Starting a new school year is exciting for students and parents alike. Even though your child’s school may not require it, a back-to-school dental checkup can help ensure your child has a good school year. According to the American Dental Association, over 51 million school hours are missed each year by children because of dental disease. A checkup at the beginning of the school year will identify potential problems so they can be eliminated before they develop into painful situations.
Georgia law requires dental examinations for any new student of any age entering the public school system. The examination is meant to identify tooth decay-related problems or “any other condition that interferes with a student’s ability to chew, speak or focus on school activities.” Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease found in school-aged children. Early intervention prevents missed school days, not to mention the pain and discomfort a diseased tooth can cause.
What to Expect
If you are new to the back-to-school dental visit, do not be alarmed. It is basically the same as any other dental checkup. It consists of a thorough oral examination and teeth cleaning. Schools do not usually require x-rays; however, your dentist may take them to take a look at what is happening beneath the gums. Dental x-rays can reveal the extent of any tooth decay and show any other problems that may be happening in the bone and with developing teeth below the surface.
Questions You May Want to Ask
You may have questions about your child’s oral health. If you think of them before the visit, be sure to write them down. In general, you can expect that your child’s teeth will be cleaned as well as examined. You may want to ask about x-rays since they are not needed at every visit.
If your child plays sports, you may want to ask about a mouthguard. Bring the mouthguard if your child has one. Your dentist can check to make sure it still fits properly. Changes in the mouth, such as losing teeth and getting new ones, can change the fit of the mouthguard and a new one might be needed.
Along with brushing and flossing properly, another big help in keeping cavities at bay is the application of dental sealants. The sealant is a thin coating of polymer that is placed on the chewing surface of the back teeth. These teeth usually have deep grooves and fissures that can trap bacteria and food particles. This can lead to tooth decay. The sealants prevent this from happening.
Dental sealants can reduce the risk of dental decay by as much as 80%. For this reason, you may want to ask your dentist about sealants and if they would recommend them for your child.
At Jefferson Dental Care, we are dedicated to helping your entire family attain and maintain optimal oral health. Make an appointment with us today and get your students ready for good year back at school.
Posted on behalf of Jefferson Dental Care