A- Brushing and Flossing

B- Dental Exam and Cleaning

C- Fluoride

D- Sealants

E- Interceptive Orthodontics

 

A- Brushing and Flossing

Brushing & Flossing Instructions

Children’s hands and mouths are different than adults. They need to use toothbrushes designed for children. Both adults and children should use brushes with soft, rounded bristles for gentle cleaning. Change to a new brush about every three months.

Wipe infant’s teeth gently with a moist, soft cloth or gauze square. As babies grow, use a child’s toothbrush with a small, pea-sized dab of toothpaste. By age two or three begin to teach your child to brush. You will still need to brush where they miss. Dentists and hygienists often advise children to use a gentle, short, back and forth motion to remove plaque. When children are older, they can switch to this method.

Hold the brush at a 45 degrees angle towards teeth and gums. Move brush back and forth with short strokes, about a half tooth wide. 

 Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth, top and bottom. 

 Hold the brush flat on top of the teeth and brush the chewing surfaces. 

 Gently brush the tongue to remove debris. 

 Floss between teeth daily. 

When To Begin Brushing

Once your child's teeth begin erupting, you can begin cleaning them by wiping them with a moist washcloth. As your child gets more teeth, you can begin to use a soft child's toothbrush. You should use just a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (such as Baby OraGel) until your child is able to spit it out (too much fluoride can stain their teeth).

For most toddlers, getting them to brush their teeth can be quite a challenge. Some suggestions for making tooth brushing less of a battle can include:

 Let your child brush your teeth at the same time. 

 Let your child pick out a few toothbrushes with his favorite characters and giving him a choice of which one he wants to use each time (this will give him some feeling of control over the situation). 

 Let your child brush his own teeth first (you will likely have to "help out"). 

 Let your child some children's books about tooth brushing. 

 Have everyone brush their teeth at the same time. 

To help your child understand the importance of brushing, it can be sometimes fun and helpful to let them eat or drink something that will “stain“ their teeth temporarily and then brush them clean.

It can also be a good idea to create a "tooth brushing routine". And stick to the same routine each day.

 

B- Dental Exam and Cleaning

 Dental Exam

A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit.  At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:

  • Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss.  X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
  • Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
  • Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.

 

Professional Dental Cleaning

Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:

  • Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface.  Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth.  It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva.  The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums.  This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!
  • Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

 

 C- Fluoride

 Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies.  The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.

Fluoride works in two ways:

Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay.  We gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels.  Dentists and dental hygienists generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.

Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums.  We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies.  It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician.  Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years.  It is very important to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests.  If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.

Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:

•Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.

•Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.

•Fair to poor oral hygiene habits.

•Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.

•Inadequate exposure to fluorides.

•Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications.

•Recent history of dental decay.

Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay!  It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.

 

D- Sealants 

 A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth.  More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves.  Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay.  A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.

Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits.

Reasons for sealants:

  • Children and teenagers – As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-16.
  • Adults – Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves or depressions.
  • Baby teeth – Occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and child is cavity prone.
 
What do sealants involve?

Sealants are easily applied by your dentist or dental hygienist and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth. 

The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry.  A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth.  The teeth are then rinsed and dried.  Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions.  Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light.

Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.

 

E- Interceptive Orthodontics

Early detection and treatment gives your child the edge: a much better chance for natural and normal development. By working with the natural growth instead of against it, we can prevent problems from becoming worse, and give your child a lifetime of healthy smiles!

Early orthodontic treatment should be initiated for:

  • Space maintenance (for missing teeth)
  • Habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking 
  • A constricted airway due to swollen adenoids or tonsils 
  • Mouth breathing or snoring problems 
  • A bad bite 
  • Bone problems (i.e. narrow or underdeveloped jaws)