Dental Checkups and Cleanings
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child's first dental visit after the first tooth erupts and no later than the child's first birthday. This enables the children's dentist to do a baseline oral care exam and provide parents with children's dental care information to help properly care for the child's unique dental needs.
Everyone, especially kids, should see the dentist to have their teeth cleaned every six months. Decay is more likely to happen when kids are young so it is important to have regular appointments.
During each teeth cleaning appointment, you and your child can expect a:
- Full oral exam to identify changes in the tissues of the mouth.
- Diagnosis of any dental conditions. The dentist will perform the exam and look for cavities or other dental conditions.
- Preventative cleaning. The hygienist will clean and polish the teeth to remove sticky bacteria, called plaque. When plaque builds up, it can cause tooth decay. The hygienist will also teach your child proper brushing and flossing as needed, and answer any dental questions you may have.
Fillings are necessary when small cavities are found. Parents and kids have the choice of what type of fillings are used.
White, or composite, fillings are designed to match the color of the tooth. White fillings are often used on front teeth for a more natural look. White fillings do cost a little more and may not be strong enough in certain situations.
Silver, or amalgam, fillings are generally stronger and less costly than white fillings; however, they look less natural in the mouth. Silver fillings are often used in the back teeth where they are less noticeable and where chewing force requires stronger fillings.
Fluoride helps protect teeth from decay. Fluoride treatments are given once a year, or as needed to restore fluoride levels, to all children under the age of 14 during their regularly scheduled exam and cleaning. The fluoride is either a foam or gel placed in trays set over the child's teeth.
Dental sealant are a tooth colored plastic material applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth to "seal out" plaque and food to prevent cavities. The sealant material is simply painted onto the chewing surface of the back teeth where it bonds and hardens in seconds. Sealants are commonly placed on the perminate 6 year and 12 year molars because decay is more likely to develop on these back teeth.
Space maintainers hold the place of a tooth that has prematurely fallen out of a child's mouth due to decay or injury. A space maintainer can be a band or crown attached to another tooth. The dentist will remove the space maintainer once the permanent tooth starts to grow in. If a space maintainer is not put in the vacant space the surrounding teeth can crowd and take over that space. This makes the permanent tooth come in crooked or crowded which leads to difficulties in chewing and talking.
Your child will need a full set of x-rays every 3-5 years and bite wing (partial) x-rays every year. New patients will need full x-rays at their first appointment unless recent x-rays are submitted from a previous dentist. X-rays are very important in finding cavities and disease not seen by the naked eye. We use low-levels of x-rays to make them as safe as possible.
Evaluations for Orthodontic treatment often comes before age 12. Redwood offers full Orthodontics services for children and adults.