preventive Dentistry
in Byron Center

Why is preventive dental care so important for children?

The foundation of a healthy smile starts with preventive dentistry. With regular cleanings and exams, small issues such as cavities can be caught early before they turn into damaging and costly problems later. When combined with a consistent at-home brushing and flossing routine, preventive care can eliminate most dental issues altogether. Establishing strong oral health habits as a child increases the likelihood of continuing those habits for life.

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Did you know…

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Kids laugh around 400 times per day.

Ready to schedule your child’s

Call (616) 730-4111 today!

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

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Thorough Cleaning

Your child’s dentist or dental hygienist will perform a quick oral exam and begin cleaning their teeth. The teeth will be scaled to remove plaque and tartar, then cleaned with a high-powered brush. Finally, the dentist or hygienist will floss your child’s teeth to remove any remaining food particles and debris.

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Necessary X-Rays

X-rays may be required if the dentist suspects cavities or an infection. 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. 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 then screen your child’s smile for cavities, gum disease, and other signs of potential oral health issues. Your child’s x-rays and health history will also aid in the diagnosis. Once the dentist has a thorough understanding of your child’s oral health, they will discuss any problems or potential issues they may have found during the examination.

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Treatment Plan

If your child has cavities, gum disease, an infected tooth, or any other dental issues that need to be addressed, their dentist will craft a customized treatment plan and walk you through each step. Once both you and your child understand the issues and our solutions, we’ll schedule your child’s follow-up appointment.

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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.

Restorative Treatment Options for Children

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Cleanings & Exams

Two of the most important elements of preventive care are routine dental cleanings and oral exams. Regular cleanings can prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar on your child’s teeth and reduce their risk of gum disease and cavities. Routine oral exams provide insight into your child’s oral health and how you can care for their teeth properly. Oral exams also allow your child’s dentist to provide recommendations about preventive treatments such as dental sealants and fluoride, which can help protect their teeth from bacteria and decay. 

Digital X-Rays

Digital x-rays are fast, high-resolution images that capture your child’s jaw and tooth health. X-rays will only be recommended if your child’s dentist thinks they are necessary. For most cases, x-rays are taken every few years, however, your child’s dentist may recommend more if your child is at high risk for oral disease.

Laser Therapy

Our practice uses special lasers that can remove both soft tissue (gum tissue) and hard tissue (tooth enamel). Lasers reduce bleeding and allow your child’s mouth to heal more quickly, making these tools ideal for pediatric dentistry.

Fluoride Treatments

After the cleaning treatment is complete, the dentist or hygienist will “paint” your child’s teeth with a fluoride treatment, which consists of a fluoride gel or paste. The fluoride helps remineralize and strengthen your child’s teeth, and can even reverse early stages of tooth decay. 

Silver Diamine Fluoride

Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is a blend of silver, ammonia, water, and fluoride that kills bacteria and prevents further decay, keeping your child’s tooth healthy until it falls out naturally. While SDF is a reliable preventive measure for baby tooth decay, it is possible that your child's tooth may still need a filling or crown in the future. SDF is only 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 cavity-prone rear teeth.

Oral Cancer Screenings

Even children need oral cancer screenings! This is an essential part of preventive care that can be performed quickly, safely, and usually without your child noticing. 

During the screening, the dentist will examine your child’s mouth, gums, and oral tissues. They’ll look for discolored patches, lumps, growths, and other similar abnormalities. In the rare case that an issue is found, a biopsy may be taken and sent to a specialist for further analysis, or the dentist will refer you to a specialist directly. 

Scheduling a dental visit every 6 months allows your child’s dentist to address any issues before they become larger problems.

Sports Mouthguards

Custom-fitted mouthguards can protect your child’s teeth from any accidental oral trauma during contact sports. Mouthguards cushion and protect the teeth and gums, and help your child avoid oral injuries like cracked, broken, loose, or knocked-out teeth.

Did you know…

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Around 85% of children see the dentist regularly.

Interested in preventive care for your child?

Call (616) 730-4111 to schedule today!

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

How can I ensure my child is brushing properly?

Be sure to brush your child’s teeth twice a day, every day, for two full minutes. Assist your child with brushing until they are 6 years old or can tie their shoes on their own. Once your child is able to brush independently, we encourage you to make brushing a family activity. Demonstrate your own proper technique to your children, and make sure they’re brushing regularly.

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How do I floss my child’s teeth?

Floss your child’s teeth just as you would for your own teeth. Make sure you’re flossing between every two teeth that make contact and behind the rear molars. 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. 

Depending on your child’s age, you may need to find a toy or distraction to keep them entertained while you floss their teeth. You will need to floss your child’s teeth until they’re about 10, since it’s a lot harder to learn proper flossing technique than it is to learn proper brushing technique. Floss holders may be helpful for toddlers so they don’t accidentally bite your fingers. 

Why are my child’s baby teeth important?

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In order for your child to eat and chew properly, they must have healthy baby teeth and strong oral health. Damaged or decayed baby teeth can cause them a lot of pain and discomfort. Even though your child will naturally lose their baby teeth as they child age, their baby teeth should remain in place until they fall out on their own. Losing one or more teeth prematurely can affect their future oral development since baby teeth help form the “paths” that the adult teeth follow when they emerge. If your child loses one or more baby teeth too soon, oral development problems could occur.

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

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Almost every dental insurance plan covers preventive care, like six-month cleanings and exams, for dependents. In some cases, fluoride treatments and dental sealants may also be covered. Coverage for each insurer and dental plan varies, so we recommend consulting directly with your provider to learn about the full scope of your coverage and benefits.

Did you know…

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Children should start seeing the dentist as early as 1 year old, or when their first tooth erupts.

Ready for your next dental appointment?

Call (616) 730-4111 to schedule a consultation