New backpack? Check. First day outfit? Check. Booster shots. Check. Teeth cleaning? Big check!
Our bi-annual dental visits are important all year, but your child’s back-to-school dental check-up is key in fighting some of the most common chronic dental diseases found in school-age children: cavities! At South Charlotte Dentistry, we know that this upcoming school year is going to be a new transition for your child to enter back into school or hybrid learning, but rest assured that their dental visit will look very much the same.
Did you know…
Dental disease causes children to miss more than 51 million school hours each year? A routine dental check-up only takes an hour!
Scheduling your child’s back-to-school dental visit is so important. The back-to-school visit saves you time down the road by not having to take time off work to fit in a dental appointment or the frustration of working against school absences and coursework. Preventative dental care and early detection will help your child avoid unwanted pain, trouble eating, and difficulty speaking. Your dental team at South Charlotte Dentistry can also help get your child back on track or set up for a great year ahead with an oral healthcare routine suited for their age level.
Start planning ahead before August
Summer vacations, family cookouts, and camping trips might already be filling your family’s calendar up for the rest of the vacation. It’s easy for the new school year to sneak up on you! August is usually the busiest time of year for children coming in to see their dentist, especially since a lot of families don’t think about scheduling until they get a supplies list via email!
The best way to keep those dentist appointments scheduled well ahead of time is to go ahead and schedule your next dentist appointment as you check out, or to call the dentist in the spring around the time your child receives their report card. Take one more item off your family’s plate by giving your team at South Charlotte Dentistry a call anytime this summer to go ahead and schedule that back-to-school dentist visit. Avoid the rush of back-to-school appointments in August, and aim for the beginning and middle of summer vacation.
Get an A+ on your back-to-school dental cleaning!
The kids have been out of school long enough, and we know they can’t wait to be mask free and showing off their beautiful smiles! If you’ve already scheduled those dental appointments this summer, your kids won’t have to miss a thing during the school year. Teach your children the practice of regular dental appointments now by encouraging age-appropriate dental care habits at home, and your kids will have great dental care for life.
Kids love the praise of a job well done when they receive a positive review from the dentist during their checkup. The best type of checkup is a cavity free and dental disease free checkup! Help your children have a stress-free back-to-school dental visit by encouraging kids to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes, and flossing once a day.
Ages 6 and under
Your child’s dental care within six months of the first tooth eruption or by the age of 1. By the age of 5 or 6, your child will likely want to do all the brushing themselves, but it’s important for parents to supervise and step in to ensure that thorough cleaning is occurring. Children at age 5-6 years old still do not have the fine motor skills to completely clean their teeth.
They may also be unaware of all the changes rapidly occurring in their mouth, so they might still only brush their teeth the way they tried to when they were 2 or 3 years old. New molars are coming in around the 5-6 years old age range, and the mouth is growing! Your dental team can help your child navigate the changes occurring with their smile, and provide you with tips for teaching your child how to successfully brush and floss their teeth.
From ages 7-12, your child is rapidly developing and maturing, physically and mentally. While by the age of 7 they may have mastered the two minute brushings twice a day, they may also be entering an age where they no longer want to do so in general. Kids at this age are coming into their own, pushing boundaries, and only beginning to learn accountability for their actions and self-care. Supervision by parents is still very important at this age range to encourage healthy brushing and flossing.
The pre-teen to teenage years is a critical time for dental health. Kids who have never had a cavity may suddenly be experiencing an onslaught of cavities. From teenagers to early adulthood, this age range may not take care of their teeth because they don’t see the consequences of not doing so. Their dietary habits may be changing, their taste buds respond to new things, and teenagers simply might not find the routine of brushing and flossing “cool.”
On the flip side, it’s also during this period that many teenagers seek out orthodontic care like braces, retainers, and molar surgery. These expensive treatments may motivate a teenager to take better care of their teeth or may motivate parents to be more involved in ensuring the investment of their child’s smile is well taken care of.
Whatever the case, your teen’s habits translate into how they care for themselves for the rest of their life. As a parent, you want to support and respect your teen, while continuing to enforce boundaries around their expectations for dental routines and self-care.
