Preventive Dental Care in


Why is preventive dental care so important for children?

Preventive dentistry is the foundation for a healthy smile and can affect your child's overall health. With regular cleanings and exams, small dental issues can be caught before they turn into large and costly problems. Preventive dental care along with a diligent at-home brushing and flossing routine can help prevent dental issues all together. Preventive care is particularly important for children because once good oral health habits are established, they’re more likely to continue those habits throughout adulthood and have healthier smiles as a result.

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Did you know…

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Children should start seeing the dentist as early as 1 year old.

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What to expect at your child’s preventive dental care appointment

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Thorough Cleaning

To begin, your child’s dentist or dental hygienist will perform a quick oral exam and begin cleaning their teeth. Their teeth will be scaled to remove plaque and tartar, then brushed with a high-powered brush, and flossed to remove any remaining food particles and debris. 

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Necessary X-Rays

X-rays are not required at every dental appointment and are usually taken every few years to ensure your child’s oral development is on track. X-rays may be required if the dentist suspects cavities or an infection. If your child’s dentist determines that x-rays are needed, our team will take them with your permission. 

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Comprehensive Exam

Your child’s dentist will use special dental tools to check for cavities, gum disease, and other signs of potential oral health issues. They will also view your child’s x-rays and health history to aid in diagnosis. Then, they will discuss with you any problems or potential issues they may have found during the examination. We will also spend time providing you with information to help your child continue to thrive.

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Treatment Plan

If your child has dental issues that need to be addressed, such as cavities, gum disease, or an infected tooth, their dentist will develop a treatment plan and discuss it with you. Once both you and your child understand the issues and how we can fix them, we can schedule your child’s follow up appointment for treatment.

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Follow Up Appointment

Our team can help you schedule your child’s next cleaning and exam, and also any appointments for additional treatment. It’s important that your child gets the care they need from a dental team they know and trust, so stay on top of their appointments and help us keep their smile strong and healthy.

Preventive Treatment Options

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Cleanings & Exams

Routine dental cleanings and oral exams are the most important part of preventive care. With regular cleanings, you can prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar on your child’s teeth and reduce their risk of gum disease and cavities. With routine oral exams from your child’s dentist, you can get insights on their oral health, how to care for their teeth properly, and information about preventive treatments like dental sealants and fluoride, which can help protect their teeth from bacteria and decay. 

Digital X-Rays

Digital x-rays are the best choice for kids, since they are very fast, provide high-resolution images, and expose children to less radiation. X-rays will typically be recommended only if your child’s dentist thinks that your kid needs them, typically every few years, or more frequently if your child is at high risk for oral disease like tooth decay or gum disease. 

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride treatments consist of a fluoride gel or paste that is “painted” onto your child’s teeth after a teeth cleaning. The fluoride helps remineralize and strengthen your child’s teeth, and can even reverse “soft spots” which are the first stage of tooth decay. 

Silver Diamine Fluoride

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is an alternative to fillings for cavities in baby teeth. It uses a blend of silver, ammonia, water, and fluoride that kills bacteria and seals your child’s tooth, preventing further decay and keeping the tooth healthy until it falls out naturally. It’s primarily used in baby teeth because it will permanently stain the treated area black. 

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants use a transparent liquid resin, which is applied directly to the teeth and is hardened using a UV light. This creates an impenetrable seal on your child’s tooth, which stops bacteria, acid, and food particles from causing cavities. This treatment is usually recommended specifically for the cavity-prone rear teeth.

Did you know…

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Kids laugh around 400 times per day.

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Have questions about preventive dentistry for your child? Find answers here.

How can I ensure my child is brushing properly?

You should brush your child’s teeth twice a day for two minutes until they’re 6 years old, or are able to tie their shoes on their own. After this, we recommend making brushing a family activity. You can demonstrate proper technique to your children, and make sure they’re brushing regularly.

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How do I floss my child’s teeth?

You will need to floss your child’s teeth for them until they’re about 10, since it’s a lot harder to learn proper flossing technique than it is to learn proper brushing technique. 

Flossing your child’s teeth will not be dissimilar to flossing your own. Depending on their age, you may need to find a toy or distraction to keep them entertained while you floss their teeth. Floss holders may be helpful for toddlers so they don’t bite your fingers. Just make sure you’re flossing between every two teeth that make contact and behind their most rear molar. 

We recommend flossing your child’s teeth once per day, and having them rinse with water or mouthwash after flossing to remove any food particles that were dislodged during the process. 

