Dental Sealants Help Kids Avoid Cavities

While teaching children the proper way to brush and floss is key to encouraging a lifetime of healthy dental habits, professionals working in pediatric dentistry will likely agree there are few ways more effective at preventing cavities early in life than dental sealants. Sealants are also safe, affordable and easily applied in a relatively quick and painless procedure.

Sealing a Tooth’s Natural Fissures

When a dentist applies a sealant, he applies a thin coating over the tooth. This coating smooths natural pits and fissures, usually found on molars. Those fissures and grooves serve a purpose. They help grind food. Pits in and around those grooves can trap food, however, which can lead to tooth decay.

This begins with the buildup of plaque. Typically, young children brush poorly and incompletely. Many skip brushing altogether. When this happens, plaque develops along the teeth, especially in the gaps and spaces between teeth and near the gums. Dental sealants in kids helps eliminate this plaque buildup because of the protective film that forms is designed to minimize the buildup of plaque.

Helps Defend Against Gum Disease

Because it contains various forms of bacteria, excess plaque can lead to oral hygiene issues and signal the start of gum disease, or gingivitis. Left untreated, plaque buildup will wreak havoc on tooth enamel, a tooth’s natural protective barrier, and can lead to cavities. Too much bacteria can even lead to advanced periodontitis, which attacks both gum tissue and the bone that lies underneath.

It is easy to deal with plaque and prevent those possible outcomes. Once gum, bone and enamel is damaged, however, that damage cannot be reversed. Sealants, however, provide a way to easily prevent plaque buildup. Sealants on molars and premolars stop plaque in its tracks.

Encourage Good Dental Hygiene

Sealants can prevent many dental issues, but it should not be the only defense against oral disease. Parents should always teach young children how to take care of their teeth by properly brushing, rinsing and flossing.

When searching for a children’s dentist near me, make sure you ask if they do dental sealants. Not all pediatric dentists employ dental sealants in kids. Once you find the right dentist, ask about the dental services for children that are provided and ask if you can have the child’s molars and premolars evaluated to determine if they are good candidates for sealants.

Dental sealants are usually applied early in a child’s life, often between the ages of 5 and 7. This is when a child’s first permanent molars are expected to erupt. Secondary molars arrive between ages 11 and 14 and signify another good time to have teeth examined for sealing.

Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist – What To Expect

Children should see a dentist for the first time before their first birthday. They may not even have all their baby teeth at this point, but it is vital for an experienced dentist to inspect your child’s oral health to ensure the teeth will be healthy when they do come in. There are certain things you need to anticipate in order to have a productive meeting and to ensure your child receives the best dental treatment. We feel each parent must have a good positive attitude about the dentist they choose for their child.

This Video Portrays One Parent’s View of Her Pediatric Dentist

What Can A Parent Expect?

You may be wondering what exactly happens at a child’s first dental appointment. For the most part, you dentist will most likely not do anything extensive to the teeth or gums. Instead, this visit is meant to acclimate the child to the dentist’s office and to get him or her used to all the various sights, smells and noises. During the oral examination, your new pediatric dentist will evaluate the tooth eruption progress and any structural or developmental red flags that may need closer examination.

You will sit next to your child as the dentist examines the gum tissue and any teeth that have come in so far. The dentist will also most likely clean the gum tissue. These initial examinations helps your child overcome any dental phobias and provide the reassurance your child needs to feel comfortable with oral exams.

How Can You Prepare Your Child for the Visit?

The best way to help your child feel more at ease is by appearing calmer yourself. If you personally have dental anxiety, it is very important that your child does not adopt those feelings so positive body language helps you communicate a positive message to your child. Children, even when they are only one year old, are very perceptive and will take note if you appear nervous or exhibit apprehension before their first dental visit.

You should also practice brushing your child’s teeth before the first appointment. Your child may be resistant at first, so try to make the experience fun. Play a song as you brush your child’s teeth. After brushing, play a fun game so that your child associates brushing with positive experiences.

What Should You Tell the Dentist?

This visit is also an opportunity for you to increase your own dental knowledge. The dentist will tell you if there are any areas of improvement concerning your child’s oral health. The pediatric dentist near you will ask you if your child still sucks his or her thumb and what kinds of food make up your child’s diet. Take all of these dental hygiene tips for kids to heart because it could vastly help your child down the line.

Find an experienced children’s dentist in Levittown who can help your child maintain healthy teeth and gums throughout his or her life. The first few years are critical to developing good oral hygiene habits. After your child’s first appointment, you should schedule the next one six months in the future.

