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Dental exam and x-ray frequency for children

When it comes to our children, it’s sometimes hard to appreciate the value of a routine dental examination, but an encounter we had last week with a five year old child reminds us just how important it is. It was our young patient’s first visit to our office, and we started with a cleaning and exam. On the surface, everything looked fine… no visible cavities, no broken teeth, and no history of pain; however, after our visual examination, we took a set of x-rays and discovered eight cavities between each of her back teeth.

As we began to discuss the concerns with the patient’s mother, we learned that the child routinely snacked on Oreos and milk after dinner. Even though she brushed before bedtime, the chronic exposure to sugar and perhaps ineffective hygiene technique led to the high number of cavities.

The good news is that the cavities are all on “baby teeth” and the teeth will all ultimately fall out. Unfortunately, at five years of age, our young patient will need these teeth until about age twelve, so it is critical that we have these teeth restored immediately.

The lesson to be learned here is that we cannot always tell how healthy teeth are by how they look or feel. We recommend that you bring your children in for an examination as soon as they have teeth so that we can review hygiene tips with the parents and inspect for early problems. X-rays should be taken by age three or four to evaluate those areas we cannot directly see or inspect, and cleanings and exams should occur at least annually depending upon the child’s risk factors. Lastly, it’s important to be aware of home care habits and dietary risks.  Your child should be brushing after meals and before bedtime every day; and, at an early age you should “inspect” their teeth after brushing to be certain they are doing an effective job.

If you have questions about this article, or if you are looking for a dentist in Winter Park, Florida, please call us at (407)644-2700 or visit our website.

Pediatric dental decay Dr Peter G. Lemieux

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