Despite what the Christmas carols say, back-to-school is “the most wonderful time of the year” for many parents! It’s a great time for getting kids back on schedule and building healthy habits.
Unfortunately, many children and teens will head back to school with untreated cavities. More than 51 million hours of school are missed each year because of childhood dental problems.
A dental checkup should be part of your back-to-school routine, just like visiting the pediatrician. Try to make it part of your late-summer rituals, along with shopping for backpacks and filling out paperwork from the school.
If you didn’t schedule your child’s dental checkup before Labor Day, this is a good time set up an appointment. In early fall, the distractions of school-year activities aren’t fully underway and preparing for the holidays isn’t occupying your time.
- Exams & Diagnosis: Your dental team will check for: tooth decay, bite problems that can develop over time, gum health, proper loss and eruption of baby and permanent teeth, indications of certain sleep disorders, and more. Digital x-rays may also be taken to look for cavities and check that the roots of the teeth are healthy.
- Prevention: The cleaning/exam schedule is crucial for kids and teens. This includes key components like professional cleaning, plaque removal and fluoride application. It’s also an opportunity to discuss options like dental sealants, which the CDC says “reduce decay in permanent molars by 81% approximately 2 years after placement and continue to be effective up to 4.5 years after placement.”
- Screening: An oral cancer screening with a VELscope is part of regular patient care at Future of Dentistry. Oral cancer has become more common among young people, partly because of HPV, so these exams are more important than ever. Ask us about a simple saliva testing that can help detect oral cancer before symptoms appear.
- Mouth guards: If you have a young athlete in the family, you’re probably thinking
about equipment for fall sports. Custom mouth guards are shown to be more effective than over-the-counter guards, including protecting against concussions. Future of Dentistry works with the “Grin and Wear It” program to make custom guards affordable for all families. To learn more, call our office and mention this newsletter.
- Teen Transitions: Many teens are old enough to visit the dentist’s office without you, but they still need help communicating how the appointment went. If your teen is in that in-between stage, ask us about the “Continuing Care Report.” They are like report cards for a teen’s visit. They show what services the patient received that day; his or her level for things like periodontal risk and plaque buildup; and any recommendations from our clinical staff.
- College Bound: Dental care often falls to the wayside when kids graduate high school. Whether they’re entering the workforce or heading to college, they’re focused on the many “firsts” in their new lives. A little reminder from mom or dad goes a long way! Help young adults maintain healthy habits by encouraging them to schedule regular appointments, especially planning ahead for semester breaks.
Did you ever build a house from playing cards when you were young? Think of dental health as a house of cards. If the foundation isn’t secure, the upper levels aren’t strong. Proper dental care and hygiene habits are the foundation for kids — start the school year off right!