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Like many parents, you may be concerned about your child’s thumb sucking, finger sucking or pacifier use. You may wonder if it is harmful, at what age it should stop or what could happen if your child does not stop.

You can rest assured that sucking is one of an infant’s natural reflexes. They begin to suck on their thumbs or other fingers while they are in the womb. Infants and young children may suck on thumbs, other fingers, pacifiers or other objects. It makes them feel secure and happy, and it helps them learn about their world.

Placing a thumb or another finger in the mouth provides some children with a sense of security during difficult periods, such as when they are separated from their parents, surrounded by strangers or in an unfamiliar environment. Since thumb sucking is relaxing, it also may help induce sleep. For this reason, young children may suck their thumbs in the evening or at other times when they are tired.

Prolonged thumb sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and the alignment of teeth. It also can cause changes in the roof of the mouth.

Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to experience difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. When an active thumb sucker removes his or her thumb from the mouth, a popping sound often is heard. Some aggressive thumb suckers may cause problems with their primary (baby) teeth.

BREAKING THE HABIT

Pacifiers can affect the teeth in essentially the same way as does sucking on fingers and thumbs. However, pacifier use often is an easier habit to break. If you offer an infant a pacifier, use a clean one. Never dip a pacifier in sugar, honey or other sweeteners before giving it to an infant.

Most children stop sucking their thumbs or other fingers on their own between the ages of 2 and 4 years. The behavior lessens gradually during this period, as children spend more of their waking hours exploring their surroundings. Peer pressure also causes many school-aged children to stop placing their fingers in their mouths.

If a child does not stop on his or her own, parents should discourage the habit after age 4 years. However, excessive pressure to stop can do more harm than good.

THINGS TO CONSIDER
  • Instead of scolding the child for thumb sucking, offer praise for not doing so.
  • Children often suck their fingers when feeling insecure. Focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety and comfort the child.
  • Reward the child when he or she avoids thumb sucking during a difficult period, such as being separated from family members.

The dentist also can encourage the child to stop sucking his or her thumb and explain what could happen to the teeth if it continues.

If these approaches do not work, remind your child of the habit by bandaging the thumb or putting a sock over the hand at night. If the thumb sucking persists, talk to your child’s dentist or pediatrician. He or she can prescribe a mouth appliance or a medication with which to coat the thumb to prevent the thumb sucking.

The post Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Use appeared first on World Pediatric Dental.

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The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has recently put together a wonderful resource for parents who may have serious questions about their child’s teeth/dentist. We highly recommend you visit this website – as it is a great tool for parents who may be getting ready to make their first dental check-up for their child or a parent who wants to prevent cavities in their child’s teeth.

If you look under the tab “Education and Resources for your Family,” you will see great links to frequently asked questions by parents at the pediatric dentist, parent education brochures, and resources even for teens!

We like this website because the information is clear, concise, and backed by many scientific studies. Happy reading!

The post A Great Resource for Parents appeared first on World Pediatric Dental.

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DID YOU KNOW that dental disease (cavities and gum disease) is the most common childhood disease – FIVE times more common than asthma?

If that’s not surprising enough, here are some more startling statistics:

  • 47.4% of 3rd graders in Virginia have or had a (untreated or treated) cavity experience.
  • Students miss as many as 51 million hours of school each year because of dental problems.
  • Adults miss 164 million hours of work each year because of dental problems.

Excellent oral health is considered a very important aspect of maintaining good overall health. Dental disease (cavities and gum disease), is the most common chronic disease of Virginia’s children, despite it being entirely preventable.

Are you wondering how to prevent cavities and gum problems for your child?

Contact us at 210-888-0700 and we would be more than happy to discuss it with you!

The post Alarming Children’s Teeth Statistics appeared first on World Pediatric Dental.

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The experience of breastfeeding is very special for many new moms as they consider that time a valuable bonding experience between the mother and newborn child.  Moms who are able to breastfeed also benefit for other reasons: they gain overall health benefits, oral health benefits, and cost-savings benefits.  This blog will help explain the many benefits, for both mom and child, of breastfeeding.