Why are my child’s baby teeth important?

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Healthy baby teeth are essential for your child to eat and chew properly, and damaged or decayed baby teeth can cause them a lot of pain and discomfort. Though they will fall out naturally as your child ages, your child’s baby teeth should remain in place until they fall out on their own, the last of which is typically around age 12. If they lose one or more teeth prematurely, this can affect their future oral development. This is because baby teeth help form the “paths” that the adult teeth follow when they emerge. If your child loses one or more baby teeth prematurely, this can lead to future oral development problems. 

Is my child’s preventive care covered by my dental insurance?

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Yes. Almost every dental insurance plan covers preventive care, like six-month cleanings and exams, for dependents. Fluoride treatments and dental sealants may also be covered, in some cases. However, coverage for each insurer and dental plan varies, so we recommend consulting directly with your insurer to learn about coverage limits for pediatric preventive care, covered treatments, and other such information. 

Why Does My Child Keep Getting Cavities?

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It can be frustrating to see your child getting cavities even when you seem to take every precaution to maintain their oral health. Let’s start with how cavities form. When you neglect to brush or floss, food particles get left behind and plaque begins to form. 

Bacteria feed off of the sugars in the mouth, converting them into acids that attack your enamel. Over time, this erodes your teeth and forms cavities. Cavities are often caused by a perfect storm of too much sugar or frequent snacking paired with inadequate oral hygiene and a dry mouth. 

Saliva is important for washing away left-behind food particles in between brushings. However, if your child doesn’t stay hydrated or is a mouth breather, they might deal with dry mouth which increases their risk for cavities.

Eating too often also reduces the saliva’s ability to neutralize the pH in the mouth. Other factors that can cause cavities include using a baby bottle past the age of one, sharing saliva by using the same utensils, using a pacifier past 4 years old, not getting enough fluoride intake, and a genetic predisposition for cavities.

Are There Foods or Drinks That Can Strengthen My Child’s Teeth?

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Drinking water is incredibly important for staying hydrated, preventing dry mouth, and strengthening your teeth. Fibrous vegetables like carrots, celery, and apples remove plaque buildup and are like nature’s toothbrush. They naturally increase saliva production too. 

It’s important to consume vitamin C, which helps to fight against harmful bacteria in the mouth. Calcium, which can be found in dairy products, dark leafy vegetables, and nuts and seeds, strengthens the teeth in a number of ways. 

Vitamin D is also important for maintaining strong bones, including your teeth. Limit your consumption of sugar, citrus, and carbohydrates. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is the best way to strengthen your child’s teeth.

Why Are X-Rays Necessary for Treating My Child?

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X-rays are used to get a deeper look into the teeth and gums, revealing potential oral health problems that are not visible to the naked eye. A digital x-ray gives us a high-definition view of the jaw, between the teeth, and within the teeth. 

This can reveal interproximal cavities, tooth decay that has penetrated to the dental pulp, and show us how your child’s teeth are developing. X-rays may be used to look for the eruption of certain teeth. This becomes especially important when your child’s wisdom teeth start to come in. 

If your child has orthodontic problems, we can use x-rays to plan treatment for orthodontic treatment. X-rays are used preventatively, to diagnose active oral health problems, and to plan treatment like oral surgery.

We only use x-rays as often as is necessary for your child’s oral health. Digital x-rays emit very minimal and safe levels of radiation. You can be assured that we will always keep your child’s health as our first priority in determining if an x-ray is necessary or not.

See What Patients And Parents Are Saying!

Preventive care Reviews & Testimonials

We had a great experience with Dr. Sholander. It was our first visit and Dr. Sholander explained the entire process to my son as she checked his teeth. The office has different rooms with age appropriate toys. We were in the toddler room.

Sarah Siddiqui
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Dr. Goodman & Dr. Sholander are the perfect team! They do exceptional work and take great care of their patients. We have trusted them for ortho and dental for our 3 daughters. I highly recommend Harmony Pediatrics.

Christine Brady
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Harmony Pediatric Dentistry is a uniquely beautiful, creative, and fun dental home for your child. You’re greeted and cared for with the warmth and kindness necessary to make your child at ease and comfortable during their visit. Dr. Sholander is absolutely wonderful. She provided thorough, comprehensive dental care and education with the gentle touch required to have my 3yr old daughter excited to brush, floss, and come back for her next visit.

Jeremy Fishelberg
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Call (301) 664-4220

Did you know…

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Around 85% of children see the dentist regularly. 

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