Pediatric Preventive Dental Care
Preventive dental care is one of the most important services we provide our patients. Good preventive care means costly restorative procedures can be avoided. With regular visits to our office, we can get to know your child and they can get to know our practice, making for stress-free dental appointments. Our preventive treatments include:
Dental Cleanings (Prophylaxis)
During your child’s dental cleaning appointment, we will remove plaque and tartar from tooth surfaces and then floss between the teeth. We also use a special, gritty toothpaste to polish the teeth in order to remove stains and create a smooth surface that makes it harder for new plaque deposits to form. With dental cleanings every six months, your child is more likely to have healthy gums and cavity-free teeth. Depending on your chid’s risk, we sometimes offer different schedules for visiting us for preventive care.
Fluoride is an important mineral for dental health. By strengthening the teeth, it helps prevent cavities. During your child’s dental cleaning appointment, we will apply a fluoride varnish to their teeth. This is an important component of pediatric dental treatment that helps ensure long-term oral health. After placing fluoride varnish, your child can eat and drink normally, but we will ask you to skip brushing their teeth that night to allow the fluoride varnish to continue working.
Oral Hygiene Instruction
We want to empower your child to care for their teeth. When they’re at our office for routine dental cleaning, we also provide oral hygiene instruction to show them how to brush, floss, rinse, and eat for optimal dental health. For younger children, we’ll also provide these instructions to their parents. Along with regular dental cleanings, good home care is key to preventing cavities. We expect parents to continue to assist children in brushing their teeth until at least they are able to develop the manual dexterity to tie their own shoe laces.
Some patients have teeth with many crevices on the chewing surface where food debris and plaque can collect. By applying a dental sealant, we can fill in these crevices in order to reduce the risk of getting cavities. This is a simple, painless procedure that involves painting the sealant directly onto the teeth; once hardened, it provides a protective barrier.
Comprehensive Oral Evaluation
Oral evaluations are used to diagnose cavities, soft tissue abnormalities, and other dental problems.
Digital Radiographs (X-rays)
While x-rays aren’t needed at every appointment, they may be needed to help us identify cavities, jaw issues, extra or missing teeth, bone defects, tumors, and cysts. They can also help us determine a treatment plan before a dental procedure or check on the progress of a previous procedure. Our digital radiograph technology reduces radiation exposure by more than 50 percent and produces instant, high-quality images.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric Preventive Dental Care
How do you prevent cavities in children?
Regular dental visits every six months and good home oral hygiene care are the two keys to cavity prevention in children. They should brush for two minutes, twice a day, with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day. Fluoride treatments and dental sealants also prevent cavities from forming. A balanced diet, low in added sugars is also critical.
How can I strengthen my child’s teeth?
A healthy diet that is rich in calcium, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, and avoiding sugary foods and drinks will all result in stronger teeth.
Why is preventive care important?
Preventive care is essential because it spares your child from the physical pain and embarrassment caused by poor dental health. It also helps them learn from a young age how important it is to care for their teeth. It’s economical too—a dental cleaning will always be more affordable than restorative dentistry. Unfortunately, the risk of developing decay as an adult is directly linked to the number of cavities you have had as a child, so prevention is key.
When should a child get their teeth cleaned?
Children should come to the dentist for the first time at 12 months of age or within 6 months of their first tooth erupting. Once teeth erupt in the mouth, they become susceptible to tooth decay, and delaying initial dental visits until children are older puts those teeth at risk of decay.
What happens at a child’s first dental appointment?
During the first appointment, we’ll examine your child’s teeth to make sure they’re erupting properly. More importantly, we’ll discuss with you how to care for your child’s teeth and answer any questions you might have. The first appointment is all about establishing a relationship between our team and your family.