Prevention is Key!
It is our goal to make it clear that prevention is possible and better than choosing future treatment, which can be more expensive and painful. Our dental assistants are trained in having these conversations at every prevention visit. Our goal is to empower the family with tips and tools and the education needed to understand the problem areas in their child’s mouth as well as specific things to work on between now and their next visit to prevent dental decay.
In your child’s dental appointment, we will discuss at home-hygiene, nutrition, and anticipatory guidance.
Homecare Hygiene Guidance
During every preventive dentistry appointment, our team at Seattle Kids Dentistry spends time demonstrating age-appropriate home-care techniques to the parents/caretakers. This includes proper position and technique for brushing and flossing and the types of devices to use to achieve the goal (i.e. soft bristled brushes).
Pediatric Nutrition Counseling
We also discuss meal choices and snacking habits and start to have conversations with the parents on what causes cavities and how to reduce their kid’s risk for dental and oral disease.
Growth and Development Assessments
It’s important for parents to understand that as board-certified pediatric dentists, looking for cavities is only a small part of what we assess when we have a patient in our care. We are looking for age-appropriate developmental milestones as cues to help us gain a deeper understanding of the child’s growth and underlying (often undiagnosed) issues.
- Infancy Assessment – this could be related to nursing or difficulty in nursing due to a tethered oral tissue. Our team can help provide guidance for infants.
- Toddler Assessment – we assess oral habits like the use of a pacifier or a finger/thumb habit and their effect on the growth and development of the palatal structures, which in turn connects to an evaluation for possible sleep apnea, and behavioral issues like ADD / ADHD.
- Growing, Mixed-Dentition Assessment – this stage refers to the period when both primary and permanent teeth are present. We evaluate readiness for an early orthodontic appliance or a habit-breaking appliance to allow the jaws to grow appropriately to accommodate the developing adult dentition.
- Teens – we evaluate the position and development of the wisdom teeth.
Growth assessments are unique to each child and on a continuum. Seeing a child twice per year gives us a unique window into their overall growth beyond their teeth and enables us to have an educated conversation with the parent on what else might be going on in the child’s life that needs attention as they grow.
Pediatric Sealants and Fluoride
The best way to prevent cavities and tooth decay is by establishing healthy dental habits at home – brushing twice per day for two minutes each time with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing daily. In addition, there are things we can do as your dental team to help protect your child’s teeth from decay.
Sealants: These are thin coatings that, when painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars), can prevent cavities for many years. School-age children (ages 6-11) without sealants have almost 3 times more 1st molar cavities than those with sealants.
Fluoride: During your child’s routine dental visit, the dental assistant will ask you if you’d like fluoride applied. A mineral that is naturally occurring in most of our tap water, fluoride helps protect the enamel from bacteria that cause cavities and tooth decay.
Schedule Your Child’s Preventive Dentistry Appointment in Seattle
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – and we could not agree more! Set your child up for dental success by scheduling bi-annual preventive dentistry appointments and cleanings in Seattle. We look forward to meeting you!