Gum disease and tooth decay are big concerns for much of the population. Most dental disease is caused by plaque and bacteria buildup which should be assessed every six months. Frequent dental exams allow issues to be diagnosed and addressed early on. Untreated gum disease & decay can have serious consequences leading to discomfort, costly procedures or even tooth loss. At KidZdent, we believe that dental disease, including tooth decay and gum disease can be prevented through proper home-care and routine preventative care visits.
Of course, the best way to prevent gum disease and tooth decay is by flossing, tooth brushing and fluoride rinsing twice daily. However, no matter how diligently a patient flosses or brushes their teeth, there can be hard to reach areas that are tricky to keep clean- especially from excess buildup. These hard to reach areas where plaque bacteria typically tend to accumulate, may eventually mineralize to form a tough, calcified deposit called calculus or tartar. Tartar cannot be removed simply by brushing alone. If not removed, tartar can cause more plaque to build up around the tooth and under the gum line, leading to the progression of gum disease and decay.
The ‘scaling’ stage removes the hardened deposits of plaque and tartar. An instrument called a scaler is gently used to dislodge any hardened tartar and remove any plaque from the gum-line.
The next step is to ‘polish’ the teeth to remove any plaque left after scaling. It also helps to remove any stains on the teeth that can be created by daily diet and habits. While polishing removes stains leaving teeth bright and shiny, it is not just a cosmetic procedure. Polishing will also help to smooth the enamel making it difficult for sticky plaque to adhere to the tooth. This is also an ideal time to apply a professional fluoride treatment, while there is no plaque to prevent the absorption into the teeth.
Older patients that begin to show signs of gum disease may have a heavier tartar buildup beneath the gum-line that requires a more complex and comprehensive scaling procedure. When this is the case one of our KidZdent dentists may recommend that a patient has a more extensive cleaning, called a periodontal scaling. This may require additional appointments to thoroughly remove all deposits. Often an ultrasonic scaler is used first to get rid of the heavy tartar, followed by specialized hand held instruments to remove any stubborn remains.
At the initial visit, one of our pediatric dentists and/or hygienists will examine your child’s teeth for decay and early signs of gum disease. At each hygiene visit your child’s teeth will be scaled, polished and thoroughly examined. Fluoride is typically applied at this appointment. A hygienist will discuss your child’s diet and oral care routine with you and your child as well as discuss any home care recommendations.
The KidZdent team recommends scheduling your child’s cleaning every six months in order to help them develop a positive attitude about the dentist. Orthodontic patients that are having difficulty maintaining good home care will be recommend to begin a three month cleaning routine.
Great oral health can last a lifetime, so make sure your child is on the right track by doing your part. Every stage in a child’s life comes with different dental needs and responsibilities. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing your child to the dentist before his or her first birthday. At each of their visits, young children will be introduced the instruments that will be used. The hygienist will take the steps that we call Tell, Show, Do to teach your child about the mouth mirror, explorer, scaler and polisher so that they understand and feel comfortable.
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