How will my child benefit from regular preventive dental visits?
Children with healthy mouths have a better chance of overall good general health. Studies show that children with dental pain have decreased school performance, poorer social skills, and decreased success later in life. Pleasant childhood dental visits help keep them cavity-free, help ensure we catch any potential problems early, and help promote the establishment of trust and confidence that will last a lifetime.
What do you do at a preventive dental visit?
At these visits our dental team will:
- Clean and polish the teeth to remove any debris that has built up.
- Check that the gum tissue and other oral soft tissues are healthy.
- Check the teeth for cavities and any developmental defects.
- Check if the bite (occlusion) is developing normally.
- Review home care and oral hygiene instructions.
- Apply fluoride to help strengthen the teeth’s enamel surface.
- Take radiographs (x-rays) if indicated.
- Devise a treatment plan to treat any problems found.
- Review everything for you and your child.
How often should my child see the Pediatric Dentist for preventive dental visits?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that most children be seen for preventive dental visits every six months. Some children who have: an increased risk of tooth decay, poor oral hygiene, unusual growth patterns, and/or are undergoing orthodontic treatment may require more frequent visits.
What if my child is nervous about dental visits?
If you are faced with questions from your child about upcoming dental visits, we offer the following suggestion. Answer honestly. The best and honest answer is, “I’m not sure what will be done. When we see Dr. Schneider, let’s ask him. I’m sure he will explain what will happen.” Your child may become confused or apprehensive when given more information than he or she can understand. It is advisable to aviod pharses like "Don't worry, it won't hurt." Your child may not have been worrying, until you said that. More importantly, what will be done might, be a little uncomfortable and they may lose trust if what was promised is not fulfilled. Pediatric dentists use a special format called “tell, show, do” and appropriate language to prepare your child for each visit. Even if your child experiences worry, do not try to deny or cover up the worry. Let your youngster know it is O.K. to worry and make sure they tell the doctor about it.
When a child has finished a visit avoid saying, “That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Rather, stress how proud you are that your child helped Dr. Schneider. Remember... accentuate the positive.
We have noticed that young children, even those who have done well during treatment, may cry upon seeing a parent after treatment. This may be related to relief or to seeking sympathy. A hug goes a long way.
If you accompany your child to the treatment area, please do not answer those questions which Dr. Schneider has directed toward the youngster. This allows your child to focus on Dr. Schneider and permits the establishment of good “one on one” rapport. Some of the questions are merely our efforts to establish communication with your child. Your child will learn that you will answer when he or she does not.
The ability of the dentist to communicate and work with your child is a cornerstone of Pediatric Dentistry. Please feel free to discuss with us any concerns you have in these matters.
What about home care?
Achieving and maintaining optimum dental health for your child and having fun at the same time requires a joint effort. We will teach you and your child proper home care, but it is your responsibility for cleaning your child’s teeth during their first several years and for overseeing the process through late childhood. We recommend brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and no more then a pea-sized about o flouride toothpaste. Good habits started now will yield a lifetime of good dental health.
What are sealants and how do they work?
Even with good brushing and flossing it is difficult, almost impossible, to clean the grooves and pits on certain teeth. Food and bacteria can build up in these areas and lead to cavities. Sealants help solve this problem. Sealants are the same type of material as a bonded composite filling but in a more liquid form. After the tooth is specially cleaned, the sealant is “painted” into any deep grooves and crevices. The sealant fills in these areas so that food and bacteria cannot get stuck there, thus lowering the risk of decay.
Which teeth do you seal?
First and second permanent (grownup) molars are the most common teeth that benefit from sealants, as they usually have deeper crevices on the chewing surfaces. For some children, the tongue side of their upper front permanent teeth and their premolars may also form with deep pits, in which case they should be sealed as well.Less frequently we may also find deep crevices that require sealing on primary (baby) molars.
How often do you take radiographs (x-rays)?
Our office is very conservative in our use of radiographs and we only take them when we expect that they will provide important information that will impact on your child’s dental health. Frequency is determined by each child’s individual needs. If you have recent radiographs from another dentist we will be glad to use them instead of taking new ones. We will always discuss the need for radiographs with you before any are taken.
How safe are dental radiographs?
Dental radiographs are very safe and are a much smaller risk then undetected and/or untreated dental problems. To further reduce any unneeded radiation exposure we use lead aprons and the latest digital x-ray technology. Digital radiographs use less x-ray radiation than “old-style” radiographs and are also better for the environment as they do not require the use of toxic developing chemicals.
What type of fillings do you use?
Our office has made a commitment not to use amalgam (mercury containing) restorations with our patients. We use white, bonded, composite restorations for most of the teeth we restore. Occasionally a back tooth may be so severely damaged that it requires covering with a stainless steel crown. While these crowns are silver-colored, they do not contain mercury.