The Importance of Preventative Care
You might think that preventative dental care happens only at the pediatric dentist’s office, but it also happens at home. With the increase in infant and toddler cavities and tooth decay, you need a dental care plan to mitigate these risks.
An infant’s first pediatric dental evaluation, typically called a “well baby” checkup, should happen near the child’s first birthday, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). The typical child should revisit the pediatric dentist every six months, unless the dentist prescribes another schedule. This schedule for preventative oral care means that the pediatric dentist can monitor and preserve the child’s oral health.
How can a pediatric dentist care for my child’s teeth?
A routine dental visit includes a full examination of the child’s mouth and professional cleaning of the teeth. The examination can identify signs of early tooth decay and chart the development of the jaw and teeth. The application of topical fluoride or dental sealants are options that can protect tooth enamel.
Dental sealants can be applied when molars emerge, usually when the child is between two and three years of age. Sealants are applied as a coating that covers the varied shape of the molars to seal out bacteria, food particles, and acid, helping to prevent tooth decay. Depending on the child’s dental care habits, sealants can last for months or years.
During each visit, the pediatric dentist interfaces with both the parent and the child. The dentist addresses parental questions and concerns, and adjusts the communication style to best suit the child. The dentist also advises about the child’s diet and oral health issues, including thumb sucking and pacifier usage. Dental staff can provide demonstrations of the proper ways to brush and floss the teeth.