When it comes to your child’s teeth, it’s much easier to prevent damage from occurring than it is to reverse damage that has already happened. Preventative pediatric dentistry services in Las Vegas can help to stop tooth decay before it has a chance to begin, so your child’s teeth stay in perfect condition all the way through adulthood. There are three major preventative services that your child can undergo to set them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles. To find out more about these treatments, read on.
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that helps prevent tooth decay in two different ways. For children whose teeth aren’t fully developed yet, fluoride helps to harden the enamel of growing teeth. Fluoride also helps to harden the enamel on adult teeth that have already emerged.
There are two available options for fluoride treatments among preventative pediatric dentistry services in Las Vegas: topical and systemic.
Topical fluorides include toothpastes, mouth rinses, and professionally-applied fluoride treatments. These topical treatments help to strengthen existing teeth.
For teeth that are still forming, your dentist may recommend systemic fluoride treatments such as public water fluoridation or dietary fluoride supplements in the form of tablets, drops, or lozenges.
Your child should start using fluoridated toothpaste when they are two years old. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and encourage your child to spit out as much as possible. Children six years of age and older can start using fluoridated mouthwashes with adult supervision.
Infants tend to get their first teeth around the age of 6 months. As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, they’re eligible to start getting professional fluoride treatments. To help prevent tooth decay and cavities, your child can get fluoride treatments up to four times per year. Talk to their dentist to see what type of fluoride schedule would benefit your child the most.
As part of the preventative pediatric dentistry services in Las Vegas, our dentists will often take X-rays of your child’s teeth to make sure that there are no underlying issues.
2. Dental Cleanings
Scheduling your child for regular dental cleanings is one of the most important preventative pediatric dentistry services in Las Vegas that they can get.
Dental cleanings are a common procedure, but what actually happens during these routine cleanings? The steps are as follows:
The dentist or dental hygienist will use a scaler to scrape tartar off the teeth, both below and above the gum line.
Alternatively, the dentist may use an ultrasonic device that vibrates to shake plaque and tartar loose.
The plaque and tartar will be rinsed away with water.
Using a lightly abrasive paste, the dentist will polish the teeth.
Finally, the dentist will floss between the teeth to be sure that all plaque buildup is removed.
After a dental cleaning, the dentist will examine your child’s teeth to make sure they are healthy. The dentist will use a small metal probe and mirror to check teeth for any signs of decay. They will also check your child’s gums for any redness or swelling that can indicate gum disease.
To keep your child’s teeth at their healthiest, schedule a dental cleaning every 6 months.
3. Dental Sealants
For a long-lasting, effective preventative pediatric dentistry services in Las Vegas, consider dental sealants. Dental sealants are plastic-like coverings that are formed to fit the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth. Children start to get their permanent teeth around age 6, and these adult teeth have various pits and fissures that make it easy for food to get stuck in. This stuck-on food provides a breeding ground for cavity-causing bacteria.
Almost half of children aged 2 to 11 years old will develop at least one cavity. To help keep your child from joining that statistic, talk to their dentist about dental sealants. When applied to your child’s adult teeth, dental sealants can prevent food from getting stuck in the teeth’s crevices and will thus help prevent tooth decay. Dental sealants are impervious to saliva, bacteria, and food particles.
Dental sealants are most effective when applied to teeth with large chewing surfaces, such as molars. Your child will get their first set of molars at around age 6, and they’ll get a second set around age 12. To make sure that the dental sealants are as effective as possible, you should schedule an appointment to get your child fitted with dental sealants as soon as their molars erupt. Since there are several years between the eruption of the two sets of molars, it’s best to make one appointment at age 6 and another at age 12.
Dental sealants can be applied in just one visit to the dentist, and they don’t require any drilling or anesthetic. Most children do very well with the procedure since it’s completely painless, but if your child is particularly anxious, sedation dentistry options are available.
With proper care, dental sealants can last for up to 10 years. After that time, the sealants will naturally fall off. By the time the sealants fall off, your child will have learned proper oral care habits and will be able to care for the crevices in their teeth on their own.
If your child suffers from a broken or lost dental sealant, simply make an appointment with their dentist. Dental sealants are relatively simple to repair, and your dentist will be happy to replace any broken sealants.
While the dentists at Children’s Dentistry are equipped to handle any issues that may occur with your child’s teeth, it is much easier to prevent damage than it is to treat it. Luckily, there are many preventative pediatric dentistry services in Las Vegas that can give your child the healthy smile that they deserve. To schedule a preventative services appointment for your child, contact any one of our locations today.