Camping trips, picnics, family cookouts; summer is just jam-packed with things to do. In the flurry of all that fun, a new school year can sneak up on you. It can be hard to think about preparing for school when you are still in summer vacation mode but don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your child’s back-to-school dental appointment and get caught in the last-minute rush.
Why is it important to get your child in for their back-to-school checkup? What things will your dentist be checking?
Why are pre-school check-ups necessary?
A back-to-school dental check-up sets your child up for success. Children with poor oral health are nearly three times more likely than their counterparts to miss school as a result of dental pain. Also, absences caused by pain are associated with poorer school performance.
Early detection and prevention can help your child avoid absences because of pain or sickness caused by cavities. ADA (American Dental Association) pediatric dentist Dr. Mary Hays explains, “We can help spot and take care of any issues, so your child doesn’t have to miss class once school starts.”
Also, this timely dental check-up can help your child get back on track with a healthy dental routine, which can often fall by the wayside during the more relaxed summer months.
Here are some fun back-to-school activity sheets from the ADA that you can use to get your child excited about their upcoming check-up or to keep them busy while they’re at the dentist’s office.
What will the dentist do?
Check overall dental health: This is one of the first things your dentist will do. Are your child’s teeth lining up correctly or are there any other orthodontic issues that need to be addressed? Are they losing their baby teeth at the appropriate time and are their permanent teeth erupting properly?
Although children don’t need an x-ray at every dental visit, x-rays are usually a part of the back-to-school check-up. It helps the dentist look beneath the surface and see if the teeth are developing properly and if their root system is healthy. It also helps to detect any decay between teeth that can’t be seen with just a visual check. Because most children’s diets contain a high level of sweets and sugar, decay can progress very quickly, and it’s important to catch it early.
Clean the teeth: No matter how well or how often kids brush, it’s not possible to remove all the bacteria that often leads to cavities. Professional cleaning is crucial in protecting oral health. “It removes cavity-causing bacteria,” says Dr. Hays, “and helps to keep gum tissue healthy. It also removes any stains from their teeth.”
Provide sealant treatment: A sealant is a thin, protective coating placed on the chewing surfaces of teeth. Sealants are an effective and inexpensive way to add an extra layer of protection against cavity-causing bacteria and keep food particles from building up between the teeth.
When should your child get sealant treatment? Once the permanent molars have started coming in you can ask your dentist if he would recommend sealants for your child.
Check on protective wear: Back-to-school also means the start of the sports season again. It’s important that your child wears a protective mouthguard if he or she is participating in school sports. Your dentist can make a custom-fitted mouthguard that will fit correctly and feel comfortable.
If your child already has a mouthguard, make sure they bring it along with them to their appointment. As your child grows and their teeth develop, a mouthguard must be adjusted or redone to make sure it fits properly and gives adequate protection.
Get it done today!
Get your child in for their check-up, then relax and enjoy the rest of the summer knowing they are ready to go back to school with a healthy smile. Call your dentist’s office today to make an appointment and beat the just-before-school-starts rush!