Cleanings & Prevention
These are an integral part of the child's dental appointment. Beginning when the child is ready, rubber cup (spin-brush) cleanings are performed. The staff at Vestavia Hills Pediatric Dentistry will never force a child to do something that they may not be emotionally able to handle. Dr. Purvis believes in gaining the child's trust is the best way to build a relationship, and once that trust has been established, the child will willingly do what is needed.
Pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of their patients to radiation. Dr. Purvis and his staff abide by the guidelines set forth by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD) and the American Academy of Orthodontics (AAO) regarding the when to take x-rays, what type of x-rays should be taken, and how many to take. With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. The risk is negligible. In fact, the dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem. Lead body aprons and shields will protect your child. Today’s equipment filters out unnecessary x-rays and restricts the x-ray beam to the area of interest. High-speed film and proper shielding assure that your child receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure. If Dr. Purvis feels there is a need for any alternative x-rays to guide his treatment, the parent will be informed.
Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment. Dental caries (cavities) is the most common chronic infection in the United States and the second most common infection in the world, behind the common cold. It is a multifaceted disease that is affected by many systemic factors including diet, hygiene, medications, and genetic factors such as a child's ability to fight off infection. Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to this dental hygiene regimen:
- Choose a healthy diet
- Brush and floss twice a day
- Schedule regular dental checkups
- Have fluoride treatments as your dental hygienist directs
Good Diet And Healthy Teeth
The teeth, bones and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups helps minimize (and avoid) cavities and other dental problems. Most snacks that children eat cause cavities, so children should only receive healthy foods like vegetables, low-fat yogurt and cheeses, which promote strong teeth. Acidic drinks (most flavored drinks, even sugar free versions) weaken the teeth by demineralizing the surface allowing cavities to develop, especially in between the teeth.
We are told to snack throughout the day and to eat multiple small meals each day to maintain a good metabolism. There is an exponential correlation to the number of snacks consumed daily and the number of cavities present by age nine.
Fluoride is an element, which has been shown to be beneficial to teeth. However, too little or too much fluoride can be detrimental to the teeth. Little or no fluoride will not strengthen the teeth to help them resist cavities. Excessive fluoride ingestion by preschool-aged children can lead to dental fluorosis, which is a chalky white to even brown discoloration of the permanent teeth. Many children often get more fluoride than their parents realize. Being aware of a child’s potential sources of fluoride can help parents prevent the possibility of dental fluorosis.
A sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of the back teeth (premolars and molars), where four out of five cavities in children are found. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth.
When a child begins to participate in recreational activities and organized sports, injuries can occur. A properly fitted mouth guard, or mouth protector, is an important piece of athletic gear that can help protect your child’s smile, and should be used during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth. Mouth guards help prevent broken teeth, and injuries to the lips, tongue, face, jaw, or, more importantly, the base of the skull. A properly fitted mouth guard will stay in place while your child is wearing it, making it easy for them to talk and breathe.
Ask Dr. Purvis about custom and store-bought mouth guards and mouthpieces.