Back to School

The pools have closed, days are getting shorter, and summer is officially coming to an end. Up next? Back to to school season! You probably have a laundry list of things you need to take care of; school supply shopping, signing the kids up for fall t-ball, picking the perfect picture day outfit, coordinating school drop off and pick up, the list goes on and on. One thing you don’t want to forget to add to the list is scheduling those back-to-school dental checkups for the kids!

You want to make sure you get your appointments scheduled sooner than later because as the school year continues, life will inevitably just continue to get busier and crazier. Homework, sports schedules, after school activities, not to mention school itself! Children miss more than 51 million hours of school each year simply for the purpose of needing dental care (American Dental Association, 2023)! Scheduling your dental checkups will allow you the chance to cross one more thing off your list and prioritize your child’s oral health. Willow Springs Dental has everything you need to know about back-to-school dental checkups and keeping up with your child’s dental health throughout the year.

What Will My Child’s Back-to-School Checkup Look Like?

Back-to-school dental checkups can vary depending on each patient and what their specific needs are. It will also depend on the last time the child has had a dental appointment and what treatments they received. Generally, there are a few different treatments that can be done during these appointments, let’s take a deeper look!

Professional Exam and Cleaning: When you bring your child in for their back-to-school dental checkup we perform a cleaning and an exam to really focus on getting a thorough cleaning, reaching all of the nooks and crannies that may be hard to reach when cleaning at home. We also perform an exam to get a general idea of where your child’s oral health is at, or if there are any immediate glaring issues.

X-rays: When needed, we will conduct x-rays during the checkup to get a better visual understanding of what’s going on in your child’s mouth, especially in regard to places we are unable to see from just a visual examination. X-rays allow us the ability to identify cavities in their earliest stages, as well as monitor and assess orofacial development and diagnose cysts and other potential problems.

Protective Sealants: Protective dental sealants are extremely common in our back-to-school checkups. 42% of children ages 2 – 11 develop cavities in their baby teeth, and 21% of children 6 – 11 develop cavities in their permanent teeth (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 2023). To avoid the dental damage, and let’s be frank, inconvenience, of cavities, protective sealants are often used. Sealants are smooth, clear coatings that fit into grooves in the molars to help block out germs and bacteria that cause cavities, as well as making them easier to clean!

Fillings: If and when a child does get a cavity, (perhaps from one too many sweet treats from the ice cream truck) it’s critical to seek treatment as soon as possible so the decay doesn’t spread to other nearby teeth. At Willow Springs dental, we use white fillings to replace where the area of decay previously was and to prevent it from expanding deeper in the tooth.

Crowns and Pulp Treatments: When a child’s baby tooth becomes damaged, we often place a crown over the tooth to help it stay in place for as long as possible. Pulp capping is often referred to as the pediatric version of a root canal treatment.

Extractions and Space Maintainers: Teeth that have been severely decayed or are unable to be restored are more often than not extracted in order to prevent the spread of infection, as well as eliminating the pain it causes to your little one. If the tooth we extract is a baby tooth, we insert a space maintenance device to help prevent any spacing issues while waiting for the permanent adult tooth to come in.

At-Home Preventative Dental Care

At your child’s back-to-school checkup we will always take time to answer any questions or concerns you may have, as well as review how to maintain your oral health while at home. At Willow Springs Dental we like to make it a point to educate you and your child on how to best take care of their oral health in between dental checkups. If you ever attend a dentist’s office for a checkup and they don’t allow time for you to ask questions and thoroughly understand where your child’s oral health is at, we recommend advocating for yourself and asking the five questions recommended by the American Dental Association:

  1. How is my child’s overall dental health?
  2. Will my child get a cleaning today?
  3. Does my child need an x-ray?
  4. Can you check my child’s mouth guard?
  5. Should my child get sealants?

As far as maintaining your child’s oral health at home, we suggest taking some time to look at your child’s dental health routine, identifying areas that can use some improvement or perhaps add in a few habits. Over time, it’s easy to start slipping on your oral care routine, so making a point to tweak your child’s routine over time is a great idea to keep them on track! Here’s a few things we recommend taking a look at when refreshing your child’s at-home, dental health routine!

  • Ensure they’re brushing their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time!
  • Floss every day. We know, flossing isn’t exactly a fan favorite, but it’s critical in removing debris a toothbrush can’t reach!
  • Replace their toothbrush! Then mark your calendar to replace it again in 3 to 6 months. (If you forget to mark the date, no worries, when the bristles on the toothbrush begin to look worn out, that’s a good indication it’s time for a new one!)
  • Use a mouthwash with fluoride to rid their mouths of bacteria and strengthen their teeth.

Scheduling Your Back-to-school Dental Checkups in Las Vegas

When looking to get your children’s back-to-school dental checkups scheduled, look no further than Willow Springs Dental. Our team is the most talented and caring in the Las Vegas area, always making sure to provide quality care with gentleness and empathy. Give us a call at (702)867-2745 or schedule an appointment online today!