It is important to remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that “exclusive breastfeeding, defined as giving an infant only breast milk – no water, no formula, or no other liquids or solid foods – is the norm against which all alternative feeding methods should be compared.”  The 2012 AAP policy statement on breastfeeding and the use of human milk documents the many important reductions in health risks for infants and children, mothers, families and society that are attributable to breast-feeding.  These advantages include developmental, economic, health, nutritional, immunological, psychological, social and environmental benefits.

Why Breastfeeding is Important for Overall Health

The policy statement of the AAP Section on Breast-feeding states that breast milk is the only source of nutrition a healthy infant requires for about the first six months of life.  Breastmilk provides specific nutritional components for the child – providing immunological, anti-inflammatory, digestive and immune system benefits during the most vulnerable time in their lives.

There are many reduced health risks for breastfed children including:

  1. Acute Otitis Media (Middle Ear Infections)
  2. Gastroenteritis and Diarrhea
  3. Lower Respiratory Tract Infections – ie. Pneumonia, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  4. Necrotizing Enterocolitis
  5. Leukemia
  6. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  7. Asthma
  8. Obesity
  9. Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Not only does breastfeeding benefit the child, but there are also scientifically proven reduced health risks for mothers who breastfeed including:

  • Postpartum bleeding and hemorrhage – helps mothers recover from childbirth
  • Breast Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
Oral Health Considerations of Breastfeeding

There are many things to consider when breastfeeding your infant to help your child maintain positive jaw growth patterns, maintain good oral hygiene, and maintain a cavity-free environment from the very start.  Yes, even babies who breastfeed can get cavities!

Jaw Growth Patterns of Breastfed Children

The sucking mechanism used during bottle feeding differs from that used during breastfeeding.  The different sucking mechanisms have the potential to predispose a bottle-fed infant to the development of poor jaw growth patterns.  What’s the significance of your child’s jaw growth pattern?  If your child’s jaw and teeth do not fit together well, your child may need orthodontic treatment in the future or if the jaw growth pattern is significantly deviated from the norm, you may be looking at jaw surgery to correct how teeth fit together (and ultimately your child’s smile!).

Breastfeeding and Early Childhood Cavities

Scientific studies have not found significant evidence that confirms an association between breastfeeding and early childhood cavities.

How Do I Clean my Infant’s Teeth/Gums?

Prior to the eruption of teeth, it’s easiest to gently wipe your infant’s gums with a wet washcloth or soft towel after breastfeeding (day or night).  Once your child’s teeth begin to erupt, it becomes easier for the parent to either use a finger brush or baby tooth brush with soft bristles.  You can either use water on the brush, or safe-to-swallow (fluoride-free) toothpaste to clean these newly erupted baby teeth.  If your child begins to bite your finger with the finger brush, save your fingers and switch to the hand-held baby toothbrush!

Most importantly, as your child approaches their first birthday, make sure to find a pediatric dentist in your area and schedule your child’s first dental exam.  During this first visit, you can expect a very quick exam, and a lot of talking between you and your dentist regarding things to expect as your child grows, and ways to maintain optimum oral health.   This is also a good time for you to ask your dentist any questions you may have regarding your child’s teeth, gums, and hygiene practices.

For all those breastfeeding mothers out there, great choice!   You can chosen the best source nutrition for your child while providing both you and your child with many health benefits.  As dentists, we hope you also understand the importance of starting early with good oral hygiene habits.  Always remember to baby those baby teeth!

The post Impact of Breastfeeding on Dental Health appeared first on World Pediatric Dental.

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Digital advances in Pediatric Dentistry are amazing. Not only do they provide for patient comfort, they create opportunities for Pediatric Dentists to provide better treatment.

Digital X-Rays
The cutting-edge technology of digital X-rays, also known as digital radiography, enables the Pediatric Dentist to take crisp X-ray images of the teeth, supporting bone and gums and download them instantaneously into the computer without delay, thus eliminating the need for environmentally-harmful film and chemical development. It also allows dentists to magnify and enhance images to review specific dental issues, and instantly transfer them to a patient’s file or dental specialist such as the child’s orthodontist.

Digital X-rays are faster and safer than traditional X-rays, reducing the exposure to radiation by up to 90%.

