Back to School and Dental Health: FAQ for Busy Parents

It’s that time of year again! As August comes to a close and September is underway, there is a lot that needs to get done before those school bells ring. We know that dental check-up is on one of those lists, and you might be asking yourself, how often do we need to get cleanings again? How long do they take? Let us take the guess work out of it for you with our FAQ on Your Child’s Dental Health! Here are some common inquiries that have been asked and answered to help you provide your children with the best dental care–without all the extra time!

How often should my children get their teeth cleaned?

The American Dental Association recommends creating a personalized plan with your dentist for how often to visit, but at least once a year. Children in particular need close monitoring, especially if they are starting to brush on their own. Cavities can form quickly. Two visits to the dentist a year will allow for the application of fluoride which helps prevents cavities, and the dentist can decide when to put sealants on your child’s permanent molars. Sealants are a thin protective coating that helps keep bacteria out of the grooves of your child’s new molars. Scheduling a cleaning before the school year starts will ensure that your child doesn’t miss any school for toothaches or other dental issues.

What can we expect at each visit?

Every patient that comes in for their check up will receive a cleaning and a periodic exam conducted by the dentist. For children ages 2 and up, one of our experienced hygienists will do the cleaning, which lasts 30 minutes for children under 13 and an hour for those 14 and up (or with braces).  If your child is under 5 and this is his or her first visit with us, then Dr. Bracy will do both the exam and the cleaning. If you have been to us before, but would prefer for the pediatric dentist to do the cleaning, just let us know.

The periodic exam allows the dentist to make sure that there are no cavities or other issues forming. If there are, the dentist will go over with you what treatment s/he recommends, and our treatment coordinators will sit down with you to go over a treatment estimate and help you schedule. For young children, this exam may be with our pediatric dentist, Dr. Bracy, who comes in on Fridays.  For children over 5, Dr. Jain or Dr. Koh will do the periodic exam. If you want to make sure the exam is done by Dr. Bracy, please let our scheduling staff know so we can make sure Dr. Bracy will be available for the exam.

If your child is over 5, we may want to take a couple of x-rays to make sure that there aren’t any issues developing below the gumline, at the roots of the teeth.

I have more than one child. What can the others be doing while one is getting a cleaning?

We have 3 full time hygienists, so we are able to accommodate more than one child at once. When you bring your children in for their cleaning, we recommend scheduling their next one (usually six months later) before you leave. This way, you can make sure that all your children get appointments at the same time or near the same time for their next visit. We also have a video/television room for kids in the waiting room where they can be entertained while siblings are getting a cleaning.

So, how long will it take again?

In all, the cleaning and exam for a child under 13 without braces will last 30 minutes, and for those older, it will last 1 hour.

How do I schedule a visit as soon as possible?

Give us a call or send us an email. We will respond right away.