Does My Child Really Need a Checkup?
Dental checkups are important!
You probably expect to hear that from your dental healthcare providers, but we’d love to invite you to move past the eye-roll and take a look at some of the value and benefits of consistent checkups for both kids and adults.
Two main things happen at a routine dental checkup:
- Teeth cleaning.
- An oral exam.
The cleaning part is pretty straightforward, and the benefits are about the same for both adults and kids. Basically, the dentist or hygienist removes the tartar and plaque buildup from the hard-to-reach places in your teeth. (Even the best of us need this. The most dedicated tooth-brusher and flosser can’t get everything: your mouth is too full of crevices and surfaces.) Often the cleaning is followed by polishing or sealing that fortifies your teeth against attack from bacteria.
The oral exam part is where things get a little different for adults and children.
For children, dental checkups monitor several things:
- The development of their jaw and bite. Children’s mouths are constantly growing: both in their jaw and bone structure, as well as the cycle of gaining and losing and re-growing teeth. Regular dental appointments allow your dentist to keep tabs on the shifts taking place and make sure that interventions that could prevent issues and expenses further down the road happen sooner rather than later.
- The overall health of teeth. This is where the X-rays come in. X-rays show the dentist where the enamel is compromised or weakening and allows for preventative measures to be put into effect in order to avoid cavity development.
- The tongue and gums. Tongue sores or gum irregularities can indicate vitamin deficiencies or gum disease. If these symptoms are noted early, treatment is often simple and undisruptive.
Bonus: since kids learn best from example and habit, going to the dentist regularly as children can help them prioritize and practice good oral health for life!
For adults, the part about overall tooth health and checking for gum disease holds true. In addition to that, at an adult checkup your dentist is:
- Screening for oral cancer. Early signs of oral cancer often show up in the throat, lips, or mouth, and consistent dental visits allow your dentist to notice even subtle changes that could identify an issue early on.
- Monitoring the effectiveness and durability of prior fillings and crowns you may have. Just making sure there are no chips, cracks, or gaps that would lead to issues or complications!
- Observing connections to your whole-body health. This might be interesting or surprising to you, but neglecting oral health can be a symptom of other more serious life challenges such as depression, dementia, stress, or substance abuse. So a conversation about changes in oral healthcare habits can lead to other healthy and necessary topics about life health.
So…are dental checkups important? Yes! We believe they are a key part of lifelong health habits. (Also: we love our patients, so we’re always excited to see you at the office!)