Dental x-rays will be taken as needed during their routine cleaning appointments to check for cavities in between their teeth, survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone disease, evaluate the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. All of our x-ray equipment is digital and uses much less radiation than traditional dental x-rays, and your child will also wear a lead body apron with a thyroid collar during the process. If you have any concerns about x-rays for your child, please discuss them with our staff.
Routine dental cleanings and exams are important for your child to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent decay and disease. Your daily home care is also critical, but the professional cleanings remove mineralized plaque that can develop despite good brushing and flossing, particularly in areas that are difficult to reach.
Following the guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we recommend that your child see us for a cleaning and exam once every six months. These preventative appointments typically last between 30 minutes and an hour, and parents are always welcome to come back to the treatment area or wait in the lobby. Most older children do better when mom or dad don’t come back, and they enjoy the opportunity to be independent. Our staff will let you know if they feel your child is ready for this exciting milestone.
During the appointment, your child’s teeth will be polished and scaled to remove the plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces. He or she will get to pick a fun toothpaste flavor like cookie dough or bubble gum, and they will get to watch a kid-friendly movie overhead.
In addition to the cleaning, your child will also receive a concentrated fluoride treatment to help their teeth stay strong. In babies and younger children, we paint on a fluoride varnish that tastes like sweet strawberries, and you will need to wait at least 8 hours before you brush your child’s teeth at home. For older children, we use a fluoride gel that comes in many flavors, and they will need to wait 30 minutes before they eat or drink anything.
The chewing surfaces of children’s teeth are the most susceptible to cavities with their deep pits and grooves. Sealants are applied to the tops of chewing surfaces of molar teeth and are highly effective in preventing tooth decay. The application process is simple and usually takes five or ten minutes. The teeth that will be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and dried, and then the chewing surfaces are roughened with an etching solution that helps the sealants adhere to the teeth. Next the sealant is “painted” onto the tooth and a special curing light bonds and hardens it. Sealants last for several years, and will be checked and touched up as necessary at your child’s future appointments.
Getting sealants is not painful and most children have no problem with the process. They just have to stay still and have their mouth propped open with a “tooth pillow” while the sealants are being applied. In children who have high dental anxiety or a strong gag reflex, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can be administered during the sealant process to help them relax. These treatments are very affordable, especially in light of the decay protection it offers your child.