Topics on this page
Regular Exams and Cleanings
Regular exams are an important part of maintaining your child's oral health. During your child’s exam visit, we will:
- Assess their dental health and growth
- Inspect the teeth and gums for cavities, gingivitis or any other signs of dental disease
- Monitor their developing occlusion (bite), and eruption of teeth
- Perform a dental cleaning to remove plaque, stain and tartar from the teeth
Prevention and early detection and management of caries and other oral conditions can improve a child's oral and general health, well-being, and school readiness.
A patient's risk for developing cavities helps determine how often they should be seen for an exam. Those who exhibit higher risks should have visits more frequently than every six months. Regular exams are offered by appointment only, so please contact our practice today to schedule your child’s next dental exam and cleaning.
Fluoride contributes to the prevention, inhibition, and reversal of caries. Significant benefits can be achieved by the use of over the counter fluoride containing products like toothpastes and rinses. It is encouraged that teeth be brushed with an appropriate amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day and monitoring your child's brushing will prevent ingestion of excessive amounts of fluoride. No more than a smear or rice-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste should be used for children less than three years of age, and no more than a pea-size amount is appropriate for children three to six years old.
Fluoride has been a major factor in decreasing the prevalence and severity of dental caries. The levels of fluoride that are attained from professionally-applied fluoride treatments produce a layer of calcium fluoride on the enamel surface, and this promotes the remineralization of the enamel. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry encourages the application of professional topical fluoride treatments twice a year, and children at a higher risk for developing cavities should receive greater frequency of fluoride applications (every 3 months).
Sometimes brushing is not enough, especially when it comes to hard-to-reach spots in your child’s mouth. Pits and fissures on the biting surfaces of molars trap food debris and bacteria, increasing the risk of developing cavities. Sealants give your child’s teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.
When a tooth is sealed, the grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. Brushing your child's teeth also becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.
80 to 90% of cavities in the permanent teeth develop in the pits and fissures so at risk pits and fissures should be sealed as soon as possible. Every patient has unique needs, and your child’s dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis. Sealants should be monitored and repaired or replaced as needed.
A resin-based composite is an esthetic restorative material that can be used to restore both primary and permanent teeth. They can be used to treat cavities on the biting surfaces, cavities found in between the teeth, and they are used to treat anterior teeth.
A protective liner will be placed under a resin when there is a deep cavity that is approximating the pulp, or the nerve, of the tooth. The placement of a liner in a deep area of a preparation will help preserve the vitality of the pulp, promote pulp tissue healing, and will help minimize post-operative sensitivity.
Resins are technique sensitve so in cases where keeping the tooth dry is not possible or when patient cooperation is in question, they may not be the restorative material of choice. Resins are also contraindicated for high-caries risk patients with multiple teeth that have caries on multiple surface of the tooth.
Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated crowns that are adapted to individual teeth that cannot be restored with tooth-colored fillings. Crowns are most often used for teeth with extensive caries, decalcification, and/or developmental defects.
SSCs offer the advantage of full coverage to provide strength, and restore form and function. They also protect the tooth from developing caries again. Studies have shown that crowns have greater longevity when comprared to resin-based restorations, therefore the use of SSCs is indicated for children at a higher risk for developing cavities. SSCs should also be used to treat the teeth of children that require general anesthesia to complete their dental care.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Extraction, or removal of a tooth, is the preferred treatment option in cases of dental infection. A large cavity can make a tooth be not restorable and extraction of that tooth is necessary. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth at risk of decay, so the doctor may recommend its removal. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a permanent tooth trying to erupt can also require removal of a tooth.
The root of each tooth is encased within the jawbone in a “tooth socket”, and the tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, the dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with the doctor any concerns or preferences for sedation.