Regular dental exams are essential for your child’s oral health and preventive care. They enable your dentist to detect problems early, when they’re most treatable, plan future care and provide tips to boost oral care.
There are various factors which might determine how frequently your child needs an examination including age, health and risk of tooth decay. For babies aged 6 months to 1 year we recommend scheduling a dental examination after the first tooth erupts and no later than the first birthday. This helps establish a comprehensive relationship between the dentist and the child.
For toddlers, school-age children and adolescents we recommend scheduling regular dental check-ups every six months. Fewer or more-frequent visits may be suggested depending on your child’s risk factors for oral health problems.
During a dental exam, we will clean your child’s teeth and evaluate risk of tooth decay. The exam may involve applying a sealant or fluoride to reduce the risk of decay, as well as dental X-rays and other diagnostic procedures. There will be an opportunity to discuss your child’s diet and oral hygiene habits while demonstrating proper brushing and flossing techniques. Other topics may include preventing oral injuries or, for adolescents, the health risks associated with tobacco, substance abuse and oral piercings.
More specifically, for infants aged 6 months to 1 year your dentist will look for sores or bumps on your child’s tongue, inside the cheeks, and on the roof of the mouth. We will also evaluate the impact of habits such as pacifier use and thumb sucking.
For toddlers, school-age children and adolescents, your dentist will carry out a thorough check of your child’s oral hygiene and overall health. This may include applying sealants to permanent molars and other back teeth susceptible to decay and repair work to cavities or tooth defects. A further examination of the bite will evaluate any problems in the way your child’s upper and lower teeth fit together. Following analysis recommendations may be made for pre-orthodontic treatment, such as a special mouthpiece, or orthodontic treatment, such as braces, to straighten your child’s teeth or adjust the bite. As your child gets older, dental exams might also include discussions about the possible removal of wisdom teeth at the appropriate age, usually at age 16.
You can schedule your child’s first dental examination with Maida Smiles’ pediatric dentist Dr Ines Do Carmo who provides care specifically to children, from infants to teens. Before you book your appointment read the brief tips below to help you prepare, especially if your child is anxious.