Dentistry for children is very important because children’s teeth need dental care, just like grown up teeth. Regular dental exams can help to identify any abnormalities in your child’s oral development, and can minimize the impact of decay on your child’s health by catching cavities early. Coming in for professional cleanings are not just about helping your child have shiny clean teeth, they are also very important in educating your child on proper brushing and flossing techniques.
What to expect on your child’s first visit
Your child’s first dental visit will consist of a thorough review of your child’s dental and health information and a comprehensive dental examination along with a discussion on proper diet, nutrition and good oral hygiene habits.
Depending on the age and needs of your child, we will complete a professional dental cleaning, and take any necessary digital x-rays. Dr. Riddle will take time to discuss any concerns you may have, and prepare you for what you can expect during your child’s oral development. If decay is found, the information collected will allow Dr. Riddle to prepare a treatment plan and recommend the best options for your child’s dental care.
Please help us make the first visit enjoyable and positive! We encourage parents and caregivers to use positive stories about visiting the dentist, songs, and descriptive words to describe your child’s upcoming visit.
We will work with you to make your child’s first dental visit an adventure that sets a positive foundation for the rest of their life.
We encourage you to stay with your child during the initial examination, and during future visits you can let your child join us on their own, depending on age and comfort, of course.
Brushing and Flossing
As a parent, it can be difficult to get your kids to brush their teeth. Even if you can get them to brush, chances are, it is not the proper length of time or even the proper method. Educating your kids about the importance of brushing their teeth and helping them learn the proper brushing techniques are essential to their long term health.
Cleanings, Exams and X-rays
Professional cleanings performed by a hygienist or dental assistant are important to your child’s dental health, as are daily brushing and flossing. Twice yearly dental check-ups and cleanings help catch problems when they are small and easier to treat. Left unattended, small treatable problems can become worse and may require more extensive, expensive procedures to repair.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that has been proven to strengthen teeth and help reduce the incidence of tooth decay. The American Dental Association recommends fluoride treatment for children as soon as teeth emerge.
Protecting Teeth, Preventing Decay
Your teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. When you eat or drink anything that contains sugar, bacteria turns the sugar into acids that can attack tooth enamel. Over time, these attacks may cause tooth decay, or cavities. The good news is that there is a way to protect your children’s teeth and prevent decay: dental sealants.
How are sealants applied?
Sealants are very easy to apply. It only takes a few minutes to seal each tooth.
- First, the tooth is cleaned and the chewing surfaces are prepared to help the sealant stick to the tooth.
- The the sealant is painted onto the chewing surface where it bonds to the tooth and hardens. A special light may be used to help the sealant harden.
Sealants are generally clear or white and cannot be seen when you smile or talk.
How long do sealants last?
Sealants usually last several years before they need to be replaced. Over time, sealants can become loose or worn. Then they may not protect the teeth as well. To help sealants last longer…
- Do not chew on ice or hard foods
- Keep your regular dental visits
Dr. Riddle will check your sealants and reapply them if needed.
Remember, sealants can only protect the chewing surfaces of teeth. Taking good care of your teeth at home and getting regular dental checkups are important to help stop decay from forming in between the teeth. Spots that the sealant cannot cover.
Who should get sealants?
Most often children and teenagers get sealants because tooth decay can start soon after teeth come in. But, adults can sometimes benefit from sealants too. You never outgrow the risk for developing cavities.
A sealant can be placed on a tooth that does not have a cavity in its pits and grooves. If a tooth is stained or has mild decay, Dr. Riddle may suggest you get a sealant, or another option may be necessary. If a tooth has more advanced decay, it will need a filling.
Prevention is always better than treatment.
Sealants are very useful in preventing tooth decay on the back teeth and can save patients money over time. Dr. Riddle can make sealants part of your plan for a healthy mouth.
Why are sealants needed?
Tooth decay often begins on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The surfaces have pits and grooves that trap plaque, bacteria, and bits of food. The pits and grooves and hard to keep clean, because toothbrush bristles cannot reach into them.
That is how decay starts in the pits and grooves and cavities form. To keep decay from starting here, Dr. Riddle may recommend dental sealants.