Preventive Dentistry

Why is preventive dentistry important?

Preventive dentistry means a healthy smile for your child.
Children with healthy mouths chew more easily and gain
more nutrients from the foods they eat. They learn to speak
more quickly and clearly. They have a better chance of
general health, because disease in the mouth can endanger
the rest of the body. A healthy mouth is more attractive,
giving children confidence in their appearance. Finally,
preventive dentistry means less extensive and less expensive
treatment for your child.

When should preventive dentistry start?

Preventive dentistry begins with the first tooth. Visit your pediatric dentist at the eruption of the first tooth or by age one. You will learn how to protect your infant’s dental health. As visits continue your
child will also learn. And the earlier the first dental visit, the better the chances of preventing dental disease and helping your child build a cavity-free smile.

What role do parents play in prevention?

After evaluating your child’s dental health, your pediatric
dentist will design a personalized program of home care for
your child. This program will include brushing and flossing
instructions, diet counseling, and if necessary, fluoride
recommendations. By following these directions, you can
help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.

How do pediatric dentists help prevent dental problems?

Tooth cleaning and polishing and fluoride treatments are all
part of your child’s prevention program. However, there is
much more. For example, your pediatric dentist can apply
sealants to protect your child from tooth decay, help you select
a mouth guard to prevent sports injuries to the face and teeth,
and provide early diagnosis and care of orthodontic problems.
Your pediatric dentist is uniquely trained to develop a
combination of office and home preventive care to insure
your child a happy smile.

Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should take place no later than age 7 or at the first sign of orthodontic problems.

  • Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
  • Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
  • Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
  • Preserving space for unerupted teeth
  • Reducing the need for tooth removal
  • Reducing treatment time with braces

According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontics, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Open bites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile; it creates a healthier you.

Space Maintenance

Space maintainers are appliances made of metal or plastic
that are custom fit to your child’s mouth. They are small
and unobtrusive in appearance. Most children easily

adjust to them after the first few days.

The way they work is by holding open the empty space left by a lost tooth. They steady the remaining teeth, preventing movement until the permanent tooth takes its natural position in the jaw. It is more affordable – and easier on your child – to keep teeth in normal positions with a space maintainer than to move them back in place with orthodontic treatment.

 

Silver Diamine Fluoride

Silver

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a clinically applied treatment that controls active dental caries and aids in preventing further progression of the disease. SDF has a dual mechanism of action resulting from the combination of its ingredients. 1, 2 The silver component acts as an anti-microbial agent killing bacteria and preventing the formation of new biofilm, while the fluoride acts to prevent further demineralization of tooth structure. Application of SDF is simple and noninvasive. Initially, the teeth are brushed without paste and rinsed. The carious teeth are isolated, kept dry, and all excess debris is removed. A microbrush is dipped in a drop of SDF and placed on the lesion(s) for two minutes. Then, excess SDF is removed and patients are instructed to not eat or drink for one hour. The only reported side effect has been reversible staining of the tooth at the site of SDF application which is a common occurrence.

SDF has clinical utility in children and adolescents when patient cooperation for restorative dentistry is limited due to young age, situational anxiety, or intellectual and developmental disabilities. Application of SDF does not restore form and function to teeth with dental caries as do traditional restorations. Use of SDF without a plan for restoration of the decayed teeth could provide a reservoir for exacerbation of the caries process via food impaction in cavitated lesions and subsequent metabolism of fermentable carbohydrates to acid by cariogenic bacteria.

SDF is not a complete solution to caries risk.  Single application has been reported to be insufficient for sustained benefit.7  Its downsides include a reportedly unpleasant metallic taste, potential to irritate gingival and mucosal surfaces, and the characteristic black staining of the tooth surfaces to which it is applied.

SDF can be applied in our office. Dr. Island will determine if the child-patient will benefit from this treatment.