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Regular Exams and Cleanings
Regular exams are an important part of maintaining yourchild's oral health. During your child's regular exam, we will:
- Check for any problems that your child may not see or feel
- Look for cavities or any other signs of tooth decay
- Inspect your child's teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease
- Perform a thorough teeth cleaning
Each regular exam includes a detailed teeth cleaning, in which we will clean, polish, and rinse your child's teeth to remove any tartar and plaque that have built up on the tooth's surface.
Visiting our office every six months gives you the chance to talk to the doctor about any questions you may have about your children's oral health. Regular exams are offered by appointment only, so please contact our practice today to schedule your child's next dental exam and teeth cleaning.
Bonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. During dental bonding, a white filling is placed onto your tooth to improve its appearance. The filling “bonds” with your tooth, and because it comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades, it closely matches the appearance of your natural teeth.
Tooth bonding can also be used for tooth fillings instead of silver amalgam. Many patients prefer bonded fillings because the white color is much less noticeable than silver. Bonded fillings can be used on front or back teeth, depending on the location and extent of tooth decay.
Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and can usually be completed in one visit to our office. However, bonding can stain and is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments, such as stainless steel crowns or all porcelain children crowns. If it does break or chip, tell your doctor. The bonding can be evaluated and possibly be fixed in one visit.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. 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 your doctor may recommend removal . Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.
When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, your kid's dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may request another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and your tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, your child's 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 your doctor any concerns or preferences for sedation.
Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.
Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are usually used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important, but they can also be used on the back teeth depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay.
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay and in preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface. A fluoride treatment in your dentist’s office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or your doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months.
Whether you wear braces or not, protecting your smile while playing sports is essential. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in any kind of full-contact sport, the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you child wears a mouthguard. Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from your dentist. When you choose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well-fitted for your child's mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly. Your kids dentist can show you how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard to protect your smile.
If your child or teenager often wakes up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or if they find themselves clenching or grinding their teeth, they may have a common condition called “bruxism.” Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth, as it often occurs when one is sleeping. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, or even tooth loss. Many teenagers are susceptible to bruxism, as stress from school is believed to be the main culprit of that habit.
There is an easy, non-invasive treatment for bruxism: nightguards. Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding causes over time. Custom-made by your children's dentist from soft material to fit your child's teeth, a nightguard is inserted over the top or bottom arches and prevents contact with the opposing teeth.
Sometimes brushing is not enough, especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach spots in your kids mouth. It is difficult for your child's toothbrush to get in-between the small cracks and grooves on their teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give your teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.
Dental sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden in the deep grooves on your children's tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, brushing your kid's teeth becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.
Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth as a preventive measure against tooth decay after the permanent teeth have erupted. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and your children's dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.
Sealants last from three to five years, however it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact, so if your child's sealants come off, let the kid's dentist know, and schedule an appointment for their teeth to be re-sealed.