The dentist will focus on a number of areas that typically affect patients within the age group of the patient and with common health risks associated with lifestyle, medical and hereditary factors provided by the patient during the medical history review and what is stereotypical an issue seen by the dental profession for this group of patients.
Age 2 – 5 years:
Often this is the first visit to the dentist for a child. The dental team makes every effort to make it a pleasant, fun and memorable experience so that the young ones are eager to return. If the child is compliant, the dentist will do a visual examination with a mirror and if possible, they will also use a probe to check for soft areas on the tooth surface that may indicate a cavity. If the child is anxious they are welcome to sit on the parent’s lap for comfort. It is advised to introduce your child early on to the dentist during this age to start a lifelong positive connection with going to the dentist for dental check-ups and teeth cleanings. Occasionally early developmental problems can be picked up at this check-up as well.
Age 6 – 12 years:
This age is when dental professionals start to see early signs of decay from high sugary and acidic diets and poor cleaning habits as children are often brushing their own teeth by this age, and usually not very well!
The dentist will focus on the molars that have come through and assess their position and health. They might recommend something called a fissure sealant be placed in the back teeth to prevent tooth decay from burrowing through the deep crevices that form on the top of the tooth.
Children may start to build up tartar, a hardened bacteria that glues itself to the tooth surface making it impossible to remove with a toothbrush. This can easily be removed in seconds by the dentist during this visit along with a fluoride polish to remove any staining and help to strengthen the outer surface of the teeth.
X-rays are typically taken every 2 years during this age to look for signs of decay and abnormal growth patterns.
Age 13 – 17 years:
Throughout the teenage years, the teeth and mouth go through many stages of growth and change. Baby teeth lost and permanent teeth have now come through. The dentist will be focused on the bite and function of the teeth and jaw during this age and assess if orthodontic treatment would benefit the child to prevent future issues and improve the overall appearance of the teeth. These years are usually the optimal time to undergo orthodontic treatment while the bone and skeletal system is flexible and more manageable.
The dentist or oral health hygienist may need to provide a more thorough tooth cleaning during a dental check-up as teenagers are notorious for poor home care routines. The dentist or hygienists may also suggest a saliva screening to test for correct flow and regular gum screenings to check for early signs of gum disease.
Diet and lifestyle habits are focused heavily with this age group as they learn the damage certain products can cause to the teeth long term.
18 years and older:
It is ideal for adults young and old to have a dental check-up every 6 months, no matter how many teeth they have. If you are higher risk it may be recommended to visit more frequently to stay on top of any existing conditions. A standard dental check-up appointment for an adult will include a comprehensive examination tooth by tooth, a gum analysis screen to assess the health of your gums, oral cancer screening, review any previous work completed to ensure it’s integrity and address any concerns you have been having since your last dental examination.
X-rays may be required to confirm any diagnosis of disease noted during the examination or consultation of an issue.