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Guide to a Dental Cleaning With Your Family Dentist
Seeing a family dentist at least two times a year is one of the main ways to keep teeth healthy and gums in good condition. Every six months, the dentist can check to ensure there are no signs of gum disease, cavities, tooth decay, or other implications of compromised oral health. For parents, it is important to understand when children can attend an initial cleaning to ensure teeth are coming in properly and how to prepare them for the appointment.
A child’s first dental cleaning
Children can usually see a dentist as soon as baby teeth have emerged. Family dentists often focus on patients of all ages, and parents can ask a dentist about the right time to bring children in for a first visit. Discussing the visit can give parents a guide on what to expect and determine if a child is ready to see a dentist.
Dental offices have a reputation for causing stress and anxiety in patients, especially children. Fortunately, children who see the dentist sooner in life are more likely to feel comfortable around a dentist, especially one they have an established relationship with. To prepare for that first appointment, parents should bring children along to their dental cleanings so that children can observe and experience it with a familiar figure. Reading books about going to the dentist and talking about what to expect can help familiarize children with dental visits as well.
Parents may be asked to sit with a child in the dental chair or to wait in the reception room while the child and dentist become acquainted. During the visit, the dentist will gently check the child’s mouth, including the teeth and gums. A dentist may look for signs of inadequate amounts of fluoride (which contribute to teeth whiteness), decay from sugary or carbohydrate foods, and other problems, such as tooth movement from thumb sucking. The entire appointment should not last long since most young children can only sit still for short periods of time. At the end of the visit, the dentist may demonstrate how to properly brush and tell children why it is important to maintain good oral hygiene.
Cavities are the most common issue dentists encounter with children, usually because of the consumption of sugary foods and drinks. A dentist may advise parents to monitor a child’s diet and limit the amount of sugar a child is permitted to eat. Showing and encouraging children to brush is also essential in preventing cavities.
After the first visit, the dentist will suggest that another appointment be scheduled six months later. Unless otherwise directed, children can follow the same schedule as adults by visiting the dentist twice a year.
Seeing a family dentist biannually is one part of the strategy for preventing poor oral health. Regular appointments, along with keeping up on brushing and flossing, can establish good habits in children that can be used throughout life.
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