Q: What is preventive dentistry?
A: Preventive dentistry means a healthy smile. Preventive dental care for children includes:
- Proper nutrition and dietary habits
- Brushing and flossing
- Regular dental check-ups
- Assessing risk for developing cavities
- Evaluating oral growth and development
- Oral health education
- Protection against injuries
- Management of oral habits
- Guidance of erupting teeth
Your pediatric dentist practices preventive dentistry. Preventive dentistry for children, in addition to regular dental visits, requires parental involvement with daily oral care at home.
Q: Why is preventive dentistry important?
A: Children with a healthy mouths have a better chance of general health. Oral conditions can interfere with eating and adequate nutritional intake, speaking, self-esteem, and daily activities. Severe decay can affect growth and development. Children with dental pain may be unable to concentrate in school. A healthy mouth is more attractive, giving children confidence in their appearance. Finally, preventive dentistry can result in less extensive — and less expensive — treatment for your child.
Q: When should preventive dentistry start?
A: Preventive dentistry begins with the first tooth. Daily cleaning of the teeth should begin as soon as the first tooth erupts. Visit your pediatric dentist at the eruption of the first tooth or no later than 12 months of age to establish a dental home. Early dental visits are the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental disease and helping your child build a cavity-free smile.
Q: What role do parents play in prevention?
A: After completing a thorough oral examination and assessing your child’s risk for developing cavities, your pediatric dentist will design a personalized preventive program of home care for your child. This program will include brushing and flossing instructions, diet counseling and, if necessary, fluoride recommendations. By following these directions, you can help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.
Q: How do pediatric dentists help prevent dental problems?
A: Tooth cleaning and polishing and fluoride treatments are all part of your child’s prevention program. However, there is much more. For example, your pediatric dentist can apply sealants to protect your child from tooth decay, help you select a mouthguard to prevent sports injuries to the face and teeth, and provide early diagnosis and care of orthodontic problems. Your pediatric dentist is uniquely trained to develop a combination of office and home preventive care to insure your child a happy smile.