Preventative Dental Services
Dr. Randall Heckert D.M.D. and the caring team of professionals at Growing Smiles Dentistry are dedicated to ensure your visit is as comfortable as possible.
Each procedure will be thoroughly discussed with you and any questions you have resolved prior to the start of your care.
Please don't hesitate to call us if you have any questions regarding a specific dental procedure or condition.
Routine dental exams make for healthy, beautiful smiles and good oral hygiene habits. We want all of our patients to enjoy these benefits and encourage parents to bring their children in for regular dental check-ups and teeth cleaning. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should see a dentist at least every six months, or more often, depending on child's diet and risk assessment. These visits are very important in preventing cavities. Not only will Dr. Heckert check your child's teeth, but your child will also learn the necessary techniques for good oral hygiene.
Sealants protect the grooved and pitted surfaces of back teeth, especially the chewing surfaces of back teeth where most cavities in children are found. Made of clear or shaded resin, sealants are applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity-free.
How do sealants work?
Even if your child brushes and flosses carefully, it is difficult--sometimes--impossible--to clean the tiny grooves and pits on certain teeth. Food and bacteria build up in these crevices, placing your child in danger of tooth decay. Sealants "seal out" food and plaque, thus reducing the risk of tooth decay.
How long do sealants last?
Research show that sealants can last for many years if properly cared for. Therefore, your child will be protected throughout the most cavity-prone years. If your child has good oral hygiene and avoids biting hard objects, sealants will last longer. Dr. Heckert will check the sealants during routine dental visits and recommend re-application or repair when necessary.
What is the treatment like?
The application of a sealant is quick and comfortable. It takes only one visit. The tooth is first cleaned. It is then conditioned and dried. The sealant is then flowed onto the grooves of the tooth and allowed to harden or hardened with a special light. Your child will be able to eat right after the appointment.
How much does it cost?
The treatment is very affordable, especially in view of the valuable decay protection if offers your child. Most dental insurance companies cover sealants. Some companies, however, have age and specific tooth limitations. Check with your benefits provider about your child's coverage and talk with our front office about the exact cost of sealants for your child.
If my child has sealants, are brushing and flossing important?
Yes!! Sealants are only one step in the plan to keep your child cavity-free for a lifetime. Brushing, flossing, balanced nutrition, limited snacking, and regular dental visits are still essential to a bright, healthy smile.
Fluoride is a compound that contains fluorine, a natural element. Using small amounts of fluoride on a routine basis can help prevent tooth decay. In areas where fluoride does not occur naturally, it may be added to community water supplies. Research shows that water fluoridation has lowered decay rates by 50 percent, which means that fewer children grow up with cavities. Fluoride can be found as an active ingredient in may dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, gels and varnish.
How does fluoride prevent cavities?
Fluoride inhibits loss of minerals from tooth enamel and encourages remineralization (strengthening areas that are weakened and beginning to develop cavities). Fluoride also affects bacteria that cause cavities, discouraging acid attacks that break down the tooth. Risk for decay is reduced even more when fluoride is combined with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene.
How safe is Fluoride?
Using fluoride for the prevention and control of decay is proven to be both safe and effective. Nevertheless, products containing fluoride should be stored out of reach of young children. Too much fluoride could cause fluorosis of developing permanent teeth. Fluorosis usually is mild, with tiny white specks or streaks that often are unnoticeable. In severe cases of fluorosis, the enamel maybe pitted with brown discoloration. Development of Fluorosis depends on the amount, duration and timing of excessive fluoride intake. The appearance of teeth affected by fluorosis can be greatly improved by a variety of treatments in esthetic dentistry.
What type of toothpaste and how much should my child use?
Your child should use a toothpaste with fluoride and the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. For children under two years of age, use a smear of fluoridated toothpaste. For those aged two to five years, a pea-sized amount is recommended.
Oral Hygiene and Nutrition Information
What we give our kids to eat and snack on affects the health of not only their bodies but also their teeth. Depending on the type of food and if they snack between meals can have direct influence on tooth decay. Foods to be avoided: *
- Candy (especially hard and sticky candies like lollipops, taffy, and caramel)
- Sugary/Acidic drinks (soda, lemonade, juice)
- Dried Fruits/Rasins
- Fruit snacks/roll-ups (Sticky or gummy fruit snacks)
- Cookies/Sweetened Breads or Crackers
- Pre-Sweetened Cereal
- Foods with added sugars
- Granola Bars
All of these foods have sugars and/or carbohydrates that the bacteria in your mouth uses as food. By cutting back on these types of foods you can lower your child's risk of cavities. Foods that can promote healthy teeth:
- Cheese, Milk, Plain Yogurt
- Leafy Greens, Fresh Fruit and Veggies
- Meat, Poultry, Fish, and Eggs
- Nuts and Seeds
- Popcorn (in place of chips and crackers)
- Products containing Xylitol (gum, vitamins, mints, toothpaste)
Whole foods, fruit and vegggies can help strengthen your child's body and teeth.Flossing and brushing twice a day along with good nutrition will lead to cavity free smiles!
In general, children need X-rays more often than adults. Their mouths grow and change rapidly. They are more susceptible than adults to tooth decay. For children with high risk of tooth decay, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends X-ray examinations every six months to detect cavities developing between the teeth. Children with a low risk of tooth decay require X-rays less frequently.
Should X-ray films be taken if my child has never had a cavity?
X-ray films detect much more than cavities. For example, X-rays may be needed to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. X-rays allow dentists to diagnose and treat conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable and affordable.
How safe are dental X-rays?
Pediatric dentists are particularly careful 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. In fact, dental X-rays represent a far smaller risk than undetected and untreated dental problems.
What safeguards are used to protect my child from X-ray exposure?
Lead body aprons and shields help protect your child. Today's equipment filters out unnecessary X-rays and restricts X-ray beam to the area of interest. High-speed film, digital X-rays, and proper shielding assure your child receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure.
Oral Health Assessment
In order to be able to perform well in a school setting it is important for your child to be pain free. Children with cavities have difficulty eating, may stop talking or smiling, and have problems paying attention and learning at school. Tooth decay is an infection that can cause pain and serious illness if not properly treated. California law requires that children entering their first year of school have a check by May 31 of that said year. If the child has had an evaluation within the previous 12 months the requirement will be filled. Give your child the head start they deserve in school by ensuring a healthy mouth
Did you know that about 39 percent of dental injuries to children are from sports? Using a mouth guard is an easy and effective way of protecting your child's teeth and gums from injury. At Growing Smiles Dentistry we can make a custom mouth guard for your child. Children with braces can also be made a custom mouth guard.