Mission Trips to Peru Improve Healthcare Standards

Dental MissionAs a mother or father of a young child, you might be surprised to discover that many in this world are forced to live without healthcare professionals within a short distance from their homes. Sadly, the reality is that in many third world countries, there is a lack of medical and dental care, not only due to insufficient funding, but a lack of trained providers especially in rural areas. Peru, a multicultural, multilingual and multiethnic country located in the central-western part of South America is one country that struggles with providing quality dental care for kids.

The health indicators of Peru are slowly improving, but there are still many persistent problems, particularly in rural areas. Poverty and low education levels contribute to the health problems. The hospitals are full of patients who have illnesses that could be prevented through basic hygiene and healthy practices. Given that the medical facilities are underfunded and understaffed, it’s difficult to provide preventable medical care.

Intervention by Missionaries

Although many people associate missionaries with evangelical activities, this dental student, Bari Levine, at Temple University has a desire to improve the oral health of orphans in Peru. Instead of proselytizing, this student took a trip to Peru to organize a culturally sensitive dental program for children at an orphanage. On her first trip to the country, she brought in toothbrushes, toothpaste and fluoride rinse to open the door to quality dental care for the kids in Peru.

Subsequent years were spent screening and providing oral health education. Levine also had education in public health, as well as a dental degree. She not only took mission trips to Peru, but raised the money to bring other students and supplies to the country. Levine didn’t want to just start pulling teeth when she went to Peru, but to prevent kid’s fear of dentists by beginning with education and relationships.

Growing Smiles Foundation

Levine founded a 501c(3) non-profit organization called Growing Smiles Foundation. Last year, the team provided over $130,000 in dental services. The foundations partnered with a local dental school to provide follow-up care, which keeps the program sustainable. Their mission is to continue to provide quality dental care for kids in Peru, not only for health reasons, but for self-esteem and confidence.

The healthcare problems in Peru might seem overwhelming, but Levine’s efforts demonstrate that change is possible through small steps. She is tracking her efforts in hopes of creating a model that can be replicated to help orphans around the world. For Levine, dental care is an outreach that can change people’s lives. During her time at home here in the states, Bari provides dental services for children in Bucks County with the rest of the team at Growing Smiles in Floralvale.

Preventative Dentistry for Kids Includes the Following

If you are a mother of young children, you realize the importance of helping your little ones develop good healthy habits. As part of your plan to teach your kids about oral health, we encourage you to establish a positive working relationship with your pediatric dentist. Every six months, plan to take your child for a checkup and cleaning. If your child has sensitive teeth or is exposed to sugary snacks, we often recommend dental sealants for kids that have a sweet tooth.

Dr. Ross will elaborate in this video:

Baby Teeth Establish The Foundation For Adult Teeth

Your child will have baby teeth for years, so you want to be certain they stay in good shape. With a good preventative dentistry plan, you can improve your child’s odds that they will have healthy teeth for years to come. In addition to helping encourage good oral health habits, we recommend discussing dental sealants and fluoride treatments for your children. By helping your child avoid cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease, your pediatric dentist can protect the baby teeth until adult teeth replace them. It is our experience that if the gums are in good shape prior to the arrival of adult teeth, the new teeth come in straighter and with less complications.

Establish Healthy Habits

To promote a life-long commitment to good oral health, parents must help their young children establish healthy habits. Pediatric dentists who focus on preventative care are more inclined to spend quality time teaching children how to brush properly, how to use floss, will discuss the importance of healthy snacks, rinsing behaviors and other dental hygiene practices. When instructing children under the age of 3, dentists generally make sure parents are brushing with their children so that kids can mimic parents as they brush their teeth. Some pediatric dentists may also recommend at-home fluoride treatments to help promote overall dental health. Dr. Radin and Dr. Levine are skilled at winning over the confidence of young children if they happen to be inattentive initially.

Achieving Positive Outcomes

When children have access to preventative dentistry, they generally experience positive outcomes overall. Not only are kids with healthy teeth usually more confident, they typically have more nutritious diets. Similarly, those who take good care of their baby teeth tend to have healthier permanent teeth. Because a child’s dental appointments help parents stay on top of the oral health for kids, adults experienced positive outcomes as well. At an early age, the dental services for children that a parent should be most concerned about is preventative dentistry.

Preventative dentistry includes more than just dental sealants for kids. While a pediatric dentist in Langhorne uses a variety of treatments to fix immediate problems, he or she helps establish the important habits your child needs to have a healthy mouth throughout life. Scheduling checkup and cleaning appointments early and often is a proven way to take full advantage of preventative dentistry for kids.