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Back-to-school dental exams are required in some instances and are highly recommended for all. Back-to-school dental exams are mandated by some school districts. It’s hardly surprising when you stop to consider all of the alarming research out there about chronic dental disease in school-age children. Chronic dental disease, including tooth decay and caries (cavities), account for over 51 million school hours missed each year.
- 1 The little knashers
- 2 Healthy Habits Lead to Good Health
- 3 Questions to Ask at the Appointment
- 4 Contact the Kinder Smiles for your child’s consultation!
The little knashers
Children with poor oral health are nearly three times as likely to miss school due to dental pain. Considering that a recent national survey found that approximately one in seven children between the ages of six and twelve had experienced a toothache in the previous six months, you can see how that could quickly become a big problem.
In addition to absenteeism, dental disease and poor oral hygiene can lead to problems with performance, concentration and functioning, both at school and at home. In fact, teens with dental pain were found to be almost four times as likely as their healthy peers to have lower grade point averages.
Other complications of dental disease can include pain, discomfort, increased infection, and difficulty sleeping, eating or speaking. The good news is that good oral health is attainable. The American Dental Association recommends prevention and early detection is key to avoiding complications of dental disease. Hence back-to-school visits are important.
Healthy Habits Lead to Good Health
Even if dental exams are not required by your school district, it is the perfect time of year to set one up! Many moms and dads make it a habit to schedule an August dental appointment about six months ahead of time, during spring break, since it’s so easy for the end of summer to sneak up on busy families.
It’s all too easy for children and families to lose their routines and some of their healthy dental habits during the summertime. Between barbecues, camping trips, sleepovers, and other activities, it can be hard to keep everything in balance – especially while trying to juggle summer fun with work, different daycare options and other obligations!
A back-to-school dental visit can be just the thing to help get everyone back on track. Also, if issues are found, there is time to address them before school starts up again.
Questions to Ask at the Appointment
There are a few key questions that can be helpful to ask at the dental appointment.
Question 1: How is Her Overall Oral Health?
Often, there is no pain or other noticeable symptoms of tooth decay, gum disease, or other chronic oral health problems until they have progressed so far that they will require more extensive, and more expensive, treatment. With regular check ups, issues can be prevented, or found in the early stages and corrected before they ever become big problems.
Corrections might be as simple as improving oral care in a specific area of the mouth. They might also include recommendations regarding any potential need for a specialist, such as an orthodontist, down the road. Armed with this information, its easier for parents to plan for future needs. This can make a big difference in how smooth or complicated any future problems or procedures end up being.
The dentist will also be able to offer personalized recommendations for how often each child should be seen each year. The frequency of recommended cleanings and checkups varies for each individual based on factors such as diet, how many sweets they eat, their past dental history and their home brushing and flossing practices.
Even with outstanding home hygiene practice, routine professional cleanings and checkups are imperative for good oral health. It’s not possible to remove all plaque and cavity-causing bacteria by brushing and flossing alone.
Question 2: How is He Doing with His Home Oral Care?
The dentist can tell Junior exactly where he is doing well with brushing and flossing, and where he needs to do better. They can also instruct or reinforce how to do it, and why it is important.
Hearing the feedback directly from the dental professional can be much more impactful to a youngster than just hearing mom endlessly nagging to “remember your back teeth!” Not to mention, its a lot nicer for mom, too!
Question 3: Will X-Rays be Necessary?
X-rays aren’t necessary for every situation, or even with every visit, but they are an important tool to monitor the health and development of the teeth and mouth.
X-rays offer valuable information regarding the health of the teeth, both above and below the gum line. They can identify tooth decay between the teeth and potential health or development problems in the roots of the teeth.
Question 4: Does the Dentist Recommend a Sealant?
A sealant is a thin coating made from dental plastic that a professional can place on the chewing surfaces of a youngster’s back teeth. They help keep the molars clean and clear of bits of food and bacteria that can lead to cavities. They can reduce the likelihood of cavities by up to eighty percent!
Sealants are painless to apply. They typically last for years before needing reapplication. They cost, on average, about one third the cost of one filling! Be sure to ask about them when the permanent molars start coming in.
Question 5: Will You Check Her Mouthguard?
Mouthguards, also known as mouth protectors, are an important piece of safety equipment for youngsters who participate in sports and certain other physical activities. They help minimize the risk of broken teeth and injuries to lips and mouth. Their use is strongly recommended by the American Dental Association.
Mouthguards need adjustment or replacement from time to time due to regular wear and tear, and also as the child grows. Baby teeth fall out and adult teeth grow in, and mouths and bodies grow and change over time, some years quite dramatically.
Contact the Kinder Smiles for your child’s consultation!
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400 Kinderkamack Rd.
Oradell, NJ 07649
5 Questions to Ask (at Your Child’s Back-to-School Dental Visit)
Dr Engel holds a speciality license in pediatric dentistry from New Jersey and New York. He also has attained sedation certification, which allows for in-office oral sedation options, and he’s on staff at Hackensack University Medical Center. As an attending pediatric dentist at HUMC, Dr Engel retains operating room privileges, allowing for an array of treatment modalities and anaesthesia options.