Digital Photography
The intra-oral camera allows a patient to see what the dentist sees: their mouth from the inside. These photographs can also be enlarged and enhanced to show detail, creating better means of communication and documentation. Since they are not X-rays, there is no radiation involved. The camera is additionally used for “before” and “after” photos, presentations, enhanced diagnosis, insurance claims, and education or monitoring with parents and patients concerning overall dental health.

Digital Panoramic X-Rays
Panoramic digital X-rays show the health status of all the teeth in one film. Used primarily to show the upper and lower jaw, the TMJ and the sinus areas, to record existing condition and detect abnormalities of the developing teeth, salivary glands, cysts, displaced teeth follicles, etc.

They are especially helpful for children who have orthodontic problems, or those who have medical or behavioral special needs that interfere with their ability to cooperate for intra-oral x-rays. Images are taken externally, and no film is required to be put into the mouth.

In addition, there are ways Pediatric Dentists use digital technology that you might not have thought about:

Digital/Electronic Dental Records
Use of technology also makes it easier to manage our pediatric dental practice using digital files, file-sharing capabilities, scheduling, records management, and insurance filing. Our paperless practice and electronic software enables patients to thoroughly complete their paperwork right from home rather than having to feel rushed or distracted after arriving at the dental office. This saves time and allows for more detailed conversations with the dentist. The dentist also has access to the paperwork and can review your medical history details ahead of time.

Digital Entertainment
Pop into World Pediatric Dental and you’ll find plenty of entertainment options for young patients in the form of Wi-Fi, iPads in the children’s play area, a theater area, our world famous EyePlay Interactive Floor, and TVs at every chair. These devices not only make a visit to the dentist more enjoyable, they can serve as a comforting distraction.

Schedule Your Appointment with Smile Wonders
Helping our young patients enjoy going to the dentist is what we love to do. For expert Pediatric Dentistry in San Antonio, schedule your next appointment with Dr. Dutta at World Pediatric Dental today!

The post The Advantages of Digital Technology in Pediatric Dentistry appeared first on World Pediatric Dental.

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Active children always seem to be injuring themselves in one way or another. Most of the time, the injury is minor, like a bruise or a scrape. However, sometimes the child needs to see a doctor or a dentist, such as in the case of a broken or loose tooth.

Pediatric dentists are especially trained in the management and case of tooth trauma on young teeth. Here is a brief guideline offered by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry of the types of trauma children’s teeth can incur, and how you as a parent can help minimize the damage and long term effects.

Knocked Out Tooth

If a child’s tooth becomes knocked out, the sooner you contact your Pediatric dentist, the better. Quick action can lessen a child’s discomfort, prevent infection, and perhaps save the tooth. Call us even if the injury occurs after regular dental office hours.
For baby teeth, rinse the child’s mouth out with water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Do not spend time looking for the tooth, as baby teeth cannot be replanted.

For permanent teeth, find the tooth and gentlyrinse it in cold water. DO NOT scrub the tooth or use soap or let it dry out outside the mouth. Handling it only by the crown (don’t touch the root surface), replace the tooth in the socket and have the child hold it there in place with a clean washcloth or gauze as you travel to the dentist. DO NOT place the tooth in water; if you need to carry the tooth, put it into a container with cold milk or the child’s saliva.

Chipped or Broken Tooth

If your child’s tooth has broken due to a fall, sports injury or accident, rinse the mouth and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and discomfort, then contact your pediatric dentist. Find the broken tooth fragment and take it along with you to the dentist; having it may reduce the need for extensive dental treatment.

Dislodged or Luxated Tooth

A child’s tooth may be pushed sideways or shoved up into the gum tissue or bone. Your pediatric dentist can determine what action to take, based on the severity level.

Other Times to Seek Emergency Treatment

There are other instances in which a child should seek immediate treatment. They include: pain or tenderness, sensitivity to hot or cold, swallowing a tooth, bleeding that doesn’t stop, jaw pain when opening or closing the mouth, any object stuck into the cheek, tongue, mouth or throat, and large cuts or punctures on the face or mouth.

In addition, if your child spikes a fever, has neck stiffness or pain, can’t open their mouth, is drooling, or has slurred speech, contact your pediatric dentist immediately.

