Salem Preventative and Diagnostic Dentistry (Routine Teeth Cleaning Procedures)
Salem Pediatric Dental Exam
This is the part of your appointment where diagnoses are made. An oral exam is suggested every six months to help prevent cavities and other dental issues. During each exam, the mouth, head, and neck are all examined to check for abnormalities. Oral cancer screenings are also included as a part of every dental exam performed in our office for all patients.
For children, at every visit, the dentist measures jaw growth to ensure proper development. If any changes in your child’s growth pattern are detected, our doctors at Rockingham Pediatric Dental may suggest early interceptive treatment. Click here to read more about early interceptive treatment!
A regularly scheduled teeth cleaning can help keep teeth free of cavities and keep gums healthy. Dental cleanings include removal of plaque and tartar as well as polishing of teeth to remove stains and prevent further plaque buildup. Children receive a choice of flavors for toothpaste!
A topical fluoride varnish applied to the surface of teeth which absorbs into the enamel to strengthen the teeth and aid against decay. We recommend that a fluoride varnish be applied at every routine check-up visit for both children and adults to help prevent cavities.
Most patients benefit from this treatment, especially those with elevated levels of sensitivity, dry mouth, high risk for developing cavities, or are receiving post radiation treatment.
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)
Silver diamine fluoride, otherwise referred to as SDF, is an antimicrobial type of fluoride used to help slow the progress of existing decay on the teeth. It is applied topically to the tooth to treat mild levels of decay in a non-invasive, fast, and painless manner. Though a very helpful tool in the pediatric dental office, SDF cannot replace traditional restorative treatment such as fillings. It is usually used on pre-cooperative patients who may not be able to sit through more extensive restorative treatment. In other words, SDF buys time for the tooth by slowing the rate of decay until conditions are right for further restorative treatment.
Dental x-rays are a crucial tool to identify tooth decay, extra teeth, bony defects, cysts, or tumors, and check progress of previous procedures.
The latest technology allows for digital x-rays, which reduce radiation exposure by more than 90 percent and provide instant, clear images.
Oral Hygiene Instruction
Oral hygiene instructions are given to the patient and/or caregiver during each regular checkup. Proper home care can help prevent tartar and plaque buildup, which can lead to cavities. Instruction is given for proper flossing, brushing, and rinsing.
Commonly Asked Questions on Preventative and Diagnostic Dentistry for Kids
Why Do I Need Dental Exams?
Having regular dental exams help to spot any trouble in its early stages in order to prevent larger and more expensive treatments in the future. Usually, we fit your dental exam into your cleaning, you may not even notice its being done! Dental exams can only be performed by a dentist, so if you are having your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist, the doctor will come in separately and perform an exam and confirm any findings. Typically, you should have a dental exam every six months, or more often if the dentist recommends it.
Do Teeth Need Fluoride?
Fluoride is very useful in dentistry as it helps to make your teeth strong and prevents decay. The American Academy of Pediatrics(AAPD), American Dental Association (ADA), and The Center for Disease Control (CDC) all agree that kids use a toothpaste containing fluoride for brushing. Adults also benefit from using fluoride to protect their teeth as well! At our office, we recommend using a fluoride-containing mouth rinse at home to protect your teeth when you are not in the direct care of a dentist.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
Dental sealants are a durable layer of resin that flows into the grooves of the teeth to prevent decay. This material can withstand up to 9-10 years after initial replacement. In some cases, dental sealants do pop up on their own; therefore, you should make sure to schedule regular appointments with the dentist for cleanings so they can be checked upon. It’s important to know that if you lose a dental sealant, the protective shield it provides is lost, which makes your teeth more prone to developing cavities.
When Are X-Rays Necessary/How Often Do I Need to Have X-Rays?
As x-rays are a very helpful tool in making observations and diagnoses regarding your oral health, routine check-up x-rays (also called bitewing x-rays) should be performed at a yearly basis. If you come into the office experiencing pain in a certain area, or have a condition that requires monitoring via x-rays, you may need to have them more frequently. Our dentists make careful assessments regarding whether patients need x-rays, carefully weighing the benefits and potential risks before deciding on any tests or courses of treatment. If x-rays are recommended, it is likely with good reason.
My Child Plays Sports. How Should I Protect My Child’s Teeth?
An occlusal mouth guard should be one of the top priorities on your child’s list of sports equipment. Athletic mouth guards are designed to protect the child’s teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums from sports-related injuries. The mouth guard itself is a soft plastic appliance that is custom fit to your child’s teeth in order to fit comfortably. Any mouth guard works better than no mouth guard, but a custom-fit mouthguard fitted by our doctor is your child’s best protection against sports-related injuries.