Preventative Care at Rockford Pediatric Dentistry
As pediatric dentists, our main goal is the prevention of cavities and other oral conditions in our patients. Through routine preventative care, we can address issues when they are small, or prevent oral disease altogether through education and other preventive measures.
Cleanings and X-Rays
Routine cleanings every 6 months allow us to assess your child’s oral hygiene and provide suggestions on how best to keep their teeth clean and healthy. We also will assess the health of your child’s gums and other tissues of the mouth. Simple hygiene habits—tooth brushing and flossing on a daily basis—are the most powerful ways to prevent cavities!
Depending on your child’s cavity history and other risk factors, we usually recommend taking x-rays every 6 to 12 months to monitor the development of any new decay. We also take developmental x-rays called panoramic x-rays starting at around age 7. A panoramic x-ray allows us to check on the growth and development of your child’s jaws and the adult teeth developing within them. This is an essential x-ray that allows us to assess any orthodontic conditions your child may have, and treat them with early intervention. It also allows us to evaluate bony pathologies and other conditions that can occur in the jaws.
In addition to a cleaning and x-rays, your child will receive a comprehensive examination from our pediatric dentist. There, we will diagnose any decay your child may or may not have, perform an orthodontic exam, and assess the health of the soft tissues in their mouth.
We recommend placement of fluoride varnish every 6 months during your child’s dental cleaning. Fluoride fights cavities in two different ways. The first mechanism is by disrupting the metabolism of the germs that cause cavities: when these germs can’t function normally, they are unable to aggregate and cause decay. The second way is by physically strengthening the tooth: fluoride gets incorporated into the tooth, making it more resistant to the acids that cavity germs produce.
Fluoride varnish is a high concentration of fluoride we apply to the teeth twice a year. We also encourage use of fluoride at home, through fluoride toothpastes and fluoride mouthwashes. Most communities in the US benefit from a fluoridated water supply, and many food products are prepared with fluoridated water. If your community does not have fluoridated water, your pediatric dentist may suggest supplementation of fluoride for your child.
Silver Diamine Fluoride
Silver Diamine Fluoride, or “SDF,” is a high concentration of fluoride we apply to cavities in order to arrest or slow down their development. SDF is often used on small cavities we want to prevent from getting larger. We also use SDF as a temporary way to address cavities: in a child who is very anxious in the dental office, we can place SDF on cavities quickly and painlessly. There are two downsides to SDF: cosmetics and structural limitations. SDF is a liquid, so it can only be painted on an existing cavity—it does not replace missing tooth structure, as a filling or crown would. SDF will also stain a cavity black: on back teeth, this may be less concerning, but it can have dramatic esthetic effects if placed on front teeth. If you are interested in the option of SDF for your child, be sure to discuss with one of our pediatric dentists.
Rockford Pediatric Dentistry
At Rockford Pediatric Dentistry, we are passionate about providing a safe, positive, and happy environment for your family. We want your children to be excited to come visit us, and eager to keep their mouths healthy and strong at home. As mothers ourselves, we treat all of our patients as if they were our own children. We understand how important it is to treat your family with compassion, the most up to date dental technologies, and the highest standard of care. We strive to earn your trust and provide high quality dentistry for your family. Call today to make Rockford Pediatric Dentistry your new dental home.