How to make your back-to-school dental check-up successful

It’s important to have your child’s oral health looked at frequently, especially because their mouth (and teeth) are growing rapidly.  The summertime is often less busy at our clinics, with patients away on vacation, or out enjoying the nice weather, but now that it’s almost time for the kids to get back into school, lots of parents will want to book a dental checkup before things begin getting hectic again. 

Sometimes kids dental hygiene routine can slip a bit during vacation, so a dental visit is a great way to get that back on track.  Many schools recommend parents get their children a check-up before the new year gets started in an effort to minimize missed school days.  Protecting your child’s smile is a back-to-school must have and it’s up to parents (and dentists) to make sure kids are putting their best smile forwards.   

Here’s how you can help make your child’s back-to-school checkup a successful one:

Book your appointment in advance

You’re not the only one who needs to get their child a check-up before September, and you might find that your dentist’s schedule is getting filled up.  That’s why you need to book in advance and avoid the rush of getting an appointment just before back to school.

Book an easy appointment time

We recommend choosing appointment times that are family friendly, if possible.  When that is will depend on your normal routine, but often mid-morning appointments work great.  That’s because even younger children won’t be hungry or tired yet and their mood is often light. Last thing you want is a hungry, tired and cranky child during a dental check-up, so think about what time would work best for your family and book accordingly.

Don’t let your kid’s oral hygiene routine slip

The best way to have a cavity free check up is to make sure your kids are cleaning their teeth correctly.  We know that vacation makes chores seem all the more difficult, but this is one part of the daily routine that shouldn’t be forgotten about.  Get your kids brushing twice daily and flossing once if they’re old enough to do so, and if not, you’ll have to help.  This is especially important for older kids with their adult teeth coming because they are at a very vulnerable stage.

Keep things fun and light

Even if you’re feeling the pressure of taking your kids to the dentist, it’s important that your kids feel relaxed.  Nothing makes a trip to the dentist a disaster like anxious and nervous kids, so you need to chill and radiate positive vibes yourself.  Remember, oral health care is for life, so you’ll want your kids to enjoy the process and not be scared of it.

Be firm but friendly if your child won’t cooperate

There’s lots of reasons your kids might dig in their heels when it’s time to visit the dentist, but you need to keep calm and don’t freak out no matter what.  Especially younger kids will often require assistance, both physically and emotionally at the dentist’s office.  Our dentists are great with kids but that’s often not enough and parents need to be prepared help the appointment along.

Speak with your dentist about your child’s oral health

It’s important that parents know what’s going on with their child’s teeth.  This means asking about how things are looking and being proactive about any concerns, like forming cavities, that might turn up.  Early prevention is the best way to avoid lengthy and expensive dental care, so make decisions to fix things early on.  If there’s a possibility your child might need orthotics to keep their smile coming in straight, make sure you consult with your dentist and book follow-up appointments regularly.

Does your child need a professional cleaning?  Do they need an x-ray? Should the dentist inspect their mouthguard or orthodontic appliance if they already have one?  There are no dumb questions and the more informed you are as a parent, the better.

Keep in mind that just as the school year will bring changes for your kids, the current pandemic has altered the way you visit the dentist a bit too.  It’s not drastic but it’s worth it to check out our article, “Visiting Martindale Dental during Covid-19” before you book an appointment to visit the clinics.

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