How Often Your Child Should Visit a Dentist for Kids

Dentist For Kids Phoenix, AZ

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, parents should take their children to visit a dentist for kids twice a year. These biannual visits enable the dentist to monitor the child's dental development, assess changes in the mouth, and offer recommendations for the child's oral health. That said, the child may need a dental checkup before the regular date.

Children and dental appointments

The dentist will determine the frequency of a child's dental checkups after considering certain factors, including the risk of dental cavities, the number of cavity cases in the past, and the health risks associated with having dental decay (e.g., if the child has a health condition such as heart disease or diabetes). To accurately assess the child's risk of cavities, the dentist for kids will evaluate the child's diet, level of oral hygiene practices, and the amount of fluoride that the child receives.

Whether the child is a toddler, child, or adolescent, the dentist will give the parents the results of the cavity risk assessment. A child who has minimal risk of developing cavities may only need one dental checkup per year. Children at high risk may need to visit as often as four times per year. As the child grows older, the dentist for kids will likely recommend a dental checkup once every six months. During these visits, the dental team will provide suggestions on proper brushing, flossing, and diet. The exams also enable the dentist to detect cavities early, preventing the need for costly dental procedures later.

The basics of a child's dental visit

The dentist will do a thorough medical history check and examine the child's teeth and jaw during their initial visit to the office. Parents need to inform the dentist if the child's health has changed since their last appointment. Here are the steps to anticipate during a child's dental checkups. 

  • Dental cleaning: The dentist will clean plaque and tartar, which may lead to gum disease, poor breath, and tooth decay, by scraping below the gum line. After that, they will polish and floss the child's teeth.
  • Complete dental exam: The dentist will examine the child's mouth and teeth for signs of dental issues like cavities or gum disease. They may also recommend X-rays if necessary. Damage to the jawbone, abscesses, impacted teeth, cysts, tumors, and decay between the teeth are just a few of the issues that X-rays may detect that would otherwise go undetected until they caused discomfort.

What to do if a child has ongoing dental health problems

Regular visits to the pediatric dentist every six months are suggested for optimal oral health, but children with persistent problems, like cavities, gum irritation, or tooth decay, should see the dentist every three months. It is essential to ensure adequate cleaning and that the adult teeth will emerge in a healthy oral environment because recurring concerns may become troublesome for children just beginning to form dental habits. Taking care of the baby teeth is crucial so the adult teeth can come in without problems.

Why regular checkups are important

Decay or cavities progress faster in baby teeth than adult teeth because the enamel is thinner. During the child's appointment, the dentist for kids will perform essential tasks, such as checking that the teeth are erupting when they are due and in the right position. Also, the information that parents learn from the dentist is crucial for the child's oral development. Parents must know how to keep their children's teeth free of cavities because it is a routine that the child will hopefully maintain into adulthood.

Regular dental visits teach the children the importance of dentist appointments and help them cultivate good dental habits. It also familiarizes them with the way that dental appointments work and enables them to create a lasting relationship with the dentist. This is important in case of future dental procedures.

Final note

Usually, the decision on how often a child has dental checkups should be made by the dentist, the parent, and the child. It is common for the dentist, as the expert, to make the recommendation, though the parent and the patient should be able to ask questions if they do not understand the reason. Also, if anything happens, such as a dental emergency, parents can always book an appointment ahead of their due date.

Request an appointment here: or call Nett Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics at (623) 759-7658 for an appointment in our Phoenix office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Kid Friendly Dentist in Phoenix, AZ.

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