Dental care for young children and adolescents is a very important part of setting your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. The trusted dental professionals at Balaci Dental Group provide top-notch, gentle dental care for children of all ages to protect their oral health, prevent cavities, and impart excellent oral hygiene habits early. Positive dental experiences during routine cleanings and exams can have a beneficial effect on a child’s smile well into adulthood. These early appointments promote good oral hygiene habits such as proper brushing and flossing and help to foster a healthy relationship with the dentist, which reduces the likelihood of developing dental anxiety in the future.
Specialists in pediatric dentistry have unique training and experience providing the kind of nurturing care and attention that young children require, and our staff is well versed in creating a calm and friendly environment for our young patients. A good way to plan for early care for your child is to think first tooth, first year, first visit — the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association both recommend children visit the dentist six months after a first tooth has erupted.
Cleanings and Dental Exams
Just like adults, children should receive regular cleanings and checkups once every six months (twice a year). After your child’s first visit, which should occur during the first year, routine teeth cleanings should begin around age 3 to remove buildup that brushing and flossing at home can’t remove. Your child’s first visit to the dentist is usually easy, especially if it is an early visit in the first year of your child’s life. During this visit, your child will likely sit on your lap during a quick exam as the dentist checks for signs of plaque buildup, proper tooth eruption sequence, and any abnormalities or signs of oral infection. As your child ages, the dentist will check on the developing permanent teeth to make sure everything is on track. Many oral health conditions that are common in children, such as impacted canines, can be prevented if they are detected ahead of time.
Because children don’t usually brush as thoroughly as adults, the dentist will be able to clean plaque from those hard-to-reach places while also checking for cavities and other signs of dental infection. Even though baby teeth will eventually be replaced with permanent teeth, these measures are important because serious cases of tooth decay can cause complications that could affect your child’s permanent teeth. Premature loss of baby teeth due to decay can also affect the position of the remaining teeth, requiring further treatment. Special treatments such as sealants are sometimes done during these first appointments to protect your child’s teeth further from decay.
Sealants and Fluoride Treatments
Even with excellent home care, some children are particularly prone to developing dental decay due to genetic, diet, and other factors. At Balaci Dental Group, we offer preventive treatments such as sealants and fluoride treatments to help protect your child from developing dental caries (cavities):
- Sealants. Molars have grooves and pits in them that can trap food and bacteria, making them susceptible to decay. Sealants are a thin coating of tooth-colored resin that covers the top surface of the molars to protect them. Applying the sealant is a very quick and completely painless process during which the tooth is cleaned and dried, the sealant is applied, and then the sealant is hardened with a special light. Once the process is complete, your child will be able to eat and drink right away, and the tooth’s surface will feel the same as before the treatment. Sealants are highly recommended for permanent molars soon after they emerge.
- Topical fluoride treatments. Fluoride treatments are another preventive measure that can help protect tooth enamel (the outer protective layer of the teeth) and keep dental decay at bay. Fluoride is a natural mineral used for decades in oral health treatments to help build strong teeth and prevent cavities. Applying fluoride is a quick and easy process during which a fluoride solution is applied to the teeth with a brush or swab. Your child may be asked to refrain from eating or drinking for 30 minutes after the treatment so that the fluoride has time to absorb into the teeth fully.
Pediatric Dentistry in Annville, PA
Dental care for young children and adolescents is an important part of protecting your child’s smile and oral health. Many oral health issues can be avoided before they begin by starting regular dental visits early on. The friendly reception team, hygienists, and dentists at Balaci Dental Group have many years of experience helping children to feel comfortable and calm during every step of the treatment process — we pride ourselves on our ability to create a positive and engaging experience for every child we see in our office. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us. We look forward to meeting you and your family!