Preserve your smile whenever possible. Contact us today to ask about preventive care.
Preventive dentistry can help keep your teeth and gums disease and decay free and minimize the chances of your oral health adversely affecting the rest of your body.
Visiting the dentist regularly is an important part of helping your child maintain good oral health and develop great habits for brushing and flossing. However, the first visit to the dentist can be a little scary for a small child. The large chairs, funny equipment, and weird noises, plus the uncomfortable feeling of the dentist working in their mouth, can make even the bravest child a little fearful.
A child's first dental visit should begin with their first birthday, or when your baby's first tooth make it's appearance. They will be able to learn early that the dentist's office is a safe, happy place, and you can prepare them ahead of time by casting visits in a positive light. Help them understand that dentists are friendly people and will help them clean and care for their teeth. Many times, the first visit is simply an icebreaker, to help a child feel comfortable with the dentist, and for the dentist to examine the child's teeth and address any questions or concerns you have about your child's mouth.
Patience and calmness are necessary for a parent to help a child have a successful visit. If children are afraid of the dentist, they're much less likely to schedule regular exams once they're adults. A good dentist understands how to go slow with children, explaining each step of the dental exam in terms that they can understand, and stopping or rescheduling if the child becomes upset.
Children should have dental exams and cleanings twice a year, including professional cleaning and fluoride treatment. Each visit typically includes X-rays of the child's mouth to check for cavities and adult teeth coming in. It's important to remove plaque and tartar regularly, as buildup of these substances can lead to gum disease and periodontitis.
Dental cleanings involve treatments that take care of both the teeth and gums, a comprehensive treatment that takes place all at once and promotes healthy teeth and gums. The dentist or hygienist performs deep cleaning, including the hard-to-reach areas, removing plaque and debris which can lead to significant problems in the future. Once this is completed, then the dentist polishes the teeth and performs a thorough flossing, removing the last bits and checking for bleeding gums. Finally, your child will receive an oral fluoride mouthwash to protect the teeth from decay.
Dental exams also help identify potential problems in your child's mouth, such as crowding or primary teeth that need to come out to accommodate adult teeth. Regular exams also check for overall oral health, including signs of gum disease and cancers of the mouth and tongue.
Dental sealants are a preventive dentistry procedure that seals the surface of your child's teeth – usually the molars and premolars – to reduce the formation of cavities. The pits and valleys in the molars are prime breeding grounds for cavities, as food debris and plaque can accumulate. Children can have a hard time with good oral hygiene, especially the harder-to-reach areas at the back of the mouth.
Dental sealants are a thin, safe plastic covering that seals the surface of the tooth and smooths out the surface area, preventing cavities from forming. It's minimally invasive and doesn't require medication or drilling. Plus, sealants can last up to nine years, and often, the child may lose the tooth before the sealant needs to be replaced.
The American Dental Association considers fluoride to be the most effective way to prevent tooth decay. It's a naturally occurring mineral that can help your child's teeth in several ways:
Most dental exams and cleanings include a fluoride treatment at the end, once the teeth are cleaned so that it's more effective.
Although tooth decay and cavities are the largest reason for tooth loss in children (besides losing baby teeth), accidents and sports injuries are also a cause of many instances of broken or lost teeth and damaged gums. But, custom athletic mouthguards for your child can help prevent sports-related injuries to the mouth.
Athletic mouthguards are soft plastic devices that are made to fit snugly in your child's mouth, specifically for the shape of their mouth. These devices don't just protect the teeth, but can also reduce concussions or diminish the damage that a head impact can have. Mouthguards can lock in place, stabilizing the jaw and neck, which can reduce the whiplash injuries from a tackle, fall, or blow to the head.
While you may purchase a mouthguard from the store, custom mouth guards often feel better, which means that your child is more likely to use it. Plus, uncomfortable mouthguards can be distracting during a game or practice, which can make injuries and accidents more likely – not to mention keeping your child from succeeding in that big play!
Despite all the preventive measures that you take to ensure that your child has good oral hygiene and is protected from cavities or injuries, dental accidents can happen. Emergency dental care is an important service that Dr. Postol and his team offer.
A dental emergency can include:
If any injury to your tooth occurs, it's important to have treatment right away, as this can be the best chance of saving the tooth and preventing further damage or infection. Remember, never ignore a toothache, as this can signal an infection or lead to an abscess. Whatever is causing the problem can only get worse, and can have significant consequences.
Whether it's your child's first office visit or their 21st, Dr. Kevin F. Postol and his professional team can take care of all your dentistry needs. From preventive dentistry to protective mouthguards and treating cavities, we offer professional service with a smile. Give us a call today to schedule your child's appointment!