Many studies already reveal that poor dental health among children doesn’t just lead to cavities. In a 2012 study by the University of Southern California, this health problem was associated with lower grades and missed schools.
In 2008, the Academy of General Dentistry pointed out that premature teeth loss could impact dental health once the kids get older.
Children also need to see their dentists regularly, but it can be challenging to do so.
But First, When Is the Best Time to See a Pediatric Dentist?
Some parents may bring their kids to the dentist for the first time when they begin complaining about a toothache or starting to develop cavities. However, the ideal time to see a pediatric or a family dentist is usually way earlier than that.
Based on the guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the initial appointment can be during the first year of the child or within 6 months after the first tooth erupted. That means before they even celebrate their second birthday, they should have met with a dentist at least once.
Then, children, like adults, may need to see their dentist every six months. In certain situations, it may be more often. For example, a 2011 research by the University of Sweden cited that premature babies may have smaller teeth than full-term ones. These individuals may need more monitoring.
The same goes for children with special needs. In 2010, the Academy of General Dentistry revealed that kids with different diets and behavior, even medications, may be at risk of developing oral disease early. Thus, more frequent visits to the dentist can help spot problems before they get worse.
How to Prep for the Visit in This Pandemic
Now, let’s get to the core of the topic: how do you and your child prepare to see a dentist in this pandemic? Consider the following:
- Know Your State’s and Dental Clinic Guidelines
So far, more state economies are opening. If you’re living in Utah, you are more likely to book a visit with a kid’s dentist with more ease. By April, too, the Beehive State has already lifted its mask mandate.
Note, though, that some clinics may require you and the child to wear one during the appointment. This is to continue safety precautions for you, the other patients, and the clinic staff. You may also take note of the other common rules:
- Make an appointment. Some clinics may still not allow walk-in patients. This way, it can still comply with social distancing guidelines.
- Wait in the parking lot. Even if it’s already your child’s schedule, you may still need to wait before you can be accommodated inside. The clinic may ask you to stay in the car until they and the child call you inside.
- Let them take care of your child. Some clinics may be small that they may still not accommodate everyone in their reception area even if they already limit their patients for the day. In this case, it may advise you to stay in the car while the child goes inside.
- Prep the Child for the Visit
The fear of dentists is real, and it can happen even if the child hasn’t experienced a checkup before. Parents play a huge role in alleviating this worry.
In a 2012 research, parents can actually pass on the same fear to their children, especially the father. However, in an earlier study, moms and dads who regularly visit their dentist are also more likely to encourage their kids to follow suit.
Simply put, parents can help kids improve their mindset about dental appointments. You may accompany your child during visits or share positive experiences when you met with your dentist. Talk about how you once had a searing toothache, which your dentist helped treat.
You can also both sit down and watch YouTube videos of dentists explaining certain processes or treating other children.
- Consider an Initial Consultation through Telehealth
Telehealth can be just as effective in managing dental problems, based on a 2020 study in BDJ. In a survey, patients reported over 90 percent satisfaction in both virtual clinic and telephone consultations.
Note, though, that telehealth is more ideal for non-emergency cases. Nevertheless, parents can explore this as a step before the actual dental visit. This way, the child spends less time in the clinic and will be more familiar or even more comfortable with their doctor.
The consequences of poor dental hygiene during childhood can be significant. Thus, bring your child for their first dental checkup as soon as you can.
Meta title: Bring Your Child Confidently to a Dentist in This Pandemic
meta desc: Children also need to see their dentists regularly, but in this pandemic, it can be more challenging. To help you, consider these three essential tips.