One of the most important services that we provide for our patients is preventive care for kids and we are always excited to welcome new patients into our practice.
Early education for parents is important to help prevent cavities and allows us to address bad habit correction or improve dental alignment that may affect your child’s development and speech.
Benefits of an early dental visit:
- Familiarity with professional dental care. Beginning dental visits early improves the chances your child will view the dentist’s office as a regular part of their life
- Parental help and support: Parents should brush their children’s teeth up to the age of 9 due to manual dexterity and brain/hand coordination and Hernandez can discuss ways to prevent tooth decay, giving you the tools to stop cavities before they start.
- Treating cavities early: Cavities can form in baby teeth at any age; should your child develop cavities, early treatment will prevent potential infections, abscesses, and damage to the developing permanent teeth.
- Early monitoring for dental disease or developing dental problems. The sooner we notice a problem in tooth alignment or supporting structures, the sooner we can adjust it and prevent the need for braces (or more importantly removing teeth) for the sake of a perfect smile.
As with other areas of childhood development, starting off on the right foot with oral care can make all the difference to your child’s future dental health. The sooner you begin regular dental visits with your toddler, the better their chances for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
In accordance with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we recommend that every child should be seen for an oral evaluation within 6 months of the eruption of his/her first tooth or before his/her first birthday and then have their teeth cleaned by the dental hygienist and examined by the dentist at least every six months.
YOUR CHILD’S FIRST VISIT
What we do at the first visit will depend on your child’s age and cooperation. We strive to make the first visit an easy, fast, positive experience, so your child will want to return in the future. Parents are welcome to accompany their child throughout the entire visit, often sitting them on your lap during the treatment.
What can you expect at your first visit with Parkwood Dental:
- Meet Dr. Hernandez and our staff
- A tooth cleaning with a registered Dental Hygienist
- A comprehensive exam and treatment plan
- X-rays (if needed)
- Fluoride treatment
- Diet and oral hygiene education (for kids and parents)
- Take-home toothbrush and flavored paste
Our dental hygienists will clean and polish your children’s teeth which removes plaque, bacteria and tartar (calculus) which has accumulated on their teeth and gums. We recommend children under the age of 9 be seen in the morning when they are fresh and have excused absence forms for you to bring to your child’s school if needed.
In preparing your child for their first visit at Parkwood Dental, please be positive and explain that it will be a fun visit where we will brush and count his/her teeth and leave the rest of the details to us. Dr. Hernandez will gladly answer any further questions he/she has about the appointment.
If you are returning for a cleaning visit, we are excited to see you again!
We’ll also show you and your children how to properly clean your teeth and gums based on patterns noted during the cleaning appointment. Also, the hygienist can suggest avoiding certain foods or drinks if she sees patterns developing (e.g. avoiding excess soda consumption if demineralization of enamel is noted).
In addition to good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing, there are other ways to protect teeth from decay. Dental sealants can protect teeth and seal them off from acids and decay-causing bacteria.
Sealants are made of plastic and are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to prevent decay. The plastic fits into the deep depressions and grooves of teeth that toothbrush bristles often can’t reach. Sealants are “painted” onto the deep grooves on the biting surface of the tooth and bonded and hardened by the use of a special curing light.
Decay can begin early in life so sealants are applied to children’s and teenagers’ premolars and molars to protect them. Sealants can protect an adult’s teeth too.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in various concentrations in soil and drinking water. During your child’s regular hygiene visits, our hygienist may recommend applying a fluoride varnish after your child’s cleaning to help fight tooth decay. The varnish is painted onto your cleaned teeth and remains for several hours, allowing maximum time for absorption.
Why is fluoride important?
Every day, a tooth’s enamel (the outer layer that makes a tooth hard) has minerals both added to it (remineralization) and removed from it (demineralization). During remineralization, minerals such as fluoride, calcium and phosphate are added to the enamel layer via foods and drinks that contain these minerals. Minerals are lost (demineralization) when acids—from bacteria in the mouth and certain foods and drinks—attack the enamel. Tooth decay results when the enamel loses more minerals than it receives.
How does fluoride prevent tooth decay?
Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks. Fluoride also helps to speed remineralization of erupted teeth in both children and adults.
Where is fluoride found?
Although some foods, such as seafood and certain teas, naturally contain fluoride, the primary source of fluoride is drinking water. Tap water in most cities in the United States contains fluoride. Some, but not all, bottled waters contain fluoride. Fluoride also can be applied directly to teeth through toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain fluoride. You can buy these products at most pharmacies and grocery stores. Dentists can also apply fluoride directly to your teeth in the form of a gel, foam or varnish. These products contain a much higher level of fluoride than toothpastes and mouth rinses.
When should fluoride use begin?
Infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years should receive fluoride. Their primary teeth and permanent teeth develop during these ages, so the stronger their enamel is, the better. Because most children receive their first permanent teeth at around age 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends prescribing fluoride supplements for children between the ages of 6 and 16 who are at high risk for dental caries and whose community water source is less than optimal. In areas that have minimal fluoride in the water, fluoride supplementation may begin earlier. Although fluoride is an immediate concern for children and adolescents, adults also can benefit from fluoride. Topical fluoride—including toothpastes, mouth rinses and fluoride treatments—is as important for fighting tooth decay in adults as it is for strengthening the teeth of children.
Straight Jaw Appliance
T4K™ is a pre-orthodontic appliance that will help at different stages of your child’s jaw development. It also helps permanent teeth come in properly by keeping your child’s jaw properly shaped. Since this product works at different stages in your child’s development, it’s never too late to see us!
Ask us how we can help your child’s jaw develop properly and potentially avoid braces!
T4K™ can help your child’s jaw development in many ways:
- Early orthodontic treatment
- Habit correction – trains the tongue to position properly in the mouth
- Facial development – helps position the jaw properly
- There are many more advantages to using T4K™.
Call our office at 941-254-2773 today to learn more!