and uncomfortable dental work. For example, some children may receive a topical application of silver diamine fluoride instead of a filling to help treat and slow the progression of a minor cavity that has not progressed too far. Professional cleanings also help reduce the risk of developing tooth decay by removing the tartar buildup that brushing and flossing leave behind.
At routine dental appointments, children may receive X-rays and other diagnostic screenings to check for proper development and potential issues below the surface. Many dentists also recommend topical fluoride treatments to strengthen tooth enamel and further protect against cavities. These are usually given at every checkup. Once a child reaches the age of 6, they may be ready for dental sealants, which offer yet another line of defense against tooth decay. According to the ADA, this simple and painless preventative treatment can reduce the risks of getting a cavity by as much as 80% in molars.
Sometimes, it is not wise to wait until the next routine appointment to visit a kid friendly dentist. Just as with adults, children should be seen promptly if they develop any symptoms that point to a dental problem. Usually, this involves unexplained tooth pain or sensitivity that lasts for more than a day or two. Some young children may not be able to articulate their dental pain, so parents should be mindful of nonverbal cues, such as refusing to eat, favoring one side when chewing, difficulty sleeping, or rubbing the area often.
There are situations that require immediate evaluation and treatment from a dentist, even for kids. These dental emergencies include signs of infection (severe pain, redness, fever, inflammation, bleeding, or pus), damage to a tooth (chips, cracks, or breaks), and a knocked-out tooth. Even if a baby tooth is damaged or knocked loose because of trauma, it is still important to see a dentist who can check for potential complications. In some instances, a dentist may recommend replacing a knocked-out baby tooth with a prosthetic device to prevent alignment problems.
There are many reasons a child should see a kid friendly dentist for regular evaluation and treatment. Starting around age 1, parents should expect to take their child to the dentist twice a year. These early appointments are critical for maintaining oral health and building good habits. However, routine visits are not the only reason to see a dentist. Kids should also be seen promptly if they experience severe damage, signs of infection, or symptoms of decay. Immediate treatment can prevent unnecessary complications while keeping teeth and gums healthy and strong.
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