The goal of Preventive Dentistry is to prevent cavities and gum disease through regular check-ups, cleanings, and fluoride application in our office. Most importantly, it requires daily participation from you and your child at home by brushing, flossing, and a healthy diet. Child and parent education (“anticipatory guidance”) is at the heart of preventing dental problems and maintaining a healthy mouth. Early dental visits, starting by age one year, are a key aspect to a successful Preventive program. Our team will provide you with a personalized approach to caring for your child’s teeth and gums, including instructions on oral hygiene, dietary counseling, and a fluoride regimen. See Prevention section of our website for more detailed information on brushing/flossing, healthy eating tips, and details on fluoride and xylitol.
Dental sealants are an important part of Preventive Dentistry. Sealants are used to protect teeth that have deep grooves or pits from getting cavities, primarily the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where most cavities in children are found. Sealants are normally easy to place and do not require local anesthesia. Any tooth that is susceptible to cavities, including primary (i.e., baby) teeth, is a candidate for sealant application, especially newly erupted permanent bicuspids and molars. The dental sealant is the most economical Preventive restoration.
The mouth and face of a child or young adult can be easily injured if proper precautions are not used while participating in sports or recreational activities. More than half of the 7 million sports- and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by children as young as 5 years old. In 2012, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF) reported that athletes who do not wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth. Yet, in a survey commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), 67% of parents admitted that their children do not wear a mouthguard during organized sports. This raises a question: If mouthguards offer a simple and relatively inexpensive solution to help dramatically decrease the risk of oral injuries, why aren’t more kids wearing them?
The fact is that schools and communities may not require athletes to wear mouthguards for all sporting events. At a time when a football helmet or shoulder pads may cost hundreds of dollars, mouthguards can be one of the least expensive pieces of protective equipment available.
A mouthguard is a flexible piece of plastic that fits around the upper teeth and gums and protects them from injury during an impact. It can also help protect the jaw from fracture and decrease the possibility of a concussion by absorbing and dissipating energy during a significant blow. When considering the significant dollar amount of a traumatic dental injury, lost hours from school and parent’s work, and a devastating psychological impact, the value of a mouthguard is obvious.
There are several types of mouthguards to choose from, including those called “boil and bite” guards available in sporting-goods stores to custom fabricated mouthguards. The custom mouthguard is made only in the dental office and is superior in retention, protection, and comfort. Dr. Stacey can help you decide which type of mouthguard is most suitable for your child.
The mouthguard is highly recommended for any type of sport or leisure activity that involves contact with another participant or a hard surface (including bicycle riding, skateboarding, roller skating, gymnastics, volleyball, etc.).