According to the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools, approximately 51 million school hours are lost each year to dental-related illnesses. While you can help to reduce your child’s risk of dental disease and discomfort by establishing and maintaining an oral hygiene routine at home, regular dentist visits play an essential role in your child’s overall health.
During routine teeth cleanings, your child’s dentist will use their expertise to check for any issues and offer in-depth treatments to improve the oral health of their patients. Without a doubt, these dental exams are integral to proper dental care. But what exactly happens during these appointments? If your child feels nervous about their upcoming visit or you simply want to know more about what takes place during routine teeth cleanings, refer to the information below.
What Happens During Routine Teeth Cleanings?
- Physical Exam: Before any cleaning is actually performed, your child’s teeth will be thoroughly examined by their dentist or by a dental hygienist. During these exams, dental professionals look for signs of decay (like cavities), plaque, gingivitis, and other potential problems.
- Plaque Removal: Next, any plaque or tartar that’s found will be removed. Your dental professional will use floss and special tools (like a small mirror and a scaler) to remove this build-up safely. Your child might expect to feel and hear some scraping sensations during this process.
- Brushing and Polishing: Now that the tartar and plaque have been removed, your child’s dentist will use a powerful electric toothbrush to clean and polish the teeth. Typically, the toothpaste used by dentists has a grittier texture than what you’ll keep at home in the medicine cabinet. This will ensure a deeper clean. Your dentist may also recommend a fluoride treatment or sealant to protect your child’s teeth.
- X-Rays: After your child’s teeth have been cleaned properly, your dentist may recommend that your child have X-rays be taken to ensure there are no underlying cavities or other issues. X-rays can also help your dentist to determine whether there are problems with your child’s tooth alignment. Usually, your child will need X-rays performed once a year. This can be a slightly uncomfortable process, but it is not painful in any way.
- Treatment Discussion: After all that, your dentist will usually talk to both parent and child about how to continue proper care at home. If your child’s oral health is lacking in any specific area, your dentist will make recommendations about how to improve it between now and your next visit. And if there are specific treatments that may need to be performed (like filling a cavity, for example), your dentist will talk to you about the next steps you’ll need to take. At the end of the visit, your dentist will probably give your child a new toothbrush, some toothpaste, and dental floss to bring home with them and use.
Regardless of age, most patients don’t especially enjoy routine teeth cleanings. But these cleanings are what will ensure your child will stay in good health throughout their development. Once your child has a better idea of what will take place during their visits, they’ll at least feel a lot calmer during the process and won’t be surprised by anything that comes up. For more information on scheduling a dental appointment for your child, please contact us today.