Exams & Cleanings

girl sitting in a park smiling

Exams and cleanings are the cornerstone of your child’s dental health. While you and your child are performing daily oral hygiene and establishing a healthy diet, it’s these check ins with Dr. Hester that allow you to touch base on oral health and prevent cavities and other concerns.

We’re always happy to answer any questions you might have about your child’s teeth – never hesitate to get in touch.

What to Expect From Your Child’s Exam & Cleaning

The steps of your child’s exam will vary depending on their age range. Our office is a dedicated pediatric dental practice, so everything about our practice is geared toward children of all ages.

Exams for Patients Between 6 Months to 1 Year Old

Dr. Hester will either ask that you hold your child on your lap during their exam, or will place your child on an exam table or chair. During the exam, our team will:

  • Evaluate your child’s dental health, how their diet and habits affect their teeth, and any potential for cavities
  • Remove any stains or plaque from teeth with a wet toothbrush or cloth
  • Show how to properly clean your child’s teeth and answer any questions about their oral hygiene
  • Identify how much fluoride your child is getting and apply a topical fluoride treatment or provide a supplement if necessary
  • Ensure there are no sores or concerning bumps inside the mouth
  • Check that the use of a pacifier or thumb sucking aren’t impacting tooth development

Exams for Patients Over 1 Year Old

These exam steps will be similar to those of an adult dental exam. The overall goal is to determine oral health and make recommendations related to oral hygiene and diet as needed to prevent cavities.

  • Take x-rays to identify cavities and/or tooth/jaw development concerns
  • Apply sealants as needed to protect the molars
  • Treat cavities
  • Identify issues with bite and recommend an orthodontist if necessary
  • Talk to you and your child about harmful habits like thumb sucking, clenching or nail biting
  • Create a mouth guard if your child plays contact sports

Pediatric Dental Exam FAQ

When should my child start seeing the dentist?

Your child should start seeing the dentist by the time their first tooth erupts, or by their first birthday. This is the best way to ensure that their teeth are developing and erupting properly, and provide them with the proper care.

H0w often should my child have dental exams?

Children should typically have dental exams every 6 months. This is a short enough window that our team can address plaque buildup, small cavities and other issues before they become more serious. Children with a higher risk of tooth decay or other problems may benefit from visiting more often than 6 months, and children with consistently healthy teeth may be able to visit less often. Dr. Hester will let you know what he recommends for your child.

How often does my child need x-rays?

X-rays are crucial tools in evaluating tooth health and tooth and jaw development. Dr. Hester will discuss how often x-rays are necessary for your child based on their age, dental health and risk factors. X-rays typically aren’t needed at every exam. Although radiation exposure from x-rays is low, we prioritize only taking them when absolutely necessary and follow all precautions.

How can I help my child feel comfortable going to the dentist’s?

Many kids can feel anxious about going to the doctor’s or the dentist’s because the environments are unfamiliar and they fear having to get a shot, or having a cavity. Talking to your child about the positive components of dental care will help. Emphasize that going to the dentist keeps their teeth healthy so that they feel their best. Tell them about what you’ve gained from your own dental appointments as well.

Because we are a pediatric practice, we are well-versed in child-oriented care and will do everything possible to put your child at ease in the dental chair.