Exams and Cleanings
Much like adults, children should have their teeth examined at least twice a year. Exams are designed to check the condition of the teeth, looking for signs of tooth decay, cavities, and other damage. We look over their gums, checking for signs of gum disease. Exams also enable us to assess the alignment of the teeth and gums as well as evaluate the overall health of your child. We are trained to spot oral health issues in their earliest stages, before symptoms begin to show. In the event that we do find any issues, we can then provide your child with prompt treatment, preventing the issues from getting worse. This also prevents the need for more invasive treatments later on. During the exam, we can also determine the need for additional preventative measures such as fluoride treatments and sealants.
Along with taking a visual look at the teeth and gums, we also take digital X-rays. These images are essential for allowing us to assess the condition of the hidden structures of the mouth. We can see the roots of the teeth, monitor the development of the adult teeth, and monitor the growth and development of the jaw. These images can also be important in assessing the need for orthodontic treatment.
Along with exams, cleanings are recommended twice a year as well. These cleanings are typically performed in the same appointment as exams. Cleanings are designed to help remove buildup from all surfaces of the teeth, including from the areas that your child may have trouble cleaning on their own. The process begins with a thorough scraping of the teeth. We take the time to remove the plaque, tartar, and bacteria from the teeth. Tartar, also called calculus, is calcified, or hardened, plaque that cannot be removed even with regular brushing. After we scrape the teeth completely, our next step is to polish them.
This involves the use of an electric hand tool with a rotating head and a dental polish that contains abrasives. The abrasives scrub the surfaces of the teeth, leaving your child with a shiny, beautiful smile. Once polished, the teeth are flossed. Flossing aids in removing any buildup that your child may have missed at home, as well as removing any loose debris or polish that may have accumulated during the cleaning process. After the teeth have been completely cleaned, we may recommend completing the visit with a fluoride treatment. This treatment is quick and painless and is designed to strengthen the enamel of the teeth, helping your child to further prevent the development of tooth decay and cavities.
Regular exams and cleanings are essential for preventing oral health issues, and for getting your child, the treatment they need in the early stages should a complication such as a cavity develop. If it is time to schedule an appointment for your child, call Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry today at (503) 663-8141.