Pediatric Dental Cleaning and Exam
Pediatric dentists work specifically with children. The qualified pediatric dentists at Austin Kids Teeth understand all the potential difficulties that could arise in your child when they come in for a dental cleaning and exam. Even in healthy children who have no fears of the dentist's chair, there are still situations that come up that make parents happy they chose a pediatric dentist. The dentists and staff at Austin Kids Teeth genuinely care about our young patients. We want to make children of all ages and needs feel comfortable in our office, and especially, we want to make sure their teeth, gums, and mouth stay healthy throughout their childhood.
Why Should a Child Get a Dental Exam?
Sometimes, you know when your child needs an exam. You look in your child's mouth and see something that isn't right. At Austin Kids Teeth, we regularly deal with loose teeth that won't fall out, missing teeth, extra teeth, and other dental surprises. However, there are things that can go badly wrong in your child's mouth that you won't be able to see. Some cavities start between the teeth and are impossible to see without a radiograph. Unusual eruption patterns in your child's mouth may be caused by impacted teeth that would go undetected without a kids' dental exam. It's a good idea for your child to get routine examinations, so we can catch surprises sooner rather than later.
How Often Should a Child Get a Teeth Cleaning and Exam?
The ADA and AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentists) recommend that children receive an examination and cleaning every six months. These organizations, as well as the APA (American Pediatricians Association), recommend that the first exam occurs when the first tooth erupts or by 12 months, whichever occurs first. This combination allows for proper screening for existing cavities and also allows for cavity prevention protocols. You will be educated on what to do in the case of a dental emergency or trauma. We also screen for abnormalities and other diseases and genetic disorders. Many general health issues can be manifested in the oral cavity.
What Happens in a Pediatric Dental Exam?
Depending on your child's age and personality, they are greeted and encouraged to hop up in the chair. If needed, a parent is allowed to sit in the chair also. This can be soothing for young or apprehensive children. The assistant will begin the appointment by reviewing the health history and determining the reason for the appointment. Then, the dentist will come into the room and perform the exam. There are many ways in which we try to coax your child into "opening wide" starting with positive reinforcement to full-on bribing. If this doesn't work, we determine if a lap-to-lap exam is necessary. This is a type of exam where the patient sits in the parent's lap and the parent and doctor sit knee to knee. The parent lies the patient onto the doctor's knees. The parent can then hold the child's body while the dentist gets a good look at the teeth. While this exam is a form of restraint, the parent is in control of restraining. Happily, many children don't actually need to be held down at all. Because of the novelty of the situation, many children allow an exam with no tears at all.
Is a Dental Cleaning the Same as a Dental Exam?
The exam is a "look and see." If your child is willing, we also clean his or her teeth with a rotary cleaning tool (also known as a "prophy") and remove any tartar buildup. In most cases, the exam is much more important than the cleaning.
How Long Does a Pediatric Dental Cleaning and Exam Take?
Most children do not have the ability to sit in a chair for longer than 30 minutes (if that). We schedule 30 minutes for a child teeth cleaning, but if there are circumstances that require longer than that, we can lengthen the appointment or reschedule for another day.
What is a Dental Check-Up?
Sometimes, we call the exam and cleaning appointment a dental check-up. The check-up includes an examination by the dentist and a cleaning. Fluoride varnish application and radiographs are applied when indicated.
Do You Take X-Rays of the Child's Mouth?
Yes, we call them radiographs. We have a specific radiograph protocol that is intended to minimize the exposure of your child to radiation. Not only do we have lead aprons with thyroid collars to protect your child's most radiation sensitive tissues, but we also limit the number of radiographs to the bare minimum. We work with you to help your child have a healthy mouth. If you have specific safety concerns, we can almost always modify our protocol as long as you understand how it limits our care.
How Much Does a Dental Cleaning and Exam Cost?
The cost varies from patient to patient based on the actual service performed and the insurance. We encourage you to call for an estimate based on your child and your insurance. We do offer discounts for those who are self-insured. We also participate with Care Credit.
Schedule Your Kids Dental Exam and Cleaning
The compassionate, caring staff at Austin Kids Teeth invite you to schedule your child's next exam and cleaning. We care for children of all ages, from infancy to the teenage years. Our equipment is specially designed to fit the needs of our young patients. Give us a call today, and we'll work together to keep your child's smile bright and healthy.