Preventive and Diagnostic Services
Comprehensive Oral Evaluation
A comprehensive evaluation is recommended every six months with the first visit at age 1 or when the first tooth erupts. Dr. Rawson completes a thorough examination of the mouth and surrounding areas in order to prevent cavities, assess proper growth and development and screen for oral cancer and other pathological conditions.
Dental Cleaning (Prophylaxis)
Routine cleanings every six months in addition to daily at-home care helps keeps gums healthy and teeth cavity-free. Our team performs a thorough dental cleaning at every check-up and it includes removal of tartar and plaque as well as polishing of the teeth to remove stains.
Fluoride treatments are administered at our office in order to prevent tooth decay. It consists of fluoride, which is a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel (outer coating on teeth). Dr. Rawson applies fluoride varnish at the end of every check-up appointment by painting it on all sides of your child’s teeth using a small brush.
Dental radiographs (also known as dental x-rays) are a valuable diagnostic tool used by Dr. Rawson to identify tooth decay, extra teeth, missing teeth, tooth positioning, bone defects, tumors, cysts and other pathology. Through assessment of intra-oral and extra-oral radiographs, we are able to complete a thorough evaluation of dental disease and growth/development. Our digital x-ray system is safe and able to capture images with a fraction of the radiation exposure used in conventional analog film x-rays. Our intra-oral sensors come in multiple child and adult sizes so that taking x-rays is comfortable for your child. Dr. Rawson and parents will be able to view high-quality images immediately.
Oral Hygiene Instructions
At every check-up, our team at ABQ Pediatric Dentistry will ensure that you and your child have the tools and tips to perform excellent oral home care. We enjoy teaching our families the proper techniques for brushing, flossing, using mouth rinses and eating healthy foods. Good home care reduces the amount of plaque build-up and prevents tooth decay.
Silver Diamine Fluoride
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is an antimicrobial liquid that can be easily brushed onto tooth decay (cavities) that can kill the bacteria and stop current tooth decay from getting larger. The FDA cleared its use in August of 2014 and it became commercially available for dental use in 2015. This non-invasive and fast procedure can relieve tooth sensitivity, avoid or delay traditional more invasive treatment options and remineralize natural tooth structure. SDF is not a cure for tooth decay, but can arrest its progression. It permanently stains decay and demineralized enamel black (not healthy intact tooth structure), is not an option for very deep decay that is close to the nerve and it does not guarantee that the cavity/decay will stop growing. This option may be ideal in certain situations (placing it on cavities in baby teeth that will be falling out soon, arresting tooth decay in children who have dental anxiety and cannot tolerate traditional dental work or reducing sensitivity until a final definitive restoration can be placed). Dr. Rawson is happy to discuss if SDF is a good option for your child.
Dental sealants protect teeth, particularly the permanent molars that erupt at ages 6 and 12. Dr. Rawson may recommend dental sealants in order to prevent cavities from forming on the chewing surfaces of back molars, which is the area most susceptible to tooth decay because of its deep grooves and fissures. The sealant material fills in the crevices of a tooth and “seals” it to prevent accumulation of cavity-causing agents like food and plaque. Sealants are made of a white, composite material and are BPA-free.
FAQs About Pediatric Preventive Dental Care
Why is preventive care important?
As with many things in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—preventive dental care is much more affordable than restorative treatments. It’s also important to teach children how to care for their teeth at an early age to ensure a lifetime of good oral hygiene habits.
How do you prevent cavities in children?
The first place to start when it comes to preventing cavities in children is with good home oral hygiene practices: brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Regular dental check-ups, fluoride treatments, and dental sealants are also preventive tools we use to keep cavities from forming.
When should a child get their teeth cleaned?
We recommend dental cleanings every six months for children.
What happens at a child’s first dental appointment?
Your child’s first dental appointment is all about establishing a trusting relationship and creating a “dental home” for your child at our practice. During this visit, we’ll also examine your child’s teeth and soft tissues and talk to you about good oral hygiene practices.
How can I strengthen my child’s teeth?
Regular fluoride treatments, a healthy diet that limits sugary foods and drinks, and brushing with fluoride toothpaste are all steps you can take to strengthen your child’s teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions About Diagnostic Dentistry
When should kids start getting dental x-rays?
There’s no one-size-fits-all rule for when children should start getting dental x-rays. Children who are at high risk of tooth decay, who have potential orthodontic issues, or other areas of concern may need x-rays earlier than children who don’t have these risk factors.
Do children need dental x-rays?
Even though our digital x-rays emit less radiation, we choose to take a conservative approach to dental x-rays. Unless there is a diagnostic or treatment-related reason for x-rays, most children only need them every 12 to 24 months.
Are dental x-rays safe for children?
The digital radiography equipment used by our office emits much less radiation than standard x-rays, making them safer for our patients.
Why is digital radiography better?
The sensors used for digital radiographs are more sensitive than those used for traditional film radiographs, so less radiation is required to create images. Fewer retakes are needed and digital technology means that we can view images on our computers immediately after taking them, allowing us to discuss our findings with you and your child at the same appointment.