World Pediatric Dental is Trained for Trauma

At World Pediatric Dental, we know that the adrenaline rushes whenever your child is injured. Dr. Dutta and all our staff are especially trained in pediatric traumas, so you can relax knowing your child is in good hands. Our soothing environment and friendly demeanor will help calm the situation so we can fix the problem as quickly as possible. If tooth trauma occurs, call us immediately at 210-888-0700, day or night.

The post What to do with Trauma? appeared first on World Pediatric Dental.

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Managing your children’s oral health involves a daily reigeme of eating healthy, brushing and flossing to help stop bacteria from building up in the mouth and to stop cavities from forming, which is the ultimate goal. At World Pediatric Dental we strive to do everything we can as your children’s dentist to prevent tooth decay from forming in your child’s mouth. We get asked by parents the right toothbrush, toothpaste and floss to use for their children, but  not many ask about mouthwash. (If you have not asked us which toothbrush/toothpaste/floss  are best for your child ask us the next time you are in our office! Those three things are still the most important tools to maintaining proper oral hygiene for your kids.)

Along with brushing and flossing, mouthwash can help keep the mouth healthy, fresh and free of bacteria, but is mouthwash safe for your kids?
 

If your child is under 6 years of age the American Dental Association recommends that your child wait to use mouthwash. The reason for this is children under 6 might have a problem remembering to only gargle the mouthwash and not swallow it. A good way to see if your child is ready to use  mouthwash is have them put water in their mouth, swish it around and then spit. If they are able to do this then they may be ready to use mouthwash.

When your child is ready to use mouthwash make sure to get a kid friendly product, one designed specifically for children. The reason for this is because adult mouthwash contains alcohol and is more harmful to a child if swallowed. Children’s mouthwash also contains fluoride, which as we learnt in a previous blog helps fight off tooth decay! A great way to get your child excited for mouthwash is have them pick a flavor they enjoy so they want to use it and that they will enjoy. Just make sure any mouthwash you get as the ADA seal so you know it’s certified by the American Dental Association. The ADA reviews mouthwashes for both safety and effectiveness. So look for that seal!

There are two types of mouthwashes, cosmetic ones just used to freshen breath and therapeutic ones that attack bacteria and help strengthen teeth with fluoride, so make sure you know which kind you are getting before you buy it.

And lastly just remember that mouthwashes do not replace brushing and flossing! Brushing and flossing are still the most important aspects of maintaining a proper oral hygiene for your child!  If you are not sure which mouthwash is right for your kids please contact our office or the next time you are in our office ask our pediatric dentist or dental hygienist.

Have any questions or comments? We would love to hear from you! Just leave a comment below or call our office at any time. We are here to serve you.

The post When should your child start using Mouthwash? appeared first on World Pediatric Dental.

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PEDIATRIC DENTISTS HELP MAKE YOUR CHILD FEEL SAFE

Taking care of a child’s dental needs is very different than those of an adult. Our pediatric dentists at World Pediatric Dental understand this and with their skill and training are very successful in helping your children both relax and feel comfortable while also offering the best dental care for your kids in San Antonio.

If you live in Stone Oak, Dominion, Schertz, Helotes and the surrounding areas of San Antonio, your child can get the dental work they need with several kinds of dental procedures done by our pediatric dentists.

In some cases the best way to restore your little one’s smile is with a baby tooth crown.  Baby teeth crowns are readily available for placement in a single visit and come in a variety of materials.

IF YOUR CHILD NEEDS CROWNS, PEDIATRIC DENTISTS OFFER CHOICES Stainless Steel Crowns

When a cavity is not found early, decay can wither away and destroy such a large amount of your child’s tooth that there isn’t enough left to where a filling would work. That is where a stainless steel crown comes in. A stainless steel crown both saves your child’s tooth and also prevents pain and possible infection. Stainless steel crowns also work well in children because they are extremely durable making them the perfect choice. A crown serves to keep the tooth and root connected until the tooth falls out naturally.

When a Stainless Steel Crown is Best

  • A tooth that has broken and is too decayed for a filling.
  • To stop a tooth from breaking if part of a nerve has been removed, which is called a pulpotomy.

