Just like adults, kids need to keep their smiles healthy too. The best way to do that is to see our pediatric dentist twice per year. Fortunately, most insurance plans and Medicaid cover checkups at 100% every six months because of the advantages that preventative dental care has to offer.

Every Six Months

Preventative dental cleanings, exams, and fluoride treatments lower your child’s risk of getting cavities. Six months is about the longest amount of time that you want to spend without seeing the dentist because by that point it becomes obvious when certain dental infections are starting to develop. Waiting any longer for an exam could mean that a tiny area of decay has the opportunity to evolve into a painful abscess.

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Importance of Dental Cleanings for Kids

Even if you’re helping your child brush and floss their teeth twice a day, there will be some buildup left behind. Six months is about the average timeframe for someone with healthy teeth and gums to start to see a bit of tartar buildup. Having your child’s teeth cleaned twice per year can prevent the buildup from taking over or starting to creep down into the gums.

As your child’s permanent (adult) teeth start to erupt, usually around age 6, you’ll probably start to notice more buildup on their teeth than before. Areas like behind the lower front teeth are especially more prone to tartar. A professional cleaning removes the calcified bacteria to help keep teeth healthy and breath as fresh as possible.

Additional Preventative Steps

Plus, we’ll apply fluoride after each cleaning to remineralize weak areas of tooth enamel. A professional fluoride treatment for children can help reverse the early phases of cavities, before they penetrate the outer layer of a tooth. Scheduling checkups every six months — especially when it’s covered by your insurance — practically pays for itself! We’ll even put sealants on the adult molars as soon as they come in, further reducing your child’s risk of cavities.

If They’re Injured

Dental emergencies can pop up when you least expect them. If your child falls in the bathtub and chips a tooth, or they get elbowed in the mouth during a soccer game, you need a pediatric dentist who can see them on the same day. Our patients of record can contact us at any time to get advice on what to do and how to make sure their child gets out of emergency pain fast.

When Something Hurts

Issues like tooth decay, abscessed teeth, or gum infections can quickly evolve into more serious issues. If your child complains of a toothache of any sort, don’t try to treat the symptoms on your own. An untreated infection such as an abscess could lead to hospitalization.

The best way to rule out anything serious is to bring your family to our office for Dr. Ghatak to evaluate the tooth and see what’s going on. Call us immediately if your child is experiencing swelling.

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Checkups Twice Per Year

Is your child due for a six-month dental exam and cleaning? Contact Merrifield Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule an appointment near you!


Dr. Ghatak is a board certified pediatric dentist serving patients in the Fairfax, VA area, including Dunn Loring, Merrifield, Vienna, Tyson’s Corner, and other local Virginia communities!

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