Dental Cleaning and Examinations: What We Look For

Posted on: February 15, 2017

Dental CleaningOur Traverse City dental office can provide your child with a dental cleaning and examinations twice a year as a way to help them maintain good oral health.  Pediatric dental care is something our Traverse City dental office loves to provide you and your family. Each team member loves to work with children, helping establish a caring, comfortable place that your child will love to return to every 6 months. This is highly recommended no matter how old they are, their gender, or the condition their teeth are in.

First step for an appointment

Each visit consists of a cleaning with the hygienist, an exam with Dr. Pfefferle, and depending on the age of your child, routine radiographs to check for signs of decay. There is a common misconception about baby teeth that needs to be addressed: Often times, parents question fixing decay in baby teeth because “they are just going to lose them anyway!” This can be a dangerous pattern of thought because the teeth that are decayed will eventually abscess and can lead to a serious infection and dental emergency. Furthermore, baby teeth that have decay act as a reservoir for decay-causing bacteria, which puts every tooth at a higher risk for decay, even their permanent adult teeth. It is best to treat any areas of decay on baby teeth as soon as it’s recognized.

The first part of their appointment will be for the dental cleaning. We will use an abrasive paste and dental tools to remove the plaque and tartar that has built up on their teeth since their last cleaning. This will improve the appearance of their teeth and remove many of the surface stains. Health-wise, this is an important step because it allows us to reduce the risk of them developing tooth decay, infections, and gum disease.

Prevent infection with proper care

In addition to cleaning your child’s teeth, our caring team will help you and your child navigate oral hygiene basics, showing how you can help your child achieve oral health. We practice flossing and brushing with your child, helping them gain confidence in keeping their smile beautiful and cavity free! We will also review snacking habits and fluoride use to make sure your child stays at a low risk for developing cavities.

The examination portion of their appointment is equally important. In dental care, it is best to identify any issues early so treatment can begin before the problem gets worse and causes discomfort. During their exam, we will look for any signs of tooth decay. If they have a small cavity forming, we can often remove the decay before it causes them any discomfort.

We can identify the signs

We will also look for signs of gum disease. This is a condition that often leads to tooth loss, so it is critical that gum disease is not left untreated. If their gums appear to be red, swollen, or receding, we may suggest scheduling a deep cleaning appointment so the plaque can be removed and their gums restored to good health. This is a far more intensive treatment than a standard dental cleaning and examinations, so it will require a follow-up visit.

If you haven’t taken your child to see a Traverse City dentist yet, call us today! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child be seen by a dentist within six months of the eruption of their first tooth or by the age of one, whichever comes first. That might seem early, but it is the best way to help answer any questions and establish a comfortable dental home for your child.


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