Back to school should also mean getting your kids back to a dentist. You want to make sure you are setting them up for success and ensuring there are no potential issues that can interfere with your child in the classroom.
“One of the worst things I can hear as a pediatric dentist is you giving me a call after school has started, telling me your child is in pain…that their tooth is hurting and they have not been able to focus at school,” says Dr. Lela Farmer, lead pediatric dentist at Scuba Smiles for Kids in north central San Antonio.
So what can you do to keep a dental disaster from hitting your child in the middle of the school year?
5 Steps For Back to School Smiles for Your Children
We recommend five steps you should consider taking as a parent in order to help your child achieve a strong foundation of oral hygiene throughout the year.
Number one, call your dentist and set up an appointment. Be sure to ask about new safety procedures that may be in place because of Covid-19. You may be asked questions about family health, and your dentist should tell you about any special visitation precautions that are in place.
“We’re committed to the safety and comfort of everyone at Scuba Smiles, and we have enhanced our safety procedures in order to meet the current threat of the Covid-19 virus. We want to make every visit a great visit.” said Dr. Farmer.
The dentist may be using PPE or other safety garments that can make them look like aliens from another planet in the eyes of a small child! It’s important to talk to your child and tell them what to expect during their visit. Remember, easing your child’s fears and reassuring them will make for a successful visit.
Second, there are key questions to consider asking your dentist about your child’s overall dental health. Are their teeth coming in the way they should be or could there be development issues you need to monitor, and perhaps, reach out to an orthodontist for consultation? Be sure to ask about their gum health and whether your child’s bite is as it should be.
Make sure a teeth cleaning is part of your appointment. Even if your child is a superstar brusher and brushing and flossing twice a day, a professional cleaning is essential to good dental health. “After all the candy and ice cream that kids invariably eat over a summer, this is a perfect time to get that professional cleaning which can remove hidden stains, plaque build-up and harmful bacteria,” said Dr. Farmer.
It may be important to get an X-ray. This is so you and your dentist can get a complete picture of your child’s mouth. X-rays can reveal tooth decay which can develop and spread quickly. X-rays can give a great picture of your child’s teeth below the gum line and your dentist can see how healthy the teeth roots are as your child’s teeth develop.
Third, have a blossoming athlete in the family? As school starts, so does the athletic season. Now is the perfect time to bring your child to a dentist for mouth guard fitting. A mouth guard can single handedly save the teeth of a child if they were to experience a traumatic blow to the mouth. If your child already has a sports guard and their teeth have grown or shifted, it might be time to get their mouth guard updated. “When it comes to mouth guards, if it doesn’t fit right, it won’t do its job protecting your child’s teeth. Be sure to bring it with you to the dentist, so we can make sure it will work for your athlete all season.” said Dr. Farmer.
Fourth, don’t forget to ask about sealants, which are another great way to prevent cavities. Sealants are not a substitute for brushing and flossing. “Sealants are a fantastic protective strategy and putting a sealant on is easy and painless,” said Dr. Farmer. That additional coating of material is another wonderful tool in your child’s cavity-fighting toolbox.
Fifth, this is also a great time for a dentist to show your child how to properly brush and how to floss. There are techniques you want your children to master. The better their dental habits are now, the better their dental health will be for years to come.
The team at Scuba Smiles for Kids understands that these are unusual times and that additional safety precautions are needed to keep you and your child safe. We also know that bright smiles and healthy teeth can help ensure a successful school year. So be sure to get that back to school appointment for your child. Scuba Smiles for Kids is here to make sure you and your child are smiling bright all the way to the classroom!