Once your pediatric dentist has performed an examination on your child he will set up a day for treatment. The stainless steel crowns can be placed during one appointment, usually, depending on how well your child responds to treatment and the amount of work that needs to be done. Our pediatric dentist will, through the use of his training, form your child’s tooth to the necessary size and take a stainless steel crown, trims it down until it fits securely over the tooth. The newly placed crown is then cemented into its location and will usually fall out naturally on its own when the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. Stainless steel crowns are generally used on posterior teeth whereas whitee crowns are used on anterior (front).

If any of the following happens contact your pediatric dentist

  • Your child complains of pain on the tooth with the crown or if the crown is loose.
  • You notice the gums around the crown becoming swollen or sensitive.
Natural Tooth-Colored Crowns

Natural tooth-colored crowns serve the same purpose as stainless steel crowns. These crowns are made from dental materials ranging from resin to zirconia. Our pediatric dentists will determine what would be the best fit to restore your child’s smile. They are used on cavities that have become so large that a normal filling would not be able to restore the tooth.

The strength, durability and longevity of the crown are dependent on many factors. Our San Antonio pediatric dentists do their best to provide your child with the finest possible restoration. By following home care instructions, and maintaining regular check-ups, you can anticipate a long-lasting and attractive restoration for your child.

When a Natural Tooth-Colored Crown is Best

  1. A tooth that has broken and is too decayed for a filling.
  2. To stop a tooth from breaking if part of a nerve has been removed, which is called a pulpotomy.
  3. You don’t want to use a stainless steel crown on front teeth and want a more aesthetically pleasing look.

Note:

  • A natural tooth-colored crown is not as strong as an actual natural tooth. It’s vital that you explain to your child how important it is for him/her to avoid biting into hard objects that put pressure on their crown.

If any of the following happens contact your pediatric dentist

  1. Your child complains of pain on the tooth with the crown or if the crown is loose.
  2. You notice the gums around the crown becoming swollen or sensitive.
  3. An abscess (gumboil) forms on the gum above the tooth.

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HOW A PEDIATRIC DENTIST CAN USE A PULPOTOMY TO SAVE A TOOTH What is Pulpotomy?

A large, deep cavity in your kid’s baby tooth could reach the nerve (pulp) of their tooth. When it happens, in order for the tooth to be saved, your pediatric dentist could recommend a pulpotomy for your child.

A pulpotomy of a baby tooth is similar to a root canal treatment on an adult tooth. Both dental procedures are designed to stop unnecessary loss of teeth. The reason baby teeth are important and you want to save them as best you can is because they guide the permanent teeth into position and should remain in your child’s mouth until they fall out naturally.

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Live in the San Antonio Area?

Make Your Child’s Appointment to See a Pediatric Dentist Today

Browse this website for more information about what our pediatric dentists can do to both make your child comfortable and the treatment they might perform to help maintain your child’s beautiful smile.

Then, when you’re looking for a pediatric dentist in  San Antonio call our office at (210) 888-0700 or if you prefer to email us first you can do so at info@worldpediatricdental.com. One of our experienced and caring staff will respond to you promptly and help set up your appointment.

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Have a comment? We would love to hear from you, just leave a comment below and let us know what you think!


The post Dental Care at a Pediatric Dentist appeared first on World Pediatric Dental.

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Once cavities form it is time to come in and see your pediatric dentist because cavities that do not get treated can result in significant pain for your child, loss of teeth and even the spread of infection. The great news is you can prevent most cavities from ever forming with good dental care, regular visits to your kids dentist and with fluoride. Throughout this blog post I will go into more detail about how through the use of fluoride you can help maintain strong and healthy teeth for your children.

What is fluoride and why is it important?

Mom and Daughter Smiling World Pediatric Dental Kids Dentist San Antonio Texas

Fluoride is a natural mineral that you can find in all water sources, including the oceans. Fluoride, along with proper dental care with your kids dentist, can prevent cavities in your child’s mouth. What the fluoride does is help to protect the tooth enamel from the acid attacks that are the main cause of cavities. It also helps repair and heal weak enamel BEFORE cavities form! As you can see already fluoride is a very important tool for a proper dental hygiene.

