Prevention Dentistry for Children Builds Trusting Relationships
The team at Orange County Pediatric Dental Group are dedicated to helping children benefit from a healthy mouth as they transition to adult teeth. We provide compassionate care for young patients, so they feel comfortable coming to our office for cleanings and gentle treatment.
Treating all our young patients with the unique, tender care they deserve, we welcome children with special health care needs in Orange County. Schedule an appointment today!
When Should A Child First See A Dentist?
Our pediatric dentists are trained to evaluate infants. We encourage parents to schedule an exam around their first birthday.
Baby teeth play an important role in child development, and the early detection of oral health problems will minimize the need for complex treatment later. We examine infants’ mouths while they lay on parent’s laps and young children are treated gently and kindly to minimize stereotypical anxiousness when visiting a dentist.
Once their first exam and cleaning are complete, our young patients feel comfortable to return.
Safe and Thorough Cleanings and Exams
Dental exams and cleanings are one of the most important components of maintaining overall oral health. Regular examinations help our pediatric dentists to identify problems in your child’s mouth at an earlier stage. This gives our doctors the opportunity to discuss non-surgical options (when possible) or to treat problem areas before they become more painful or when extensive damage has occurred to the teeth.
We highly recommend that our patients receive their dental examinations and professional cleanings at least twice per year. Our pediatric dentists will let you know if your child or if your adult with special needs would benefit from a more frequent interval.
What to Expect from A Pediatric Dental Exam?
Our pediatric dentists will perform a thorough dental exam during your child’s dental visit. Regular visits will include the following (will vary based on each patient’s cooperation and age):
- Diagnostic X-rays (varies based on cooperation and individual caries/cavity risk): X-rays are necessary to detect cavities and tooth development. Also, they can be used to assess tooth position, tooth eruption, root position, tumors, cysts, bone loss, and the quality of prior dental treatments.
- Oral Cancer Screening: a preventive procedure, through which your child’s neck, throat, face, lips, tissues, gums, and tongue are checked for any indications of oral cancer.
- Evaluation of Periodontal (Gum) Disease and Soft-tissue Abnormalities: our doctors will examine your child’s gums to assess periodontal disease. Yes, even children and teenagers can be affected by periodontal (gum) disease. We will also assess other soft tissue abnormalities which may be present in your child’s mouth, head, and neck.
- Dental Examination: our pediatric dentists will evaluate your child’s mouth to see which teeth are present, unerupted, or missing. Each tooth is checked for cavities, broken/chipped teeth, and existing dental work. Our dentists will evaluate the condition of previous dental treatment to determine if it is sound or if it requires monitoring or replacement.
- Orthodontic Evaluation: an orthodontic evaluation is performed to determine if your child’s bite is developing normally or if there are problems or potential problems that are present. Many orthodontic problems are managed with early intervention when caught at a young age.
- Diet and Hygiene Counseling: our doctors and staff will discuss potential areas that can cause harm to your teeth and will work with you to develop a healthier home care program. A short questionnaire will help us assess areas with your child’s diet and hygiene that could increase your child’s chance of getting cavities. Orange County Pediatric Dental Group strongly believes in practicing preventive dentistry and offers many ideas that can be used at home to support optimal oral health.
- Airway Assessment: our doctors will evaluate your child’s airway. Did you know that snoring and teeth grinding are not normal? We will ask relevant questions to determine if there could be airway abnormalities that could be contributing to these habits. Based on our findings, we will make recommendations for follow-up with your child’s physician or specialist.
- Habits: many habits such as thumb and finger sucking, tongue thrusting, pacifier use, nail-biting, etc. can negatively affect your child’s teeth and bite. Our doctors will perform an evaluation based on a questionnaire and examination of your child’s mouth to determine if these are having an impact on your child’s mouth.
During this appointment, the plaque on your child’s teeth is professionally removed. Plaque contains a growing bacteria colony, which is fed by carbohydrates that we eat and drink. When the bacteria are fed, they produce toxins, which cause inflammation (redness and swelling) to the gums. This can lead to periodontal (gum) disease.
Existing calculus (tartar) is removed as well. When the plaque on the teeth hardens, it results in calculus. Calculus can form above and below the gum line. Calculus can only be removed by special dental instruments.
