A typical patient’s comprehensive prevention program includes teeth cleaning, X-rays, and examination by a pediatric dentist. Bacteria in the mouth, called plaque, can cause decay if not properly cleaned and removed from the teeth. While it is possible for a patient to remove most plaque with brushing, floss, and mouth rinse, pediatric patients may have difficulty maintaining a plaque-free state for extended periods of time. Regular cleanings by a pediatric dental professional are important to remove hardened plaque and stains from the teeth. During treatments, hard surfaces are polished to minimize the accumulation and retention of plaque. This process also introduces dental procedures to the young child to begin a lifelong preventive dental routine.
Most cavities in children are found on the chewing surfaces of back teeth. These teeth have deep grooves and depressions, and can be extremely difficult to clean away food and cavity-causing bacteria with conventional brushing. By placing dental sealants, these susceptible areas of the teeth are protected by covering the crevices with a clear or white resin material. Sealants essentially “seal out” food and bacteria from residing on the tooth surface, which significantly reduces the risk of decay.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that is safe and effective for preventing tooth decay. Fluoride that is ingested through water, food, or supplements is incorporated into developing tooth structure. The tooth enamel becomes stronger and more resistant to acid from cavity-causing bacteria. Fluoride that is applied to the outside of teeth prevents loss of minerals from tooth enamel and promotes replacement of minerals that have been lost due to acid attacks. Topical fluoride is also a very effective method in repairing early decay before it becomes an irreversible cavity. Another benefit of Flouride is that it stops the bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities, reducing the amount of acid that is produced by these bacteria.
Periodic cleanings by a dental professional are important to remove plaque, hardened plaque and stain from the teeth, polish hard surfaces to minimize the accumulation and retention of plaque, and introduce dental procedures to the young child and apprehensive patient.