How Often Should Children See the Dentist
It's best to start bringing your child to the dentist at about age one. While most young children won't be cooperative enough to sit still in the dental chair for a full dental cleaning at that age, Dr. Blazer can do a quick visual exam with the help of a parent to make sure there is no obvious dental decay. The first teeth usually start to appear at age six months but it is rare to see cavities in newly erupted baby teeth.
At about age two to four, most children are old enough to sit for a check up by the dentist and will let the hygienist clean the teeth. Dr. Blazer and her staff make it a fun and positive visit for kids of all ages!
Dr. Blazer recommends regular visits every six months or more if there are specific concerns.
What is the Purpose of Dental Checkups?
Starting early with regular dental visits allow children to become comfortable in the dental setting. If an emergency should occur, a child will go to an office where he or she already feels comfortable.
Additionally, regular visits allow Dr. Blazer to monitor tooth eruption and eventual baby tooth loss to make sure things are proceeding on schedule. Dr. Blazer likes to say, "every popcorn kernel pops when it's ready" and not be too concerned if tooth eruptions patterns fall outside what is considered to be average.
Once a child is old enough, dental x-rays can "see inside" the teeth, which is an important way to check for cavities, especially in the back molar baby teeth. Most children are not aware of having food stuck between their teeth (just as they never notice all the sand from the playground in their shoes!). Baby molar teeth (which will remain for most children until about age 12) are prone to getting cavities that are not visible without a dental x-ray.
With today's digital x-rays, there is no concern of radiation as there used to be, although we still use a lead apron for patients that prefer it.
Are Checkups Necessary if my Child has Healthy Teeth?
In addition to visual examinations by Dr. Blazer, the hygienist provides thorough dental cleanings during each visit. Topical fluoride helps protect the teeth from the acids produced by the plaque and bacteria in the mouth.
Starting at about age six, children will get three sets of adult molars (usually at about ages 6, 12, and 17). These molars have very deep grooves when they first erupt in the mouth. Because of this and also because children are not great about thorough brushing, Dr. Blazer recommends the placement of dental sealants. They fill in the grooves, preventing food from accumulating in these hard to reach areas. These sealants are easy to have applied and a great first experience for younger patients. Dr. Blazer has even had a few of her younger patients tell her they want to become a dentist after having sealants placed!
If you have questions or concerns about when to schedule your child’s dental health please reach out to Dr. Marcia Blazer!