Over the next couple of weeks, many kids in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will be heading back to school. Which means now you are likely helping them prepare by picking up supplies and new clothes. But you should also consider their smile! In today’s blog, your Dallas, TX, family dentist talks about how we help children improve their smiles before they head back to school!
A checkup is a great way to monitor little smiles and make sure they are not at risk of serious oral health issues. We recommend an initial visit at around age one, after the first primary tooth erupts. At age two and beyond, we would like to see your child every six months. The exam essentially involves our team taking a close look at the smile, which includes the use of digital x-rays and intraoral cameras, so we can make a diagnosis with precision and accuracy, and using a fraction of the radiation of traditional x-rays. A clear picture of their oral health is obtained, and we can identify problems early on, before they require extensive treatments.
For children, we want to look for tooth decay, possible infections, and gingivitis. We also look for signs of chronic teeth grinding, and we make sure the baby teeth are erupting and falling out as they should and that permanent teeth arrive properly. Doing so helps us assess the risk of misalignment and the need for retainers or other orthodontics in the future. In some cases, we can treat problems before school starts, as treatments like dental filling placement only takes one visit to complete.
The Dental Cleanings
Our team will also take time to clean the teeth. While daily brushing and flossing are crucial for limiting plaque buildup, to completely remove the buildup and protect the smile a professional cleaning is necessary. With an ultrasonic scaling device and a manual tool. Our team will break up and remove all plaque and tartar from the surfaces of the teeth. We then polish them for a brighter appearance and smoother feel. Cleaning the teeth helps lower the risk of cavities and gingivitis, while also fighting bad breath and limiting the severity of teeth stains.
Fillings and Other Cavity Treatments
What if we discover a cavity? If the decay is in the very early stages of demineralization and is located in the side or rear teeth, we could apply Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF). This limits the threat of decay to prevent it from growing worse and requiring a filling. If a filling is needed, our team can offer anesthesia and gently remove decay and clean the tooth. We then apply a metal-free composite resin that is safe for all ages, and that can be shaded to blend with the tooth and look natural. We then sculpt the tooth as the material cures beneath a light. The last step is to polish the tooth. In only one sitting, we can treat cavities and help kids start school with healthier smiles! Our team also offers lifelike dental crowns for smiles, and emergency treatment should injuries happen.
Preventive Treatment Options
Our team can also implement unique treatment options to limit the risk cavities forming during the school year. For example, when they arrive for a checkup, we will also apply a fluoride gel to the teeth. This topical treatment helps strengthen the protective layer of enamel, preventing the enamel erosion linked to cavities. You can also help by choosing fluoride toothpastes for your children! Kids three and younger need a rice sized bit of toothpaste, while those over the age of three need a pea sized amount.
We also know that children often have trouble reaching the molars when they brush and floss. As a result, food particles can remain trapped on or between the molars, leaving these teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay. However, to help safeguard the teeth our team can apply a dental sealant. This plastic layer coats the rear teeth so food cannot become trapped there. The application takes minutes, and the layers can stay in place for up to ten years in some cases. They wear away gradually with time, but will tend to cling longest to the more vulnerable parts of each tooth!
Assessing Breathing Obstruction
Sometimes, complications with the growth and development of the jaw could impact facial esthetics and also limit the ability to breathe properly at night. This limited breathing means interruptions to sleep cycles. So kids can begin to act out during the day or fall behind on class work and emotional milestones. If your child has trouble going to sleep, waking up, or gets up several times in the night, consider an appointment. If we find issues with breathing obstruction, we can provide a custom oral appliance to help guide the growth and development of the smile and keep airways open. Children are then less likely to have tantrums, and will have an easier time paying attention in classes.
In between these visits, you can help your kids by making sure they brush twice a day and use a fluoride toothpaste. Kids also need to floss every evening too. Try to offer alternatives to sugary foods and drinks too, so your little ones can enjoy better oral health. These habits will help them well in adulthood so they always have bright and strong smiles. If you have any questions about children’s dentistry, or about helping them to start their classes with their best possible smile, then contact our team today to learn more. A stunning and healthy smile is always possible for families in Dallas and Richardson, TX, and our team is here to help!
Your Dallas, TX, Dentist Improves Little Smiles
Our team wants to help kids of all ages begin a new school year with stronger and brighter smiles. For more information on how we help children enjoy better oral health throughout the year, then please schedule a consultation by calling the Viva Dental Family Dentistry office nearest you at (214) 337-7800 (Dallas) or (972) 437-6000 (Richardson). Kids can start their first day of classes with their best possible smiles.