Protecting Little Smiles From Tooth Decay
Cavities can impact kids of all ages, from babies to teens. Lack of treatment could mean painful symptoms and even the risk of losing primary teeth prematurely. But our team can help safeguard the smile with routine preventive care. In today’s blog, your Dallas, TX, pediatric dentist discusses our options for preventing the onset of tooth decay in little smiles!
Checkups for Kids
First, kids should see us for regular checkups, just like you see your general dentist for routine exams. The first should happen right after the first baby tooth erupts, and is a simple knee-to-knee lap exam. Once your little one is two, checkups and cleanings should happen every six months. For the exam portion, we use digital x-rays to offer a diagnosis with precision and accuracy. We then treat the concerns discovered to protect your child from tooth decay, gingivitis, and complications with their oral health that could lead to misalignment down the road. These visits also help kids become accustomed to seeing the dentist, which limits the risk of dental anxiety and also instills good oral health habits.
Removing Plaque with a Cleaning
During the same appointment, our team will use an ultrasonic scaling device and a manual tool to break up and remove all plaque and tartar buildup that has accumulated on your child’s smile. Doing so helps lower the risk of cavities and gingivitis, and also limits the severity of teeth stains. Your child can also enjoy fresher breath too. After we remove the buildup, we polish the smile for a brighter appearance and a smoother surface.
Our team also provides preventive treatments that are designed to help kids avoid the onset of tooth decay. For many children, even if they brush and floss daily, they may have trouble reaching the rear teeth. As a result, these molars tend to be vulnerable to decay. But with dental sealants we can help protect these teeth. Our team will apply an acrylic coating to the molars, which covers them and prevents food particles from being trapped in between or on them. After placement, your child needs to avoid food and drink for about 30 minutes. The layers can stay in place for years, often up to ten, and help safeguard their at-risk teeth. Even as they wear away, they cling the longest to the more vulnerable portions of each tooth.
During each checkup visit, our team can also apply a topical fluoride gel to help strengthen the outer enamel and lower the risk of tooth decay. Fluoride occurs naturally and has been shown to strengthen tooth enamel and lower the risk for cavities, which is why so many communities have added this to the drinking water. You can also find fluoride in toothpaste! Kids three and younger should use a rice sized blot of fluoride toothpaste, and kids over the age of three need a pea sized amount.
What if a tooth develops a cavity? If we discover tooth decay, then we can offer a safe and effective treatment in only one visit. Our dental fillings are made from composite resin and shaded to blend with your smile seamlessly. As a result, they can offer a natural appearance while also preventing decay from becoming an infection that threatens smile stability. Placement involves first numbing the tooth and removing the decay. We then etch the surfaces and apply the composite resin. Next, we shape the tooth as the composite resin cures beneath a special light. Finally, we polish the tooth for a brighter appearance. We can then discuss our preventive treatments to lower the risk of future cavities.
How to Continue Care at Home
You can also help protect little smiles in between routine six months visits. For example, be sure your kids brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and also floss every evening. Try to limit their consumption of sugary and starch-rich food and drink. These actions are simple, and help protect these teeth, health, and beauty of little smiles. If you have any questions about our approach to children’s dentistry, then contact our team today. We look forward to helping your children enjoy optimal oral health with routine care.
Your Dallas, TX, Pediatric Dentist Offers Cavity Prevention
If you want to find out more about avoiding cavities and keeping little smiles safe, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for our preventive exams and dental cleanings, we invite you to contact your Dallas, TX pediatric dentist, Dr. Marr, by calling (214) 321-4880.
filed under: Children's Dental Services