Regular dental exams are an important part of preventive health care. During a dental exam for children, the dentist or hygienist will clean your child’s teeth and evaluate your child’s risk of tooth decay. A dental exam for children might include application of various protective materials — such as sealants, or fluoride treatments — in order to reduce the risk of decay. A dental exam for children might also include dental X-rays (radiographs) or other diagnostic procedures. During a dental exam for children, the dentist or hygienist will likely discuss your child’s diet and oral hygiene habits, and demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques. Other topics for discussion during a dental exam for children might include preventing oral injuries, and for adolescents, the health risks associated with tobacco, substance abuse and oral piercings.
Regular dental exams help protect your child’s oral health. Dental exams give us a chance to provide tips on caring for your child’s teeth, as well as to detect any problems early — when they’re most treatable.
Various factors might determine how frequently your child needs to have a dental exam, including his or her age, health and risk of tooth decay. Consider these general guidelines:
- Ages 6 months to 1 year. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend scheduling a child’s first dental exam after the first tooth erupts and no later than his or her first birthday.
- Toddlers, school-age children and adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends scheduling regular dental checkups, with the most common interval being every six months. However, the dentist might recommend more frequent visits, depending on your child’s risk factors for oral health problems.