Preventative Dental Treatment for Children
Oral health affects overall health! A healthy smile keeps your child on track developmentally and positively influences overall health and confidence. That’s where Preventative Dentistry comes in.
The Importance of Regular Dental Check-Ups
Cavities and other oral conditions can be painful and interfere with eating, speaking, and can negatively impact your child’s self-esteem. Maintaining good oral hygiene and going to the dentist for regular checkups not only saves your child a lot of pain, discomfort, and inconvenience, but also saves you a lot of time and money.
Prevent the problems before they start! How is this possible? Regular teeth cleanings and dental exams are recommended for all infants, children, and adolescents every 6 months in order to maintain your child’s oral health. Here at Sycamore Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, we offer various types of preventive services that are specifically designed to keep your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth healthy.
What Does Pediatric Dentistry Involve?
- Routine dental visits every 3-6 months (more often if your child is considered “high-risk” for developing cavities)
- Monitoring oral health and development
- Professional dental cleanings to remove accumulated plaque and calculus, or “tartar”
- Fluoride treatments, when necessary
- Taking dental X-rays when recommended
- Sealants to prevent cavities on high-risk tooth surfaces
- Oral Health Education
- Protection against injuries and contact sports, such as a mouthguard
- Managing oral habits such as pacifier use and thumb-sucking
- Guiding erupting teeth when intervention is needed
Dental Exams & Cleanings
Prevent Problems Before They Start
The health of your child’s teeth and mouth is very important to the well-being of his or her entire body, and while routine brushing and flossing at home are necessary to keep your child’s smile looking its best, visiting the dentist for a comprehensive exam and cleaning is essential.
The American Dental Association (ADA), Dr. Sarah, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommend that your child visit the dentist every six months to ensure their teeth stay healthy and their smile stays beautiful.
When Dr. Sarah recommends them, these visits typically include a dental exam and professional cleaning and X-rays, and fluoride treatment.
By routinely seeing a pediatric dentist like Dr. Sarah for exams and cleanings, your child can:
- Prevent tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and developmental problems with their teeth and jaws
- Avoid costly and extensive dental treatment
- Have white teeth by reducing the staining from food and drinks
- Shorten the time spent at the dentist (and therefore, more time in school!)
- Encourage healthy growth and development so your child can have a smile that will last a lifetime
During your child’s exam, Dr. Sarah will keep track of his or her teeth, gums, and jawbones for signs of cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Another important part of the exam is checking growth, development, and how the teeth align.
Dr. Sarah may also want to take X-rays, depending on your child’s dental development, the risk for cavities, history of trauma or injury to any teeth, and other problems not visible on the surface during the clinical exam.
X-rays are important because they help us see what’s happening between teeth and beneath the surface of the teeth and gums.
Teeth cleanings and professional polishing treatment are part of your child’s preventive program and should be done every six months. We use a special paste to polish teeth and remove any plaque and visible staining.
Sometimes, additional scaling is needed to remove calculus, or “tartar,” and build-up that has accumulated over time.
The cleaning always includes flossing in between teeth and will frequently end with a fluoride application to protect the tooth structure from cavities.
Is Your Child Nervous? No Problem!
Don’t worry if your child is nervous. Here at Sycamore Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Sarah and her team are trained to provide the highest level of comfort and care for every child throughout the cleaning process.
Once the cleaning is complete, we will provide you and your child with instructions on how to properly maintain their teeth at home.
We'll always go over proper brushing and flossing techniques and other oral maintenance care tips.
What Happens During a Professional Cleaning?
- Getting rid of the sticky plaque that has accumulated on the teeth, which is the perfect breeding ground for living bacteria that can cause cavities
- Removing the calculus (no, not the math! The hardened plaque that clings to the enamel and can be removed only by special dental instruments)
- Polishing your child’s teeth to remove surface staining
- Flossing in between the teeth
- Going over oral hygiene instructions and reviewing proper brushing and flossing techniques
- Applying a fluoride treatment at the end to protect teeth from cavities
Did you know that a professional fluoride treatment helps to keep teeth healthy and strong? Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally found in water and many foods.