The timing of the back-to-school appointment can be everything!
Is your child a happy camper when they have to push a meal an hour or miss a naptime? What about if you’re having to pull them from a summer activity they love like a day camp to go to a dentist appointment? The time of day that you schedule your child’s appointment can make a huge difference in how the appointment will run.
It’s important not to disrupt a younger child’s essential routines, like mealtime or nap time. For older children, pushing a dentist appointment right after an hours-long camp or activity might result in them being uncooperative or simply not having the stamina to sit through it. Try to choose a time where your child has had enough rest, food, and a bit of energy out before heading to sit in a dentist’s chair for an hour.
When it comes to food, don’t come on an empty stomach, but do not feed them a large meal or snacks in the waiting room either. Eating a light meal beforehand can curb hunger, make them more comfortable, and possibly encourage a child to be more willing to sit through their appointment. Eating light can also be better for a child with a healthy gag reflex. As children age, they gain more control over swallowing and tend to gag less.
Bonus point: Encourage your child to brush their teeth before their appointment! Your dental team is going to be working around all that food in their mouth if the child is eating in the waiting room.
Have a child that loves the dentist? Schedule their appointment first!
You can certainly try to schedule all of your children at one time to get back into the dentist, but sometimes the anticipation of sitting in a waiting room waiting on one sibling to finish can be daunting! If you have back-to-back appointments, there’s definitely an easy way to decide who goes first: the child who has had positive experiences at the dentist! They can model good behavior and report back to other siblings about how easy their appointment was.
Every child’s temperament can vary at the dentist. If you have any concerns about your child’s anxiety for the dentist, our team at South Charlotte Dentistry is well experienced in making your child’s appointment fun and worry-free. We want our child patients to feel successful with their oral healthcare, and link a positive association with their dental visit, and feel great about having strong and healthy teeth. Encourage your child to communicate openly with the dentist and hygienists, ask questions, and be honest.
What can your child expect at a back-to-school checkup?
A back-to-school appointment is a full and thorough dental examination of your child’s teeth, gums, and overall oral health. A metal scalar and mirror will be used to scrape and clean teeth free of hardened plaque. It might sound scary, but it won’t hurt! Removing that hardened plaque will keep decay from developing. If due, your child may have x-rays done on their teeth. Additionally, your child will receive a standard cleaning and fluoride treatment. The fluoride treatment might come in a gel or foam that’s brushed over the teeth or inserted into the mouth via a tray for a few minutes. Fluoride is essential to developing teeth, safeguarding against cavities, and strengthen tooth enamel. Any dental disease, cavities, or other concerns and treatment options are discussed with the parents and children and maybe treated during the checkup.
As a parent, help your child understand what’s going to happen at the dentist appointment by being honest and clear about what they’ll be doing during the appointment and what expectations they have so they will feel more at ease.
Why are back-to-school checkups so important?
Between new schools, new classes, new teachers, new friends, and new activities, there are so many big changes happening for a child around the start of a school year. Kids might be transitioning into school provided lunches, sharing snacks with other children, or making trips to vending machines during after school activities. Major disruptions to a child’s schedule create so many sneaky opportunities for tooth decay to develop!
Regular checkups prevent tooth decay from going unnoticed and untreated and help dentists identify and treat oral health problems early in a child’s life. Parents also benefit from taking their kids to the dentist, as your child’s dental team will help inform them and their child about good dental care at home. Children who visit the dentist often, early, and consistently have better overall oral health for the rest of their lives!
Call us for your back-to-school checkup before appointments fill!
School will be back in session before you know it! Whether your child will be back in the classroom or continuing learning from home, a healthy, beautiful smile is always a back-to-school essential – especially with yearbook pictures getting taken at the beginning of the year! It’s always a good time to get your kids into the dentist for their routine checkups.
At South Charlotte Dentistry, we provide you with comprehensive pediatric dentistry to keep your children’s teeth strong and healthy. Give us a call today at (704) 759-0908 to schedule your child’s appointment!