family smiles after learning how often should a child go to the dentist

What happens at my child’s dental check-ups?

Hey parents! We know you work hard to provide the best possible care for your children, including helping them care properly for their teeth and gums. While our pediatric experts know you do your best at home, it’s important to remember that regular dental check ups also play a crucial role in preventing cavities and keeping your child’s smile healthy and bright! But if you’re new to Kids Smiles, you may be wondering what exactly happens during your child’s dental check-ups? 

Join us as we explore the ins and outs of these appointments, from your child’s first visit to subsequent check-ups, ensuring you’re well-informed and ready to support your child’s dental health.

Is the first dental visit age 2 or 3?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental visit around the age of 1 or within six months after their first tooth erupts. This is a great way to learn about caring for your child’s developing teeth and how you can comfort them during the teething stages. Our team also performs a professional teeth cleaning suitable for their age and checks for any lip-tie or tongue-tie concerns during these exams. 

From there, your child should visit us for a dental check-up every 6 months to receive a thorough teeth cleaning, help us detect any development or growth concerns with their teeth, and help get your child familiar and excited about the dentist! 

What can I expect during these dental check ups?

A comprehensive dental check-up as most adults are familiar with typically takes place around the age of 2 or 3 when your child has a full or near full set of primary teeth. These visits will focus on giving your child a dental home, regular cleanings and exams, and x-rays if needed.

1. Welcoming, playful environment

Our Kids Smiles offices are all about fun! Because children learn best through play, our team is dedicated to maintaining a positive and playful environment where your child can feel comfortable and learn about the importance of caring for their teeth. Our waiting areas may feature under-the-sea murals, cool colors, or game rooms with books, toys, and/or arcade games. The Kids Smiles Dental Team are also all trained and experienced in working with children from ages birth to 18 years old. 

2. X-rays (if necessary)

Depending on your child’s age and dental maturity and history, our technicians may take digital dental X-rays. These x-rays will provide our pediatric dentists with a detailed view of your child’s teeth and jaw, allowing them to detect dental problems which are difficult to see during an exam, such as cavities between the teeth or impacted teeth. Our Kids Smiles Team uses only low-radiation x-rays which conform to ALARA (As low as reasonably achievable) standards and provide protective equipment such as lead aprons. 

3. Dental cleaning

After getting a quick bitewing x-ray, one of our friendly dental hygienists will perform a professional teeth cleaning. Your child can choose from 2 kinds of specialty toothpastes before the hygienist’s  brushes their teeth and then flosses (depending on your child’s age this may be traditional floss or a kids flosser). With older kiddos, oru team will use specialized tools to  remove plaque and tartar buildup from your child’s teeth. This entire process helps prevent cavities and keeps their gums healthy! 

The hygienist will also demonstrate proper brushing, flossing techniques, and provide oral hygiene tips specific to your child’s age.

4. Oral exam by a certified and experienced pediatric dentist

Once the hygienist is done with your child’s teeth cleaning, one of our pediatric dentists will come in and perform a comprehensive oral exam – inspecting your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth. Your dentist will be looking for any sign of cavities, gum disease, or other oral health issues. They’ll also take the time to review and ask your questions about your child’s dental hygiene routines and diet. 

5. Fluoride treatment

Once the dentist is finished with your child’s dental exam, they or the hygienist will apply a fluoride varnish to your child’s teeth. This fluoride treatment is to help strengthen your child’s tooth enamel and protect against cavities. It’s a quick and painless procedure that is usually done using a swab, brush, or a tray filled with a fluoride gel. You’ll be instructed how long to wait until your child can eat, drink, or brush their teeth.

6. Time for questions, fun, and follow up!

Throughout your child’s entire visit with us, our dental team will be talking and showing your child good oral hygiene habits which are crucial for maintaining their bright, beautiful smile. Each piece of advice will be appropriate for their age – from techniques to the importance of a balanced diet. If your child’s dentist thinks they may benefit from further preventive treatments, they may recommend dental sealants or orthodontics.

If at any point during your child’s exam, you or they have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! Our doctors make time during every exam as well to address your concerns and answer any questions you may have. Once the exam is over, our dental hygienist will take you to our front desk staff where you can schedule your child’s next appointment or any follow-up treatments. 

How often should a child go to the dentist?

Your child should see a dentist every 6 months for regular check-ups and cleanings. This is vital to their oral health and helps us detect any dental issues early on, saving you time and money in the future and helping keep your child cavity-free! 

Still have questions about children’s dental check ups?

Your child’s dental check-up are important preventive appointments aimed to keep their dental health in great shape. By keeping regular dental appointments, you’re setting your child up for a lifetime of healthy smiles! It also helps keep the dental experience fresh as a positive and comfortable one, helping reduce dental anxiety.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions about the ins and outs of dental check ups. Schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist in South Tampa, North Tampa, Town ‘n’ Country or Bradenton today.