With the new school year right around the corner, it’s time to start checking items off your child’s back-to-school schedule. It’s time to buy new planners and folders, update their backpack and lunchbox, and purchase a new wardrobe to impress their friends. But most importantly, it’s time for your child’s back-to-school dental exam.
Beginning the school year with a clean slate for your child’s teeth may seem like an unnecessary step in your school plans. It’s just one more thing to do, and your child may have already had a dental checkup with their pediatric dentist earlier in the year. However, we guarantee that scheduling a back-to-school dental appointment is something you should take care of.

Why Should You Have a Back-to-School Dental Exam?

While a back-to-school dental exam should be performed as part of your child’s regular 6-month dental checkups, there are a few other notable reasons why you would want to schedule their appointment during this time.

Cavity Prevention

Cavities are decayed areas of the tooth that develop into holes and pits. Cavities may result in tooth pain, infection, and tooth loss within the mouth, but may lead to serious brain and heart infections as well. Over half of children aged 6 to 8 develop a cavity in their baby teeth and more than half of adolescents aged 12 to 19 will have a cavity within their permanent teeth. These chilling statistics make cavities the most common chronic disease found in children.

Having regular dental checkups can help to detect dental diseases like cavities. By thoroughly examining and cleaning your child’s mouth, your dentist will be able to clear away tartar and plaque that lead to tooth decay. Patients that frequently undergo cleanings are less likely to develop cavities, meaning that getting your teeth cleaned before school starts can go a long way to preventing future problems.

Detecting Problems Early

A dental appointment also helps to detect both dental problems and general problems within your child’s body. Your child’s oral health is closely linked to their overall health, and infections or markings within their mouth can either contribute to or signal other infections like leukemia or diabetes.

It is important to take your child’s dental health seriously, as delaying their dental checkups may contribute to missing an important diagnosis.

Avoid Absences at School

Did you know that an estimated 51 million school hours are lost every year due to tooth problems and dental-related illnesses? Children will typically miss 6 days of school per year, with 2.1 of those days being related to an oral health problem. Scheduling their dental checkup to occur before school begins can help to prevent these problems.

Schedule an appointment before school starts also helps with scheduling conflicts. You won’t have to worry about pulling your child out of school in the middle of the day or rushing to get to the dentist’s office after the school bell rings.

Fresh Smiles

Everyone wants a fresh and shiny smile for their first day and back-to-school dental exams are the surefire way to achieve that. Your child will walk out of the office with a healthy smile that’s perfect for pictures and meeting new friends.

The Dental Exam

During your dental visit, your child’s dentist will complete thorough teeth cleaning. Dental hygienists will typically scrape away any plaque or tartar that has hardened to their teeth, preventing cavity growth.

Your child will undergo a complete dental care examination where the dentist will check on their teeth, gums, and bite and tooth alignment. They will also examine your child’s permanent molars if your child is over the age of 6 and they have grown in.

Your child may also receive fluoride treatments to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride helps protect against demineralization, keeping teeth safe from cavities and tooth decay.


Depending on their risk for dental issues, it is recommended that your child undergo dental x-rays every 6 months. This x-ray will examine the teeth, tooth roots, jaw, and bone position to ensure everything is developing properly.

Through the use of dental x-rays, dentists are able to diagnose problems in your child’s teeth and create a treatment guide.

Dental Device Check

If your child plays sports, we recommend bringing your child’s mouth guard to the appointment so that your dentist can check to make sure it is still in good shape. You should be cleaning these dental appliances at home, but bringing them to the dentist is a great way to give them a professional cleaning.

If your child has a retainer, we also suggest bringing it to the dentist for a professional cleaning and assessment. Due to your child’s growth, your dentist may see it necessary to refit them for the dental appliance.

Dental Health Review

While you are at your child’s appointment, ask your dentist for a thorough dental health review. Ask them what you can do to make sure your child develops and keeps healthy habits during school.

This includes teaching your children how to properly brush their teeth. Ask your dentist if they have any suggestions on teaching your child how to properly brush. You can also show them how your child brushes their teeth, and ask your dentist to comment on how your child could improve.

Scheduling an appointment before school starts can not only help to improve your child’s attendance rates but also help to detect if any further problems are developing within their mouth. If you would like to schedule an appointment before your child returns to school, give Tree City Family Dental a call today! Our qualified dentists will help answer any questions about your child’s teeth that you may have while easing any exam anxiety they may have.