So fluoride is good, but what is the best way to get it?

We can get fluoride for our teeth in two ways: when we swallow it and when it is put onto the surface of the tooth. To help stop cavities from forming, it is recommended to get a bit from both sources. Just remember that more fluoride DOES NOT mean better! Pediatric Dentists use the word “optimal” to mean “just the right amount.” When you see your pediatric dentist talk it over with him to see the right fluoride needs for your child.

Fluoride that is swallowed generally comes out of our tap water. Here in San Antonio our tap water naturally has 0.3 parts per million of fluoride in it. The SAWS (San Antonio Water System) adds enough fluoride to bring it up to 0.8 parts per million, which is the recommended level that experts say is necessary for the protection of teeth against decay. You can read more about the water we drink here.

When fluoride is put onto the surface of your child’s teeth, it is called topical fluoride. Both fluoride toothpastes and mouth-rinses sold in stores contain topical fluoride. When you visit your kids dentist for a cleaning we will apply a topical fluoride gel and varnish to your child’s teeth.

    • Children 2-6 years old: Use only a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on your children’s toothbrush for each brushing. Contact your pediatric dentist about using fluoride toothpaste before the child reaches the age of two.
  • Children UNDER 6: should not use a fluoride mouth-rinse because they could swallow it, remember more fluoride IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER!!

In the end it all comes down to doing everything you can, and we can as a kids dentist, to prevent cavities from forming in your child’s mouth and fluoride is one of many tools to help with that.

If you have any questions feel free to call us at 210-888-0700 and speak with our kids dentist about the uses of fluoride as a part of your child’s dental hygiene.

If you would like to share your thoughts or leave a comment feel free to do so below. We would love to hear from you!

The post Fluoride: Nature’s Cavity Fighter appeared first on World Pediatric Dental.

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What is a dental sealant?

A dental sealant is a special, plastic coating that is applied to the tooth to protect it from decay. When teeth are treated with sealants, they are less likely to get cavities. Sealants can be applied quickly and painlessly. This is one of the main reasons your pediatric dentist recommends sealants for your child.

What causes tooth decay?

Teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. This bacteria changes sugar into harmful acids that attack the hard layer on teeth called enamel. Over time, these attacks may break down the enamel and cause tooth decay, or cavities.

Tooth decay often occurs on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These surfaces have pits and grooves that trap plaque and bits of food. The pits and grooves are hard to keep clean because bristles cannot reach into them. That is how decay starts in the pits and grooves and a cavity forms.

Even a toothbrush

bristle is too big to

to reach inside a groove

in the tooth (magnified).

How do sealants work?

A dental sealant is a plastic material applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The resin flows into the pits and grooves in the teeth. The sealants form a barrier, protecting enamel by sealing out food and plaque.

How are sealants applied?

It takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. The chewing surfaces are cleaned to make it easier for the sealant to stick to the tooth. Then the sealant is applied to the chewing surface, where it sticks or bonds to the tooth and hardens. A special light may be used to help the sealant harden.

Before and after

a tooth sealant.

How long do sealants last?

Sealants may last several years before they need to be replaced. Over time, sealants can become loose or worn. Then they will not protect the teeth as well. During regular dental visits, your pediatric dentist will check the sealants and reapply them as needed.

How else can I protect teeth from decay?

Sealants protect ONLY the chewing surfaces of teeth. Decay can still form between the teeth. To prevent decay, take good care of the teeth at home. It is also important to have regular exams and cleanings with your pediatric dentist.

To help keep your mouth healthy, be sure to floss and brush twice a day. Ask your pediatric dentist about using fluoride mouth rinse to prevent cavities.

Who should get sealants?

Sealants are primarily used for children and teenagers. Prevention is always better than treatment. Sealants are very useful in stopping tooth decay on the back teeth and can save you money over time. Your pediatric dentist can make sealants part of your plan for a healthy mouth.

Come by today and visit the best pediatric dentist in all of San Antonio! We look forward to seeing you at World Pediatric Dental

Have a comment? We would love to hear it, just please leave a message below.

The post Seal Out Decay with your Pediatric Dentist appeared first on World Pediatric Dental.

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