Early childhood tooth decay is the most common health problem children suffer from, with reports showing that the condition is five times more common than asthma and four times more common than childhood obesity. In fact, reports have shown that almost a quarter of children have undiagnosed and untreated dental cavities, causing them daily discomfort.
In addition to being painful for children, a simple cavity can go on to become a full-fledged oral infection or abscess, potentially affecting the child’s overall health, which is why preventive care is so essential. The goal of our dental team is to help your child to stay healthy and happy. Here is more information about what your child should expect during preventive dental care cleanings, and how you can prepare them for the visit.
Preventive Cleanings: What to Expect
- Step 1: Discussion and Physical Exam – Before your child’s cleaning begins, you will be asked to update their medical history. You will also have the chance to talk with your child’s dental hygienist about any areas that have been bothering your child. Next, the hygienist will carefully examine the entire mouth to look for issues. A small mirror is used to check the condition of the teeth, gums, palate, and oral tissues.
- Step 2: Plaque and Tartar Removal – Next, the hygienist uses a tool called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar from the surfaces of the teeth and from the areas near the gum line. Dental hygienists at the Lowcountry Family Dentistry are incredibly gentle, and will do everything in their power to keep your child comfortable during this part of the exam.
- Step 3: Gritty Toothpaste Polishing – After plaque and tartar have been removed, the teeth are polished by using a high-powered toothbrush and a gritty toothpaste. Although this part of the exam is noisy, it just feels like an in-depth tooth brushing. Your child will have the chance to pick their preferred toothpaste flavor, like mint or strawberry. During this stage, any plaque or tartar remnants are moved and the teeth are polished to a shine.
- Step 4: Flossing and Rinsing – Before the teeth are rinsed, they are flossed carefully by the dental hygienist. This is done before rinsing to work some of the paste between the teeth to clean the area. After the teeth have all been flossed, your child will be asked to swish their mouths with water to rinse away the paste.
- Step 5: Inspection by the Dentist – After the teeth have been cleaned, polished, and rinsed, the dentist will come in to examine your child’s teeth. The dentist examines the teeth after they have been cleaned so that they can determine whether or not any damage needs to be corrected at a later appointment. During this stage, the dentist will also examine any X-rays that were taken. If your child needs additional dental work, the dentist will schedule the appointment and tell you what to expect.
- Step 6: Fluoride Treatment – To keep your child’s dental enamel strong and healthy, the preventive cleaning appointment ends with a fluoride treatment. Fluoride strengthens the molecular bonds within the dental enamel, helping to ward off dental decay. During this step, your child will be asked to swish with a very mild fluoride mouthwash for two minutes.
- Step 7: Dental Sealants – If you really want to keep your child’s teeth safe, consider asking the dentist about dental sealants, which consist of a food-safe plastic that is painted directly onto your child’s teeth. Sealants are incredibly effective at preventing dental decay, and can last as long as ten years.
Why should my child have his teeth cleaned every six months?
It’s not just children who should have their teeth cleaned every six months; that’s a good routine for everyone, including adults, to get into. That’s because a professional teeth cleaning also serves as an early warning system for your dental health. During your teeth cleaning appointment, the dentist and hygienist can look for signs of other potential problems – cavities, receding gums, or early orthodontic concerns – and get an early start on correcting them.
Is there a link between healthy teeth and overall health?
There sure is! There’s a lot of truth to the saying that your oral health reflects your overall health. New research tells us that if your oral health is poor, there may also be other health problems. For example, bad breath and bleeding gums can be a signal of diabetes, while gum disease can be a sign of cardiovascular (heart) troubles. When you consider that over 90% of conditions that negatively impact our bodies have oral symptoms, the link between oral health and overall health is easy to see.
Why Choose Lowcountry Family Dentistry?
At Lowcountry Family Dentistry, we’re dedicated to treating our young patients and educating them on how to properly care for their teeth. Children can develop a fear of going to the dentist office, which is why we’re committed to making them feel more at ease during routine cleanings and oral exams. After years of effectively treating children, we consider ourselves experts in behavior management, and we believe this is what sets us apart from other dentists. Many general dentists treat children, but our office has gained a local reputation for being particularly good with children and special needs patients. The team at our Lady’s Island dentist office is dedicated to making every visit relaxed and fun so that both the child and their parents enjoy their time with us.
Schedule An Appointment
If you’re searching for a family dentist in the Beaufort, SC area, Lowcountry Family Dentistry is always accepting great new patients. Call us at 843-986-0177 or schedule an appointment online to learn more about how our dental team can offer care for your entire family.