The importance of preventative care appointments

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:38 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Many services were placed on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, including visits to the doctor or dentist, but health professionals said it’s important not to skip those appointments.

A report from the Urban Institute states in April 2021, nearly 20% of parents reported having delayed or skipped preventative care appointments for their children.

“We noticed a lot of people got behind on their preventative or cleaning appointments, and then, of course, when that happens, you end up with more problems down the road,” Dr. Sean Tarpening, Dentist at Herbert Dental, said.

Dr. Katie Udenberg, a Pediatrician with Prevea Health, said she also noticed fewer well-child checks.

“It’s just a really good chance to come in and ask your pediatrician questions or concerns that you have about your kid,” Udenberg said. “Another reason is that we just want to make sure that your kids are healthy, that they’re growing, that they’re developing, you know, on track with other kids in their age group.

If these preventative appointments are skipped, Tarpening said problems can arise.

“We end up seeing kids with toothaches and teeth that need to be pulled sooner, and that can lead to other bite and smile and other, you know, issues for them,” Tarpening said.

Udenberg said pediatricians don’t want to miss any warning signs of something serious, which is why these appointments are so important.

“We pay really close attention to developmental milestones, especially in those baby and toddler years,” Udenberg said. “So, if you’re skipping a well-child and we don’t have a chance to check in and see, you know, are they meeting all their speech milestones, their motor milestones and all of those things are important because if we catch them early, there’s a lot of stuff that we can do to help kids to catch up, to progress, to reach a normal level like their peers. But, if we missed those, it’s harder to catch up later on.”

Both Udenberg and Tarpening said one thing, if you’ve missed some appointments, schedule them soon.

Tarpening said they like to see kids come in for cleaning every six months. Udenberg said recommendations for appointments in kids depend on the age of the child, but checkups are recommended for toddlers and babies a few times a year, and once a year for kids ages four years old and up.