Routine dental cleanings and exams are important for your child to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent decay and disease. Your daily home care is also critical, but the professional cleanings remove mineralized plaque that can develop despite good brushing and flossing, particularly in areas that are difficult to reach. Following the guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we recommend that your child see us for a cleaning and exam once every six months.
These preventative appointments typically last between 30 minutes and an hour, and parents are always welcome to come back to the treatment area or wait in the lobby. Most older children do better when Mom or Dad don’t accompany them in the back office, and they enjoy the opportunity to be independent. Our staff will let you know if they feel your child is ready for this exciting milestone.
Cleaning and Fluoride
During the appointment, your child’s teeth will be polished and scaled to remove plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces. He or she will get to pick a fun toothpaste flavor like strawberry or bubble gum, and they will get to watch a kid-friendly movie overhead. In addition to the cleaning, your child will also receive a concentrated fluoride treatment to help their teeth stay strong. In babies and younger children, we paint on a fluoride varnish that tastes like mint, and you will need to wait at least 8 hours before you brush your child’s teeth at home. For older children, we use a fluoride gel that comes in many flavors, and they will need to wait 30 minutes before they eat or drink anything.
Dental x-rays will be taken as needed during their routine cleaning appointments to check for cavities in between their teeth, survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone disease, evaluate the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. All of our x-ray equipment is digital and uses much less radiation than traditional dental x-rays, and your child will also wear a lead body apron with a thyroid collar during the process. If you have any concerns about x-rays for your child, please discuss them with our staff.
The last part of your child’s routine cleaning is a thorough examination with one of our Doctors. This includes reviewing any x-rays taken, examining your child’s mouth visually for problems, and talking to your child about their teeth and hygiene when age appropriate. If your child has decay or other problems requiring treatment, the dentist will discuss them with you and a treatment appointment will be set for a later date.
Each and every appointment ends with a trip to the prize treasure chest where your child will be able to choose a special reward for completing the examination. We try to update and improve our toys as much as possible to keep our patients happy and looking forward to their next dental visit!