Preventive Care in Highland Village

Child smiling with her eyes shut

Maintain Your Child’s Healthy Smile

At Pediatric Dental World, Dr. Clapp, Dr. Bell, Dr. Lee, and Dr. Smith specialize in preventive care for kids of all ages. From infants to toddlers, older kids, pre-teens, and teenagers, we’re here to provide your whole family with the care they need for healthy mouths and strong smiles. Learn more about our preventive services below, or contact us to schedule a six-month teeth appointment for your child right away.

Girl Getting her teeth cleaned

Routine Hygiene Appointments

Routine teeth cleanings and oral exams are absolutely essential for preventive dentistry. By seeing one of our dentists regularly, you can ensure that your child’s mouth is healthy and free of common issues like gingivitis and cavities. And, in the rare case that we do find a serious oral health problem, the team at Pediatric Dental World can provide your child with the care they need right away.

This is important because catching oral health issues early helps prevent complications. For example, a minor cavity can be treated with a filling, but if the cavity is not treated and becomes infected, it will need a root canal and a dental filling, which is a much more costly and time-consuming process. Routine care helps prevent these complications, which saves you both time and money.

Preventing Cavities

Fluoride Treatments

If your child is cavity-prone, six-month fluoride treatments are a great way to strengthen their teeth, rebuild their enamel, and reduce the risk of tooth decay in the future. Fluoride helps “remineralize” teeth, which can reverse minor decay and reduce the risk of future cavities. Here’s how the process works.

Clean and Polish Teeth

We usually perform fluoride treatments as part of a routine six-month checkup, so your child’s teeth will be cleaned, polished, and examined before the treatment begins to ensure their mouth is healthy.

Apply Fluoride to Strengthen Teeth

A fluoride varnish is gently painted on your child's teeth by their dentist or hygienist. They are able to eat and drink right away, but we kindly ask patients to steer clear of super hot drinks or foods for the next 8 hours to let the fluoride do its job. The fluoride will attract minerals like calcium and phosphates to your child’s teeth, remineralizing and strengthening them.

Prevent Cavities with Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are made of a layer of thin, transparent resin, and can completely prevent cavities for up to 10 years with proper application, so they’re great for kids who struggle with tooth decay. Here’s how the process works.

sparkling tooth

Clean and Dry The Tooth

Your child’s teeth will be cleaned, then the tooth receiving sealants will be rinsed, dried, and isolated. Then, the tooth will be gently etched with a mild acid to give the surface more grip for the resin. Finally, it will be rinsed and dried again to prepare for resin application.

bottle of resin

Apply Liquid Resin

Your child’s dentist or hygienist will apply a thin layer of resin to the tooth in liquid form, ensuring the enamel is completely covered.

Dental chair with light above it

Harden Resin with a UV Light

Using a UV light, your child’s dentist will harden the sealant, creating a strong protective barrier that prevents the direct contact of food, bacteria, and acid. In turn, this stops the formation of cavities.

When Should My Kids First Visit the Dentist?

The American Dental Association recommends that you take your child to the dentist when one of two events happens – your child’s first tooth erupts or they turn one year old. You are to take your child to the dentist for a checkup when whichever of these events happens first. 

At the appointment, the dentist will examine your child’s gums, tooth, and jaw alignment. We will then discuss what you can expect from their teething schedule. 

This visit is also very informative for parents because the dentist will discuss how you can prevent tooth decay, how to feed your child a nutritious diet that prevents cavities, how to wean your child off of baby bottles, pacifiers, and thumb sucking, as well as how to properly brush their teeth. 

This appointment is also very important for your child not only because it gives us an overview of their current oral health and development, but also because it gets them acquainted with the dentist. 

Your child needs to form a consistent and early dental home to prevent their risk of developing dental anxiety. This will ensure they have a good relationship with oral health care and don’t avoid the dentist.

Girl Getting her teeth cleaned
Girl Getting her teeth cleaned

My Child Is Scared of the Dentist, What Do I Do?

We recommend that you prepare your child for dental visits by only speaking positively about the dentist and that you avoid using negative words or imagery that could elicit fear. Never use words like drill, pain, or needles even if you are saying that there won’t be any. 

Introducing these words into your child’s mind will let their imagination run wild with fear. If you as a parent hate going to the dentist or are fearful of the dentist, you should not let this show or talk about it in front of your child. Children are like sponges that soak up everything that they observe. 

Make going to the dentist sound fun by telling your child that the dentist is going to count all of their teeth so you know how many they have. Let them take a comfort item like a stuffed animal for emotional support and use positive reinforcement to reward them for sitting through their appointment. 

Other preparation tactics include normalizing going to the dentist by reading books and watching TV shows about dental visits. Talk to us about your child’s anxiety and we can make arrangements to accommodate them.

 At Pediatric Dental World, you can bring your child in for a tour of the office before their appointment to feel more comfortable. We can also adjust the setting and allow for a longer appointment or administer dental sedation. Your child can be distracted during their appointment by watching their favorite TV show or movie.

Most Common Dental Problems In Children

Tooth Decay - Baby teeth are thinner than permanent teeth and are at higher risk of developing cavities. This is especially so if your child continues to use a baby bottle past the age of 1 year old or if you give your child sugary drinks in their baby bottle. This can cause something known as baby bottle tooth decay. Protect your child’s cavity risk by weaning them off of baby bottles after the first year of life, reducing their intake of sugar, and practicing good oral hygiene.

Dental Trauma - Young kids are very active and clumsy. Accidents can happen at any time so you need to carefully monitor your child and make sure they are protected from oral injuries. If your child plays a sport, it’s recommended that they wear a mouthguard in case they get hit in the face or if they grind their teeth. Dental trauma can chip, crack, or break your child’s teeth. This can also lead to infection which requires more invasive treatment. Prevention is your best bet here, but if your child does damage their teeth, take them to the dentist for an emergency appointment immediately.

Tooth Sensitivity - Sensitive teeth are often a sign that your child’s enamel is eroding and this is usually to a diet high in sugar and acidity, which causes repeated acid attacks to their enamel. However, sensitivity can also be a sign of a more serious problem like an infection. To protect your child’s teeth, make sure they get adequate fluoride intake and reduce their consumption of sugar, carbohydrates, and acids. 

Thumb Sucking - Thumb sucking and using a pacifier past a certain point can start to cause long-term oral health problems. When it continues past the age of 4, your child is at an increased risk for developing a narrow palate, a speech impediment, bite problems, and sensitivity in the roof of their mouth. We recommend that you use positive reinforcement to wean your child off of these habits as early as possible, ideally after the first year of life, but definitely, before the permanent teeth begin to erupt.

Girl Getting her teeth cleaned

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