Ask Dr. B :: The Whys and Whens of Dental Checkups for Kids

This post is sponsored and written by Dr. Michael Blen. We are huge fans of Dr. B’s and love that we get to share his knowledge with all of our readers!

Time for another blog post from me, Dr B!  Please contact me should you have any questions you would like addressed in future posts! Your questions are what these posts are based on, so you can submit them here!

This month’s post is a long answer to a simple question.  I could go in tangents to make it even longer, however, I will be more general than specific.  Specifics can come in future posts or in answers to your questions.

Q:  How often should I take my child to the dentist and why?

A:  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children visit their pediatric dentist at least twice a year for a routine cleanings and exams. These visits are important to ensure a lifetime of good hygiene habits. During these dental visits, your child will have a cleaning and doctor’s examination along with appropriately timed dental radiographs and professional fluoride applications. Your dentist and/or hygienist will discuss preventive measures (diet and oral hygiene) as well as your child’s rapid growth and changes in their dentition and facial features. These preventive measures are the same in children as for adults.  These include brushing a minimum of two times per day and flossing every night, as well as maintaining a healthy diet.


During periodical dental visits, preventive measures for your child are discussed. One of the major topics of discussion your pediatric dentist will have includes a healthy diet.  Sugar is everywhere!  It is hard to get away from it.  It is very important to always check the nutrition facts on your purchased foods and drinks.  You will be surprised what you find.  For as harmful as the quantity of sugar is towards getting decay, the frequency of consumption of sugar is even more harmful.  Other preventive measures include routine x-rays, topical fluoride application, sealants on appropriate teeth, and evaluation of growth and development.


Your child’s routine examination will check for cavities.  There are a number of factors involved in getting cavities (to be discussed in a future blog). Primary (baby) teeth get cavities just as adult teeth do. As a matter of fact, early childhood dental cavities are 5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever. And yes, these cavities still need to be treated even though the teeth will eventually come out.  We treat dental decay not only to help prevent infection and pain, but also to aid in eating and keeping space for permanent teeth. Lack of treatment of dental decay is considered dental neglect. Dental decay can result in future pain, swelling, infection, and possible emergency room visits.


Growth and development of your child’s teeth will be discussed during these visits as well. Growth is not only jaw growth, but also the transition from the primary dentition to mixed dentition (both baby and adult teeth) to permanent dentition. Your dentist will discuss with you the natural order and approximate ages of losing teeth. The dentist can also evaluate the probability of the future need for age appropriate orthodontics based upon your child’s individual growth and development.

As you can see, periodic visits are not only about cleaning, but also about observation and conversation. Pediatric dentists are concerned with seeing the full picture of dental health in children. Please do your research and see which pediatric dental office would be right for you.

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