It also effectively prevents cavities by coating teeth and strengthening their surface, which acts like a coat of armor to fight off harmful bacteria and tooth decay.
Give Your Child the Best Protection Against Cavities
Dr. Sarah may recommend the use of professional and/or home fluoride treatment for the following reasons:
- Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth
- Fair to poor oral hygiene
- To remineralize, or strengthen, areas of teeth that are prone to decay
- Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake
- Inadequate exposure to fluoride
- Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions or medications
- Previous or recent history of cavities
At Sycamore Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, we only use the latest digital X-ray technology available, which offers the lowest amount of radiation exposure compared to other types of dental X-rays.
When recommended, X-rays are important because they allow Dr. Sarah to reliably diagnose cavities and other oral health issues that are not visibly seen during the clinical exam.
Did you know that having sealants on your permanent molars can reduce the risk of cavities by 80%?
Sometimes brushing is not enough, especially in those hard-to-reach areas where teeth tend to have deep pits and grooves. It’s not always easy to get a toothbrush to thoroughly clean these spots and if left alone, these tiny cracks can easily develop tooth decay. Sealants give your child’s teeth extra protection by creating a smooth surface where food easily sticks to, helping to keep those teeth cavity-free.
Dental sealants are made of a resin material that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, making those areas that we call “pits and fissures” as smooth as glass. As a result, these areas are less likely to harbor plaque, and therefore, decrease the risk of developing cavities. With sealants, brushing becomes easier and more effective at maintaining a healthy smile.
Keep Deep Grooves Cavity Free
Applying dental sealants is usually quick and painless! Most kids find the process very easy and we can usually apply sealants the same day as your child’s exam and cleaning. If your child is a little more nervous, we may recommend scheduling a separate appointment so we can spend a little more time to help ease your child’s anxiety and make the process go as smooth as possible.
Managing Oral Habits
You might have noticed that your baby puts everything in their mouth and will want to suck on fingers, pacifiers, and other objects. Don’t worry, this is a natural developmental process.
It provides a sense of security and is a way for your child to connect with the world. Most kids will stop sucking their thumb and using pacifiers on their own between two and four years of age.
Kick Bad Oral Habits Early
However, for some kids, these habits continue over longer periods of time, which can affect your child’s bite and the growth of the jaws and bones in the mouth.
Mouth Guards & Sports Guards
Is your kiddo a passionate athlete? If they’re regularly participating in sports where physical contact is a possibility (like football, soccer, and hockey to name a few), it’s important to keep their smile safe from trauma and incidental harm.
Our custom-made mouth guards work just like a helmet or knee pads – they provide durable protection for growing teeth and gums so that you can relax on the sidelines. Better yet, they’ll fit much more comfortably and may provide better protection than a “one size fits all” model that comes from the nearest athletics store.
Dentistry for Children with Special Needs
Dr. Sarah and our team at Sycamore Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry is trained to take care of children with special needs.
The team at Sycamore Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry is trained to take care of children with special needs. We provide dental care for children with a range of developmental, medical and behavioral challenges, including, but not limited to:
- Sensory issues
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Down syndrome
- Cerebral palsy
- Developmental & speech/language delays
Providing a Safe Dental Practice for Every Child
Dr. Sarah and her team will communicate with your child in a method that they are most comfortable with. By establishing our office as their Dental Home, special needs patients and their parents learn individualized preventive oral health practices that significantly reduce their risk of preventable dental disease.
Dr. Sarah and her team will spend any extra or necessary time with patients of special needs, establishing trust and relationships built on sensitivity and credibility. Every family will be greeted by a calm, sensory-friendly environment that caters to all dental and orthodontic needs for all ages.
Contact Us Today!
Here at Sycamore Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, we provide a comfortable dental experience for young children, adolescence, and patients with special needs.
We know how important it is to get your child’s dental health off on the right foot and we want to help you accomplish this. Contact us today to start your child’s dental health journey!