This office is totally and unconditionally committed to a policy of prevention. We can provide you with the means and the knowledge to avert dental disease. Early visits can prevent decay and infections. We recommend that a child be seen for a comprehensive examination by the time the first tooth appears in the mouth.
Parents are very important in our preventive program. Your interest, understanding, and motivation at home will be a factor in controlling dental disease for your child.
We believe that, with parental help, dental disease is very preventable. Prevention of dental disease is less traumatic, less costly, and more rewarding for everyone-especially children. Recent advances in dentistry enable us to give your child better care than ever. One of our basic aims is to help you and your child prevent the problems which have been so prevalent in the past.
Tooth Decay Prevention
Tooth decay is a progressive disease resulting in the interaction of bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth and sugars in the everyday diet. Sugar causes a reaction in the bacteria, causing it to produce acids that break down the minerals in teeth, forming a cavity. Dentists remove the decay and fill the tooth using a variety of fillings, restoring the tooth to a healthy state. Nerve damage can result from severe decay and may require a crown (a crown is like a large filling that can cap a tooth, making it stronger or covering it). Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen: brushing and flossing twice a day, regular dental checkups, diet control and fluoride treatment. Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment.
The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth can be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean of bacteria and food. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that the chewing surface of the tooth in American school children are seen to end up with more cavities than other surfaces.
Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments.
Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Regularly drinking water treated with fluoride and brushing and flossing regularly ensures significantly lower cavities. Dentists can evaluate the level of fluoride in a primary drinking water source and recommend fluoride supplements (usually in tablets or drops), if necessary.
Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Children usually cease thumb sucking when the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Typically, children stop between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth can cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth. If you notice prolonged and/or vigorous thumb sucking behavior in your child, talk to your dentist.
Here are some ways to help your child outgrow thumb sucking:
- Don't scold a child when they exhibit thumb sucking behavior; instead, praise them when they don't suck their thumb.
- Focus on eliminating the cause of anxiety—thumb sucking is a comfort device that helps children cope with stress or discomfort.
- Praise them when they refrain from the habit during difficult periods.
- Place a bandage on the thumb or a sock on their hand at night.
- Do not let them know that their habit upsets you or they will do it on purpose, trust me!
During either recreational or organized physical activities, injuries to the mouth and teeth can have long lasting implications. The use of a mouth guard can help prevent damage or loss of teeth especially while on skateboards, motorized scooters or the backyard football or basketball game. Contact your dentist regarding this excellent option for your child.