Preventive Dentistry
Pediatric Dentist Jacksonville, FL

Plaque

Plaque is essentially the start of gum disease problems. Plaque is a build-up from bacteria in the mouth and particles from the foods you eat every day.

Once sugars are introduced to plaque, it turns into a tooth eating acid that sits just above the gum line. If regular oral care isn't standard, the acid will start eating at the teeth producing cavities and the plaque can cause gum disease.

Plaque that is allowed to sit for a prolonged period of time can cause cavities, gingivitis, and other problems in your mouth. If it's left longer than that, serious dental procedures may be required to restore your decaying smile.

Brushing

Step 1 - Place bristles along the gum line at a 45 degree angle. Gently brush using a circular motion along the outer and inner tooth surfaces.

Step 2 - Brush each tooth individually. Tilt brush vertically behind the front teeth. Using the front half of the brush, use the same circular motion.

Step 3 - Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth and use a gentle back-and-forth motion. Brush the tongue to remove odor-producing bacteria.


Flossing Facts

Facts: No one type of floss is really better. Use whatever you can get. The important thing is to just use it!

Periodontal disease commonly occurs between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach, especially between the back teeth which are wider and harder to reach.

Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to develop the proper technique.

Fluoride Varnish

Fluoride Varnish application at cleaning appointments is a safe and effective preventive measure. Varnishes have advantage over gels, foams, rinses, and pastes because of their ability to retain on the tooth surface for hours. Children can eat and drink right after application and it has a good taste!

Fluoride, a substance that's found naturally in water, plays an important role in healthy tooth development and cavity prevention.

Fluoride combats tooth decay in two ways:

  1. It strengthens tooth enamel, a hard and shiny substance that protects the teeth, so that it can better resist the acid formed by plaque.
  2. Fluoride allows teeth damaged by acid to repair, or re-mineralize, themselves.

Fluoride cannot repair cavities, but it can reverse low levels of tooth decay and thus prevent new cavities from forming.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that these fluoride supplements be given daily to children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years. The dosage will change as your child grows. Only children living in non-fluoridated areas or children who drink only non-fluoridated bottled water should receive supplements.

Most children get the right amount of fluoride through a combination of fluoridated toothpaste and fluoridated water or supplements. Too much fluoride before 8 years of age can cause enamel fluorosis, a discoloration or mottling of the permanent teeth. This condition is unsightly but harmless and often can be treated with cosmetic procedures.

Silver Diamine Fluoride

Silver diamine fluoride is a liquid substance used to help prevent tooth cavities from forming, growing, or spreading to other teeth. Silver diamine fluoride treatment also helps kill the bacteria that break down the tooth surfaces while keeping the bacteria from spreading to other teeth.

Oral Exam

According to guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), your child should be seen by your child's pediatric dentist no later than six months after the eruption of the first tooth.

This visit mainly will involve counseling on oral hygiene, habits, and on the effects that diet can have on his/her teeth. It is NOT recommended to wait until age 3 to visit your dentist and as a general rule, the earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems.

Children with healthy teeth chew food easily, learn to speak clearly, and smile with confidence. Start your child now on a lifetime of good dental habits.

The AAPD also recommends a dental check-up at least twice a year; however some children that may be at a higher-than-average caries risk may need to be seen more often.

Removing Plaque & Tartar With A Teeth Cleaning

As time goes by, plaque that is allowed to sit on your teeth eventually hardens into bacteria harboring tartar. Tartar reacts with the foods you eat and leads to tooth decay. Not only that, the bacteria in tartar can start to smell and is a common cause of bad breath.

During your dental checkup, we use a special tooth scaling tool that is used to effectively remove the hard build-up of tartar. This process is most commonly known as tooth scaling. Scaling will remove tartar build-up on the front and back surfaces of your teeth, just above the gum-line. Sometimes, we may detect tartar working its way below the gum line. In these cases, root planing, also known as a deep cleaning is necessary to remove this tartar from the tooth's root.

Applying Dental Sealants

Sealants are one of the easiest preventive dental procedures that can be done. Sealing your teeth can be done in a single dental visit and is entirely painless!

We will first thoroughly clean and dry teeth that are going to be sealed. Generally, gauze and/or cotton will be placed around the tooth to prevent moisture collecting on the tooth. A clean and dry tooth is essential for the sealant material to properly adhere.

Next, a mild acid is applied to the chewing surface of the tooth. This will roughen the surface layer of the tooth's enamel and will provide an optimal surface for the sealant material to bond to.

The tooth will be rinsed with water and dried a final time before the sealant is placed.

Dental sealant material is a plastic-like material that is brushed onto the tooth's chewing services. This liquid-like material will sink into the nooks and crannies within the chewing surface and start bonding directly to the enamel layer of the tooth. We will use a special blue curing light that hardens the sealant.

That's it! Your tooth is now sealed off from harmful plaque and bacteria.

Tooth Polishing

Rough tooth surfaces are exactly what plaque loves to grab hold of and start hardening into harmful tartar. After your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned, we will use a special tooth polishing tool and a flavored polishing compound to polish your pearly whites. Tooth polishing effectively smooths tooth surfaces making it difficult for plaque to grab on to. After tooth polishing, you will be able to tell a difference with how smooth your teeth feel, as well as visibly see that they're looking their best.

Oral Cancer Screening

During every dental checkup, we will visually check and feel around for any signs of oral cancer. We check for signs of visible lesions inside the mouth and gently feel around the jaw for any lumps or swelling that may be present. Many early signs of oral cancer can go unnoticed by people as they go about their daily lives but we want to make sure that your overall oral health is in as best condition as possible when you see us for a dental checkup.

Digital X-Rays

X-rays allow dentists to diagnose and treat health conditions that cannot be detected during a visual clinical examination alone. When dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable and affordable.

Particular care is taken to minimize the exposure of child patients to radiation. With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental x-ray examination is extremely small and the risk is negligible.