Prevention should serve as a lifestyle pattern for total health, not the least of which is dental health. Prevention in dentistry during the early years leads to improved long-term oral health and reduced dental costs in the future. It encourages a bright smile, fresh breath, and an overall good feeling for the child.
Our dental team can provide excellent services to help your child maintain his/her dental health for a lifetime. Your cooperation can serve to maintain optimum dental health. When you bring your child to our office for regularly scheduled hygiene appointments, the following will be performed:
The clinical exam includes an exam for gum disease, tooth decay (cavities), white spots (potential decay), and orthodontic needs (for proper alignment, eruption, and jaw relationships).
A dental prophylaxis (more commonly called a "cleaning") includes:
- Dental scaling to remove calculus (tartar) both above and below the gum-line
- Polishing to remove plaque/stains and to smooth the surface and to help eliminate bacteria that can cause cavities.
- Flossing to help maintain the health of the gum tissue, and clean in between the teeth
Topical Fluoride Treatment
Fluoride helps to fight tooth decay by strengthening the enamel surface of the teeth. Our office uses fluoride varnish. It is a new and improved method of decay prevention. Fluoride varnish has been found to help REMINERALIZE enamel that has begun to break down (e.g., white spot lesions). It is as safe as the fluoride gel that has been used for many years. The application is quicker and easier, and tastes much better than the gel.
When your child leaves our office, his/her teeth will be coated with the varnish and will not look bright and shiny as usual after being cleaned. They will look nice tomorrow when the varnish has had time to have its maximum effect, and has worn off.
In order to retain the varnish on the teeth for as long as possible, and to achieve the best result:
- Your child should eat a soft, non-abrasive diet for the rest of the day
- Teeth should NOT be flossed and brushed until tomorrow morning, at which time a regular schedule of careful oral hygiene should be resumed
Oral Hygiene Instruction
During your child's hygiene visit, our team will customize a personal home- and preventive-care program for your child, and inform you of those dental products that are appropriate for his/her particular needs. You and your child will be instructed in the proper methods of tooth brushing, flossing, and using adjunctive dental health products. You will also be sent home with a written "Dental Report" with all dental findings and recommendations.
Dental Digital X-rays
Digital x-rays complement the clinical exam. Without them, certain dental conditions can and will be missed. Digital x-rays detect much more than cavities. For example, digital x-rays may be needed to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment.
Our office uses a digital x-ray system rather than film. Since digital sensors are so much more sensitive than film, we are able to use 90% percent less radiation than the older film systems. Our office is particularly careful to minimize the exposure of our patients to radiation. Our equipment is state-of-the art, and is constantly tested and calibrated to make sure that it is functioning appropriately.
We always follow the FDA guidelines for prescribing digital x-rays. Digital x-rays and examinations should be done every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. On average, most pediatric dentists request digital x-rays approximately once a year for moderate to low risk patients. A complete set of digital x-rays (a panoramic film and bitewings OR periapicals and bitewings) should be taken every 3 years. Patients undergoing orthodontic treatment should have a panoramic film and/or a cephalometric film taken every 6 months to 1 year to monitor progress.