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Back-to-School Checkup

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Millions of children has started a new school year.  Most of the routine physical examination and visions tests have been done prior to new school year to help ensure that students are in good health before school begins. A dental examination is also as important as booster shots and should be part of back-to-school preparations. If you haven’t completed an examination it is recommended to schedule an appointment with your dentist for a regular dental checkup. Many parents and caregivers don’t realize that serious tooth decay is an infectious disease for which there is no immunization.

More than one-half of all children aged 5 to 9 years have at least one cavity of filling. A painful tooth or chronic dental problem can lead to difficulty in eating, speaking and concentrating.  Regular Dental checkups and preventive dental care, such as cleanings and fluoride treatment, provide children with ” smile” insurance. When examinations uncover issues can be treated in early stages when the consern is minimal and restorations can be small, but when the issue is missed of ignored than it can cause more damage and restorations can become bigger. Any preventive care helps treat painful conditions that can save money.

When necessary, radiographs ( commonly called “x-rays” ) are taken to see how the teeth are developing and to spot hidden decay. Because every child’s need are different,  your dentist is best able to suggest a schedule of visits for your child. The frequency of dental appointments will depend partly on the child’s eating habits, how clean the teeth are kept, past treatment needs, whether the child drinks fluoridated water, and other factors that can affect the likelihood of dental diseases.

  • Regular dental examinations to diagnose and treat or prevent dental problems. Your dentist may suggest sealants to prevent decay as an option for keeping teeth healthy. Dental sealant is a plastic material that the dentist applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth ( molars and premolars), and is a non invasive procedure with no drilling or local anaesthetic needed. Sealant form a barrier that protects teeth from plaque , a sticky film of acid-producing bacteria. Sealants hold up well on normal chewing and usually last several years before any reapplications is needed.
  • Your child may be due for a new toothbrush. It is recommended replacing toothbrushes every 3-4 months or sooner if bristles are worn. Children may be able to brush their teeth by the age of 7 years, and supervisions needed only if necessary. Floss is another difficult skill to master but needed. Flossing your child’s teeth until about 10 years, after which he or she should be able to floss under adult supervision.
  • Eating healthy lunches and snacks. Include portable healthy lunch items and snacks in your child’s sack lunch, including grains, milk, cheese, raw vegetables, yogurt or fruit. If your child eats in the school cafeteria, review healthy, balanced food choices with him before the first day of school. Cut back on sugary foods and soft drinks.
  • Many injuries that occur on the playground or sport related can be prevented or minimized if the child is wearing a fitted mouthguard. A mouthguard can be purchased at a sporting goods store or can be custom-made fitted by the dentist.

Written by Fotini Molnar

Dr. Fotini Molnar started her dental experience working as a dental assistant in a co-op program during high school. She went on to complete her Bachelor of Science, majoring in biotechnology at York University and then obtained her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Toronto. Prior to her career in dentistry, Dr. Molnar researched neuroblastoma at Sick Kids Hospital.
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