It can be easy to let your kids’ dental appointments fall to the wayside. There are certain systems that ensure that your child stays regularly vaccinated or gets their yearly physicals. Most public schools require certain vaccination records before a child is enrolled in school; if your child wants to join a sports team, they’re often required to get a physical exam first.
But there aren’t as many safeguards in place to ensure that you remember to take your child to see the dentist. For that matter, it can be easy for parents to assume that their children’s teeth are okay as long as they aren’t complaining of tooth pain. Life is busy. We understand why it might be easy to put off an appointment or to rationalize that a yearly checkup can take the place of a six-month checkup.
According to the AAPD, kids and teens should see pediatric dentists every six months for their regular checkups. A typical checkup will typically include an exam, cleaning, fluoride treatment, and X-rays (if they’re needed). While you may think that less-frequent checkups are just as effective, you could be putting your child at risk for a lot of different problems. Below are some of the reasons why you should make sure that your child doesn’t miss any dental checkups.
Many children report having fears of seeing dental care professionals. While some anxieties are natural, others are due to the fact that children don’t see their dentists enough to develop a proper rapport with them. This can lead to difficult, upsetting appointments as well as discomfort that prevents your child from being honest with their dentists about any pain they may be feeling. Indeed, children can become so afraid of the dentist that they won’t even tell their parents when they’re feeling tooth discomfort, which can result in small issues spiraling out of control. Consistent dental appointments will help children build a routine that will leave them much more comfortable with dental care professionals.
Although cavities may seem to be minor issues that can be remedied with a quick tooth filling, they need to be taken seriously and addressed immediately. The reality is that cavities are caused by tooth decay, which is progressive. This means that tooth decay will continue to develop if left untreated, which could lead to necessary teeth removal if the cavity has progressed a point wherein a filling will no longer suffice. Therefore, a routine problem will devolve into a major one. Cavities could lead to more serious problems and will cause issues like pain and bad breath while your children are waiting on their next appointments. Routine visits to the dental office will ensure that cavities are properly prevented and treated quickly when they do develop.
There are a lot of reasons why your children may damage their teeth. They could be playing around and damage a back molar, which would be difficult for them or you to see. Sometimes, tooth damage is internal or causes pain that is in the moment minor or momentary. Therefore, it goes unaddressed until the next visit to a dental practice. When visits are regular, dental care professionals catch this damage in a timely manner and can move to address it. When appointments are more spread out, a broken or damaged tooth can progress into a more serious problem. A common complication of tooth damage is an abscess, during which a tooth and the surrounding tissue can become infected. In serious cases, this could lead to the infection reaching the blood, causing fevers and other illnesses.
Every parent wants to take care of their children to the best of their abilities. You aren’t a bad parent because you’ve forgotten a dental appointment or because you haven’t consistently consulted with dental care professionals. But it is a problem that needs to be addressed and can only be remedied through more consistency and dental checkups every six months. Get into a routine with your kids and treat their dental appointments the same way that you would treat their regular doctors’ appointments. Don’t put them off.