Prevention

prevention

Tooth Decay Prevention

Tooth decay is technically a bacterial infection of enamel.  Tooth decay is a progressive disease resulting in the interaction of bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth and sugars in the everyday diet. Carbohydrates feed the bacteria, resulting in the release of their waste products in the form of acids that break down the mineral in teeth, forming a cavity. Dentists remove the decay and fill the tooth using a variety of fillings, restoring the tooth to a healthy state. Nerve damage can result from severe decay and may require a root canal and/or a crown (a crown is like a large filling that can cap a tooth, making it stronger or covering it). Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen: brushing and flossing at least twice per day, regular dental check-ups, diet control and fluoride treatment. Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment.

Sealants

The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean of bacteria and food. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way.
Statistics indicate that greater than 90% of darkly-stained grooves in back teeth of non-smokers are early cavities.  Re-read the previous sentence. 
Fortunately, most of these are treatable using sealants or small fillings without drilling. 

Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars and areas prone to cavities. Using our air-abrasion technique we have experienced our sealants lasting for 10 years or more.  These are always checked during regular appointments.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. A little research will enlighten you about how the fluoride molecule replaces calcium, and the reformulated enamel is less susceptible to acid demineralization.  Regularly drinking water treated with fluoride and brushing and flossing regularly ensures significantly lower cavities. Your local water authority can give you specifics about fluoride content of the drinking water.  Currently, fluoride supplements are not recommended.

Thumb Sucking

Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Children usually cease thumb sucking when the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Typically, children stop between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth can cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth. If you notice prolonged and/or vigorous thumb sucking behavior in your child, talk to your pediatric dentist.

Here are some ways to help your child outgrow thumb sucking:

  • Don’t scold a child when they exhibit thumb sucking behavior; instead, praise them when they don’t suck his or her thumb.
  • Focus on eliminating the cause of anxiety – thumb sucking is a comfort device that helps children cope with stress or discomfort.
  • Praise them when they refrain from the habit during difficult periods.
  • Place a bandage on the thumb or a sock on their hand at night.

3302 Old Bridge Rd., Suite F
Lake Ridge, VA 22192
Phone: 703.497.9709
Fax: 703.497.2715
lakeridgedentist@gmail.com

Office hours

Mon-Thu 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM.