Questions to Ask If Your Child Missed a Dental Checkup

Questions to Ask If Your Child Missed a Dental Checkup
Posted on 08/10/2020
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Did your child miss their last dental checkup? If you're not sure whether to reschedule the appointment right now or wait until later, take a look at the questions to ask.

Is Your Child in Pain?

Regular office visits give the dentist the chance to check your child's teeth and find potential problems. But if your family skips a visit, the dentist can't diagnose a would-be issue before it grows from minor to major.

If your child has tooth, gum, or general mouth pain, they need to see the dentist as soon as possible. While dental pain doesn't always equal a serious problem, the dentist needs to evaluate any oral issue. The possible causes of your child's mouth pain could include:

  • Dental decay. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20 percent of children between 5 and 11 years of age have one or more untreated area of dental decay. Without proper care, dental decay (cavities) can cause pain or a serious oral infection.
  • Damage. While you might immediately notice a cracked or chipped tooth in your own mouth, your child may not (or may not say anything about the damage). Like decay, dental damage also requires in-office treatment.
  • Gum disease. Dental decay isn't the only thing that can cause mouth pain in children. If your child's gums are tender, swollen, or red, they may have periodontal disease. Again, like with other oral issues, this requires a dentist's diagnosis and treatment.

Even though over-the-counter medications may dull the pain, these aren't a substitute for a dentist's exam. Whether your child won't eat, has trouble talking, or tells you their mouth hurts, don't delay in-person dental treatment.

When Was Your Child's Last Dental Exam?

Your child should start a regular dental visit routine when their first tooth appears or after they turn one. After their first appointment, your child should see the dentist every six months. Some children may need to visit the office more often, depending on their dental history and health.

Your child needs to catch up on their checkup schedule if:

  • They've missed multiple appointments. If you can't remember the last time your child went to the dentist's office or they've missed more than one appointment, it's time to schedule an in-person checkup.
  • They have other oral issues. Again, some children need to visit the dentist more than every six months. Dental decay, gum disease, and other existing issues add to the importance of regular dental visits.
  • It's time for their next appointment. Did your child miss their visit six months ago? If another six months have gone by, you can get their schedule back on track now.

If you're not sure when your child's last dental appointment was, contact the office as soon as possible. The office staff can look up their last visit and help you schedule their next checkup.

Does Your Child Need Dental Hygiene Help?

Your child should brush their teeth for at least two minutes twice a day. Even though this may sound like a simple task, for a child oral hygiene can pose a challenge. Spotty at-home dental hygiene increases the importance of in-office visits. If your child recently missed an appointment you need to schedule a visit to:

  • Educate your child. Does your child know the right way to brush or floss? Do they understand the importance of at-home oral hygiene? While you can inform your child, the dentist can provide a higher level of education.
  • Check their hygiene habits. Your child may brush twice daily. But do they brush well? The dentist can assess your child's ability to brush and how well they take care of their teeth.
  • Learn about the right products. The dentist can provide you with information on the best oral care products for your child during a regular visit.

Regular dental visits also include a professional-level cleaning. This complements your child's at-home healthy-mouth routine.

Does your child need an office appointment? Contact Treasured Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, LTD, for more information.