A traditional pediatric dental cleaning has many steps. As pediatric dentists, we are used to getting hundreds of questions a day from our curious patients as kids are often really interested in knowing what all of our dental instruments do and what the steps of a dental cleaning are. In fact, for many kids, understanding the steps of a dental cleaning procedure is both fun and a comforting way to deal with any fear of the dentist. If you have a curious kid at home, or you are curious yourself, we wanted to write a quick guide of what your kid can expect at their bi-yearly cleaning.
As the name suggests, the main goal of a routine dental cleaning is to clean your child’s teeth. A dental hygienist will help brush and floss your son or daughter’s teeth. During this time, the hygienist is looking to make sure your kid’s teeth and gums are healthy and helping your child understand ways that they may be able to improve their brushing & flossing at home. Aside from using a toothbrush and floss, a hygienist will also use a scraper that looks like a metal hook. This scraper is a special dental tool that can remove plaque that is stuck on the teeth. Plaque often cannot be removed with brushing and flossing, and it can cause cavities if it stays for too long. This is one of the reasons kids and parents need to go to the dentist twice a year.
Kids will often get dental x-rays once a year or every other dental appointment. During dental x-rays, your child will wear a heavy vest and be told to bite down on spacers that give the dentist the best look at all of their teeth. X-rays can be used both for noticing cavities and for tracking how your adult teeth are coming in over time.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in the ground and it can make teeth and bones stronger. Fluoride can come in either a gel or a foam that is placed over the teeth. When your child gets a coating of fluoride on your teeth, the hygienist will recommend that your child wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking so the fluoride has time to make your child’s teeth stronger.
After working with the dental hygienist, your child will get to sit down with the dentist. The dentist will look over your child’s x-rays and check their teeth and their bite to see if the teeth are properly aligned. If there is an issue with teeth alignment, you may need to visit an orthodontist to discuss braces. After meeting with the dentist, you and your child will get a bag with floss, a new toothbrush, and maybe even some stickers. If there is an issue with cavities or another dental problem, you may need to schedule a second appointment to handle the issue.
For families in the Greater Boston area, you can easily schedule a dental appointment with our hygienists and dentist in Revere, Massachusetts. We are dedicated to making dental cleaning a fun appointment for your little ones. For more information please contact us.