Trips to the dentist are extremely important for kids and teens. Although adults should be going to the dentist regularly, it is even more important for children because their teeth are continuing to develop. Working with a pediatric dentist can ensure that your child transitions from primary teeth to adult teeth easily and that they do not develop dental issues like dental decay, cavities, gum disease, and more. But many parents have questions about when to schedule appointments, how often to schedule, and the right times of year to schedule.
One of the most common questions new parents ask about the dentist is when to bring their babies for their very first visit. You should have your child come for their first visit as soon as the first teeth begin to come in. Dentists that specialize in treating babies and children can use this time to check and make sure teeth are coming in correctly and give you advice and tips on how to take care of your child’s teeth until they are old enough to manage the techniques themselves. By setting up regular appointments with the same dentist, your dental provider can keep a record and track your child’s unique dental progress. The rule of thumb is to schedule the first appointment between six months and one year.
It is almost universally accepted in America that children should visit the dentist twice a year. Kids should see a dentist every six months and should get dental x-rays every 12 months. By taking x-rays, your child’s dentist can make sure that teeth are properly lined up in the gum line so that they can emerge correctly. X-rays also show signs of tooth decay that are above the gumline which is very important for dentists to see.
There are a few schools of thought when deciding at what point in the year you should schedule your children for regular cleanings. Generally, many parents try and schedule around the two breaks that happen in the school year: summer and holiday break. This ensures that your children do not miss any educational time to have their teeth checked. However, because this is so common, you need to schedule far in advance. Plus, if your child needs extra work like getting dental fillings, they will need to come back in a few weeks. So, it may make more sense to schedule appointments at the beginning of the breaks instead of the end of the breaks. However, some parents choose to schedule their children in the middle of the fall and spring because it is far enough from the beginning of the school year but also well before testing that will happen at the end of the school year. Whatever you decide, make sure to schedule every six months and to schedule far in advance.
For parents in the Chicago area, our team of dental experts is happy to help you schedule appointments that work with your insurance. Set up an appointment through our online form or by contacting any of our five offices.