A regular dental exam for kids is important to safeguard your child’s oral health. The pediatric dentist will be able to diagnose the problem early on, while treatment options are less invasive, and provide advice on how to keep your child’s teeth healthy. Although a child’s first dental checkup may seem frightening, it is beneficial…
What Happens During Dental Cleaning for Kids?
Kids dental cleaning is important to ensure that they maintain a healthy set of primary (baby) teeth. Otherwise, cavities and other oral health concerns can compromise the alignment and health of permanent teeth once they emerge. In this review, we discuss what happens during a dental cleaning visit for kids.
The dental cleaning process for kids
The dental cleaning process may look different for every kid based on the dentist they visit and their specific needs. However, there are general steps that kids (and their parents) can expect for the first pediatric dental cleaning visit. Notably, the cleaning process involves a meeting with the dental team, diagnostic tests like dental X-rays and an oral examination, and the removal of plaque and tartar (the cleaning process). Most visits also involve polishing.
Meet with the dentist and hygienist(s)
The first step in the dental cleaning process for kids is a meeting with the dental staff, including the dentist and the hygienist. Dentists and hygienists are both qualified to perform routine dental cleanings, so either may perform the procedure during the visit.
Dental X-rays are usually ordered for children who are going to the dentist for the first time. After the first set of X-rays, new ones are usually ordered every one to two years afterward. X-rays are integral to learning more about the child's oral development. They can help identify early signs of oral health concerns, such as orthodontic issues, before the permanent teeth emerge through the gums.
An oral examination is the best way for a dentist to determine if the child has cavities or other concerns with their teeth and gums. This can help put together a treatment and prevention plan to ensure that the child has good oral health. It can also provide more insight into the best way to perform the teeth cleaning procedure.
Plaque and tartar removal
After meeting with the dental staff and performing diagnostic tests, the cleaning procedure begins. It involves scraping away plaque and tartar in a process known as scaling. Everyone is susceptible to plaque and tartar accumulation over time. Although brushing and flossing are a great defense, plaque can still harden on teeth surfaces over a period of four to six months.
Dental floss and polishing
Teeth polishing smooths the surface of teeth and helps avoid plaque and tartar accumulation. It can also help the appearance of teeth and remove stains. This is a painless procedure for kids. During this final step of the procedure, the dentist may also floss between the teeth to remove any excess plaque and debris.
Schedule a follow-up visit
Lastly, a follow-up visit is scheduled before the parent and child patient leave. This visit may be another cleaning four to six months later. In other cases, visits for restorative or preventive procedures are scheduled. For instance, many kid dentists recommend dental sealants to help protect the vulnerable areas of the molars and premolars.
Kids dental cleaning FAQs
Here are answers to several frequently asked questions that kid dentists receive about pediatric dental cleanings and protecting a child's teeth at home between visits.
How can I protect my child's teeth at home?
Parents can protect their child's teeth between cleaning visits by implementing a healthy and consistent oral care routine. Keep in mind that children under the age of 7 are not old enough to brush on their own, so parents should help them brush. Limiting sugar consumption and checking for signs of oral health complications regularly are also helpful.
What are the treatment options if my child has a dental cavity?
A dental cavity can be treated with a dental filling procedure. This is important for children to avoid the early loss of their primary teeth, which could otherwise impact the development of their permanent teeth. For more severe cavities, a baby root canal may be recommended. Dental sealants can help prevent cavity formation on vulnerable areas of molars and premolars.
How often are kids' dental cleanings necessary?
It is recommended that a kids dental cleaning procedure should be performed every four to six months.
Contact our dental office today for more information
Kids dental cleaning should take place every four to six months, starting from the time that they are 1 year old. We can start with a consultation visit for you to learn more about dental care for kids and to put together a long-term strategy to protect your child's oral health. Contact us today to get started.
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