Routine dental cleanings and exams are an important part of good oral hygiene and health. The primary purpose of these visits is to provide oral health education to parents and children and identify potential oral health concerns. Just as parents take their infants to pediatricians for well-child visits, it is important to begin early infant dental visits to ensure health and prevent future dental problems. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends all children begin to see a dentist within 6 months of their first tooth erupting, or by 1 year old at the latest.
Exam visits for all children involve providing education to parents and children on best brushing and flossing habits for their age, as well as age appropriate diet education to ensure good oral health and overall health. Depending on the patient age and oral hygiene status, dental cleanings will involve toothbrush cleanings and/or polishing with the “spin brush”, scaling of tartar, and flossing.
Dental radiographs are also an important part of the examination. Xrays will be prescribed to each patient on an individual basis determined by necessity to diagnose potential decay or effects of dental trauma, evaluate proper dental and jaw growth, and to screen for potential pathologies of the jaw. We follow the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommendations to take dental xrays to evaluate for cavities every 6 months to 1 year in children. Frequency of xrays could be more or less depending on the individual’s cavity risk assessment. Additional radiographs, such as a panorex, may be taken every few years to evaluate the dental development and the jaw bone.
Cavity prevention through fluoride treatments and dental sealants are typically the final component of our exam and cleaning appointments. Fluoride varnish is “painted” on the teeth for a quick and easy application and recommended at least twice a year for any child at risk for cavities. Sealants are typically placed at the time permanent molars are fully erupted.