Professional cleaning is necessary because calculus can’t be removed safely at home. Special polishing material and equipment will be used to remove plaque and most surface stains on the teeth, as tolerated by your child or adult with special needs.
Visit us at Orange County Pediatric Dental Group to schedule your child’s or adult with special needs’ regular dental examination and professional teeth cleaning.
Why Are Dental Sealants Used?
Did you know that 90% of cavities occur in teeth with irregular surfaces? (Information from the CDC). Fortunately, dental sealants were developed to help protect some of these teeth.
A dental sealant is a barrier, which defends a tooth’s chewing surface from food debris and bacteria accumulation on that surface. It is an effective defense against tooth decay.
5 Tips to Improve Sealant’s Usefulness
- Continue regular flossing and brushing routines
- Avoid sticky foods and candies after sealants are placed
- Refrain from chewing on ice cubes that could break sealants
- Eat balanced, nutritious meals
- Use toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride
Sealants are just an extra shield to protect small grooves and fissures. They are routinely applied to permanent molars, but they can also be applied to susceptible primary (baby) teeth or other permanent teeth that have deep grooves or pits.
When Is the Best Time for Sealants?
The procedure should be done as soon as the permanent tooth erupts adequately for sealant application. Your Pediatric Dentist will let you know when your child is ready to have his or her teeth sealed.
What Is the Dental Sealants Procedure Like?
Our doctors place dental sealants in our office.
Before the procedure, the teeth will be thoroughly examined and cleaned. Teeth are then air abraded (like a mini sandblaster) to help thoroughly clean the tooth. We have found that this extra step greatly increases the retention of sealants. The tooth is further cleaned and rinsed, and the sealant is applied.
The sealant is painted onto the tooth, and it is dried with a special light for hardening. No “shots” are required. Our doctors will evaluate to make sure that your child can bite comfortably and make any necessary adjustments.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are an inexpensive treatment that shows excellent results in the prevention of tooth decay. Statistics show that they can reduce the caries process by 86%.
Dental sealants are beneficial to your health. Decay can result in more severe problems than just a single tooth cavity. This treatment shows outstanding long-term results in protecting the health of teeth.
Sealant application is tolerated well by most children. Patients can eat and drink immediately after placement.
Why Is Professional Fluoride Treatment Necessary?
Fluoride helps prevent cavities and promotes oral health. We recommend professional fluoride treatment at every check-up and cleaning visit.
Professional treatments at the dental office contain a higher percentage of fluoride concentration, compared with mouthwash or toothpaste for home use.
What Is the Fluoride Treatment Process?
We apply fluoride directly to the enamel surface. The application is a quick and easy procedure. Fluoride comes in three forms:
- As a varnish, it is applied with a small brush. Your child can eat and drink immediately after application
- As a foam, the fluoride is placed in a tray. Your child must wait 30 minutes after application to rinse, eat, or drink to achieve maximum results.
- Systemic fluoride is swallowed. This can include dietary fluoride supplements or fluoridated water. Your dentist will decide if systemic fluoride is indicated.
Depending on your child’s decay risk, fluoride treatments might be suggested more frequently than every 6 months.
Does Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Matter?
Yes. Fluoridation is one of the main reasons for the improved oral health of most Americans over the last 50 years.
Communities in the United States have added fluoride to their water supplies for more than 60 years. In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first community to fluoridate its water supply. Fluoride is also a common ingredient in most of the leading toothpaste.
As you have probably heard, the Metropolitan Water District has begun fluoridating the community water supply that serves 18 million residents in Southern California. This is good news for everybody!
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in many sources that you may already use. Many processed foods, such as canned foods and bottled beverages have fluoride. Even water that is not labeled as having “fluoride” will have some fluoride. Fluoride is a common ingredient in most leading toothpaste.
Protecting Young Teeth at Orange County Pediatric Dental Group
Our pediatric dentists care about the long-term oral health of their young patients. Blending skill with compassionate care, your child will benefit from preventive dentistry starting at infancy. We encourage you to make our pediatric practice your child’s dental home, to receive our comprehensive approach to preventive and restorative dental care. Schedule an appointment today!