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Dental checkups should be on every kid’s back-to-school checklist.

What with the potential for pain, eating and speech difficulties, it’s no wonder that children miss an estimated 51 million school hours a year because of dental issues. That’s why it’s so important that a dentist appointment for your child be part of your back-to-school regimen. Here are some strategies (and extra videos) to ensure both you and your kids are on track.

Plan Ahead – Way Ahead

How many people have you heard say, “the summer is just flying by”. Before you know it, the first day of school looms large. If in mid-August, the thought suddenly occurs to you to dial your dentist, the answer on the other end may be, “sorry, we are so-o-o booked.”

Our advice is to make the appointment early, say, right after the end of school in June. That way, there’ll be no rush, plenty of time for preparing your child for the visit, and less fighting the crowd to make an appointment at a convenient time.

Back To School Dental Exam Checklist | Anastasia Turchetta

Health empowerment conversationalist a.k.a. public speaker, Anastasia Turchetta, gives you her take on the best way to get your kid to the dentist without a major breakdown.

Doing The Right Thing

Brushing twice a day — regular flossing — tongue cleaning — establishing proper dental habits — they all help avoid cruel surprises, like cavities and gum disease, at that back-to-school appointment.

As a parent, your approach to encouraging good hygiene habits is so important. For young children, try to participate at the sink, and make it a fun experience. The more enjoyable it is for the child, the better good habits are engrained. As kids grow older and assume more responsibility for themselves, it will become easier on you. Teens, though, can be more difficult — so, yes, it’s important to encourage good habits, but not to “nag” — try to take a more subtle approach.

Ask The Expert: Back To School Dentist Visit | WTMJ-TV Milwaukee

A local Milwaukee dentist gives his take on setting up the proper back-to-school dental experience for kids.

7 Back-To-School Dental Visit Pointers

  1. Make sure your child gets a great night’s sleep before the appointment. This will avoid grumpiness and negative feelings the morning of.
  2. Try to make sure your kid is not hungry before your appointment. However, feeding a child a snack in the dental office is not a good idea — food particles make it much harder for the dentist and hygienist to do a good job, even with gargling and such. Note: If your child has a strong gagging reflex, it’s probably better to make the meal prior to the appointment a light one and stretch the time before the appointment.
  3. Sitting in the dental chair often takes some concentration and an ability to relax. So, if possible, avoid scheduling an appointment right after activities you know will require energy, i.e., make your child tired. This is not always possible, but do your best to think ahead.
  4. Plan to be on time for your child’s dental appointment. It demonstrates good manners, avoids conflict and is considerate of other patients. Also, your dentist will most likely require protective masks for your visit. Make sure you take one along for yourself and each visitor you bring, and then some extras.
  5. As the parent of a young child, it is understandable to be nervous, yourself, as you walk into the dental office. Best to contain those feelings since they are contagious, and put on your best, most loving face. Trust in your your dentist and hygienist to instill confidence and comfort in your child — after all, they do this all day long!
  6. If you are bringing more than one child to the dentist on the same day, let the more “amenable” one get into the chair first. This will offer a good example to the more “anxious” one. Note: This is assuming there is a more anxious one — most children don’t mind the experience!
  7. If your child acts up, try to remain calm and get through the moment. Enough said.

A Dentist Visits My School | NYUDental

A typical school kid describes his experience when a dentist visits his class to provide free checkups.

The Bottom Line On Back-To-School Dental Visits

Proper dental care is so critical to child growth and development, and to ensure minor problems don’t turn into major ones. Do what you can to make your child’s dental visit a smooth ride, and contact us with any questions you may have. We are there for you!

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