6 Secrets to a Successful Back-to-School Dental Checkup
Updated: Oct 23
School supplies? ✅Check. Booster shots? ✅Check. Teeth screening? ✅Check!
Routine dental check-ups are important at any age, but a back-to-school checkup is key in preventing the most common dental problems in school-age kids: cavities.
Did you know, dental problems cause children to skip more than 51 million school hours each year? Pain, difficulty eating or speaking, school absences- all that can be avoided by simple prevention techniques and early detection. When you get your kids “school ready”, make sure their teeth are school ready too!
Many parents don’t think about scheduling a Back-to-school dental checkup until school starts. Speaking from experience, dentists get super busy around this time with a huge wave of young patients, that it can be hard to get an appointment. Back to School Rush is a thing. Avoid it by planning ahead and scheduling your kids back to school checkup right now!
Encourage Good Dental Habits at Home
Parents play the most essential role in teaching their children good dental habits. You should be encouraging your kids to brush twice a day and to floss before sleeping.
Some tips from Archer Dental:
Ages 6 and Under
Your kid might want to do all the brushing, but doesn’t yet have the fine motor skills needed to do a proper job. Make it exciting for them to brush their teeth but keep an eye on their technique. At young age the mouth is changing so drastically, that 5 or 6 year olds are often brushing their teeth the same way when they were 2 or 3. Often they don’t brush new molars in the back of the mouth, and develop their first cavities in the newest molars.
7 to 12 years old
At this age your child knows what to do, but laziness is becoming a thing. Keep encouraging proper brushing and flossing habits. Parents should put emphasis on understanding self-care and accountability for their actions.
12 to 18 years old
This is the most critical time for dental health. Research shows: the teenage years and early adulthood is the second most common time to develop cavities. During this time parents start having less control over their children’s diet: sodas and sweets in schools, long school days can have a toll on their teeth enamel. Even though your kids might be very responsible and are able to take care of themselves, remind them of importance of having healthy oral hygiene. These habits will translate into their adulthood.
Timing Is Important
For younger kids, factor in their napping schedule when you plan their dental appointment. Kids might be cranky and not have the best experience with the dentist right after their nap.
Teenagers might not be up for a dental visit if it is after a long day of school and after school activities. You might want to schedule their appointment before school or during the weekend.
Hungry Child Is a Cranky Patient
Make sure your child has a light meal an hour before the appointment. If they have to get their cavities filled, it will be one less thing to worry about if they are not hungry during the appointment.
Parents, Don't be Anxious!
As a parent, you need to be aware how you are communicating with your child about the dental appointment and on the day of appointment. If you are being anxious, your child will feel that something scary will happen at the dentist, and it will make it harder for the dentist to do their job.
Also, you want them to feel accomplished and successful after a good visit. You should connect that positive feeling with the idea that their teeth are strong and healthy. Your kids will remember that message for the rest of their lives.
Keep Your Cool
It can happen that your child becomes upset during the dental visit. The worst thing you can do is take them out of the dental chair and leave. This might traumatize them even more and next visit won’t be a pleasant one either.
First, analyze why your child is upset. Ask yourself: is my child truly scared or just testing out the situation? Dental office is an unknown territory for any child, and they often feel like they are not in control and get scared. Our dentists have their way with kids and break down each action into small steps, involving the child with them and making them feel accomplished after each step.
Second, let the dentist lead the conversation and build a good relationship with your child. In the end of the day, pediatric dentists in Chicago at Archer Dental are pros at interacting with the little ones!