Preventive dentistry is the foundation for a healthy smile. With regular cleanings and exams, small dental issues can be caught before they turn into large and costly problems. Preventive dental care and a diligent at-home brushing and flossing routine can, when combined with a healthy diet, help prevent dental issues all together. Preventive care from our Tinton Falls practice is particularly important for children because once good oral health habits are established, they’re more likely to continue those habits throughout adulthood and have healthier smiles as a result.
Children should start seeing the dentist as early as 1 year old.
To begin, your child’s dentist or dental hygienist will perform a quick oral exam and begin cleaning their teeth. Their teeth will be scaled to remove plaque and tartar, then brushed with a high-powered brush, and flossed to remove any remaining food particles and debris.
Dental x-rays are not required at every appointment, but are commonly taken once per year to ensure your child's oral development is on track and their teeth are healthy. X-rays may be required more often if the dentist suspects cavities or an infection. If you child's dentist determines that x-rays are needed, this will be discussed as part of your visit.
Your child’s dentist will use special dental tools to check for cavities, gum disease, and other signs of potential oral health issues. She will also view your child’s x-rays and health history to aid in diagnosis. Then, she will discuss with you any problems or potential issues they may have found during the examination.
If your child has dental issues that need to be addressed, such as cavities, an infected tooth, or an orthodontic concern, their dentist will develop a treatment plan and discuss it with you. Once both you and your child understand the issues and how we can fix them, we can schedule your child’s follow up appointment for treatment.
Our Tinton Falls team can help you schedule your child’s next cleaning and exam, and also any appointments for additional treatment. It’s important that your child gets the care they need from a dental team they know and trust, so stay on top of their appointments and help us keep their smile strong and healthy.
Routine dental cleanings and oral exams are the most important part of preventive care. With regular cleanings, you can prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar on your child’s teeth and reduce their risk of gum disease and cavities. With routine oral exams from your child’s dentist, you can get insights on their oral health, how to care for their teeth properly, and information about preventive treatments like dental sealants and fluoride, which can help protect their teeth from bacteria and decay.
X-rays will typically be taken at intervals recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, approximately one time per year. They may be taken more frequently if you child is at high risk for oral disease, such as tooth decay.
Fluoride treatments consist of a fluoride gel or paste that is “painted” onto your child’s teeth after a teeth cleaning. The fluoride helps remineralize and strengthen your child’s teeth, and can even reverse “soft spots” which are the first stage of tooth decay. In certain cases, fluoride may also be used to reduce sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks.
Laser therapy or laser dentistry involves special lasers that can be used to remove soft tissue, such as gum tissue. They’re very comfortable for the patient, reduce bleeding, and allow your child’s mouth to heal more quickly, making these tools ideal for pediatric dentistry.
Dental sealants use a BPA-free tooth-colored liquid filling material, which is applied directly to the teeth and is hardened using a UV light. This fills in the grooves of your child's tooth to prevent food and bacteria from getting stuck making it easier for your child to keep the tooth clean, thus aiding in the prevention of cavities. This treatment is usually recommended specifically for the cavity-prone back teeth.
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) arrests tooth decay and decreases sensitivity. It uses a blend of silver and fluoride to kill bacteria and prevent further decay by re-hardening the tooth structure. SDF is most commonly used in young children, special needs patients and on teeth that have the beginning stages of decay. It is usually used in back teeth, because it does permanently stain the decayed portion of the tooth black.
Oral cancer screenings are an essential part of preventive care, even for children. Screenings are a part of your child’s oral exams and can be performed quickly, safely, and usually without your child noticing.
Our Tinton Falls pediatric dentist will examine your child’s mouth, gums, and oral tissues, and look for discolored patches, lumps, growths, and other such abnormalities. In the rare case that an issue is found, a biopsy may be taken and sent to a specialist for further analysis, or the dentist will refer you to a specialist directly.
Dental visits every 6 months to our Tinton Falls practice allow your child’s dentist to become familiar with their oral health, so they can address any issues before they become larger problems.
Kids of all ages can grind their teeth. Custom night guards are created to fit over your child’s teeth perfectly, and prevent direct tooth-to-tooth contact at night while they sleep. Once your child has all their adult teeth, a night guard may be a good option for them to prevent premature tooth wear caused by grinding.
If your child plays any contact sports, custom-fitted mouthguards help protect their teeth from damage. We offer comfortable mouthguards that cushion and protect the teeth and gums, and help your child avoid oral injuries like cracked, broken, loose, or avulsed (knocked-out) teeth.
Kids laugh around 400 times per day.
You should brush your child’s teeth twice a day for two minutes until they’re 7 years old, or are able to tie their shoes on their own. After this, we recommend making brushing a family activity. You can demonstrate proper technique to your children, and make sure they’re brushing regularly.
You will need to floss your child’s teeth for them until they’re about 10, since it’s a lot harder to learn proper flossing technique than it is to learn proper brushing technique.
Flossing your child’s teeth will not be dissimilar to flossing your own. Depending on their age, you may need to find a toy or distraction to keep them entertained while you floss their teeth. Floss holders may be helpful for toddlers so they don’t bite your fingers. Just make sure you’re flossing between every two teeth that make contact and behind their most rear molar.
We recommend flossing your child’s teeth once per day, and having them rinse with water or mouthwash after flossing to remove any food particles that were dislodged during the process.
Healthy baby teeth are essential for your child to eat and chew properly, and damaged or decayed baby teeth can cause them a lot of pain and discomfort. Though they will fall out naturally as your child ages, your child’s baby teeth should remain in place until they fall out on their own. If they lose one or more teeth prematurely, this can affect their future oral development. This is because baby teeth help form the “paths” that the adult teeth follow when they emerge.
Yes. Almost every dental insurance plan covers preventive care, like six-month cleanings and exams, for dependents. Fluoride treatments and dental sealants may also be covered, in some cases. However, coverage for each insurer and dental plan varies, so we recommend consulting directly with your insurer to learn about coverage limits for pediatric preventive care, covered treatments, and other such information.
Around 85% of children see the dentist regularly.