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A Parent's Guide to Preventative Dental Care

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

Pediatric dentistry is all about the prevention of decay, disease and pain. When needing the services of a kids dentist in Torrance CA, you want a dental practice that's comfortable and fun, but will help your child develop proper dental habits that will serve them for the rest of their life. When we perform your child's comprehensive exam, we also teach them (and you mom and dad) how to develop and execute proper oral habits. It is our philosophy to include discussion about diet, eating habits, and caring for teeth and gums at each visit!

A Parent's Guide to Preventative Dental Care
A Parent's Guide to Preventative Dental Care

Let's take a look at some elements of preventive dental care for your child, starting with a basic dental exam.

Each individual child is different, and we approach our dental exams this way. A child's dental needs can vary greatly based on your child's age and oral health. In general, a pediatric dental exam may cover things like:

  • A comprehensive examination of your child's oral health, including gums and teeth.

  • An examination of the bite and tooth alignment of your child.

  • X-rays may be taken to examine the developing teeth and tooth roots of your child, as well as checking for decay.

  • Mouthguard checks for children who play sports.

  • A professional dental cleaning.

  • Education about diet, eating habits, and caring for teeth

Preparing for Your Child's Appointment

One very important aspect of visiting the dentist is ensuring that your child is as comfortable as possible throughout the entire process. We want them to form positive associations and healthy habits. Here are a few tips to help ensure that you and your child get in and out of the dental office as smoothly as possible.

Schedule your child's appointment during a time when they tend to be less stressed and anxious. For example, you don't want to schedule an appointment immediately before or after nap time. Or before a big test at school.

It helps to offer your child a snack or light meal before leaving for their appointment so that they are not in a grouchy mood. Avoid large meals, and be sure that their teeth are brushed before leaving.

Leave chewing gum at home so that our dental hygienists can have full access to all of their teeth surfaces.

Pediatric Dental Exam

As mentioned earlier, each child is different; however, there are some elements of a pediatric dental exam that most children will encounter during their visit.

Review of Medical History

This is the time to let us know if your child had a bad experience previously with their dentist. We will also want to know if your child has difficulty with brushing and flossing? Do they have special needs that we need to take into account?

We definitely want to learn everything we can about your child's dental and medical history so that they can receive the finest care possible.


X-rays give us the ability to obtain more information than we can get from a simple visual examination. If any problem signs are detected during the visual examination, or x-rays, your child's dentist may be called in for a closer look.

Dental Exam and Cleaning

This part of the process involves a comprehensive examination of your child's teeth, mouth and gums. We will also thoroughly clean the teeth of your child to remove any buildup of plaque and tartar. This helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Fluoride may also be applied to your child's teeth at this time to protect them from tooth decay.

Silver diamond fluoride is an extremely cost-effective way to stop tooth decay through direct application to existing cavities.

Review of Proper Brushing and Flossing Techniques

Do you need to know how to floss the teeth of your child? Or do you need some advice on brushing your toddler's teeth when they are not cooperative? If so, we'd be more than happy to answer your questions and share tips for brushing and flossing. We can even give a demonstration on the proper techniques.

Discussion of Diet and Nutrition

Everyone knows that candies and cookies can cause cavities, but did you know that things like cereals, crackers, and gummy vitamins can actually be bad for child's teeth? Your child can certainly eat these things, but awareness is key. We can go over some recommended dietary guidelines to help your child remain free from cavities.

Development of a Treatment Plan

If any issues were detected during your child's dental exam, we will partner with you to create an appropriate treatment plan for them. We want to keep you fully informed so that you understand every step of the treatment process.

Let's turn now to another increasingly popular prevention method known as dental sealants.

Pediatric Dental Sealants

A dental sealant is a special material that is applied in a thin coating over the chewing surfaces of a child's back teeth to prevent tooth decay. It is a clear or thin white resinous liquid applied using a small brush. After placement, we use a special LED light to dry it, leaving behind a hard layer of protection.

The American Dental Association (ADA) has found that pediatric dental ceilings reduce the odds of children developing cavities by an amazing 80 percent. So think of sealants as an investment to help prevent costly and unnecessary dental work in the future.

The sealants themselves consist of a medical-grade resin. This material is similar to the white filling material used for filling cavities. The difference is that the sealant material is more like a liquid, flowing easily into the tiny grooves and crevices of your child's teeth. The sealant material is BPA-free and completely safe.

Application of Dental Sealants

An appointment to have dental sealants applied is very simple! It is fast and painless, requiring no drilling or anesthesia.

  • Your child's teeth will be thoroughly cleaned.

  • Their teeth will be dried and isolated from saliva.

  • A special etching solution will be applied to the surfaces of treated teeth for a better sealant adherence.

  • The etching solution will be rinsed away, and the teeth dried.

  • The sealant is applied onto the surface of their teeth, covering the tooth enamel.

  • An LED light is used to "cure" the dental sealant, which will harden and form a tight bond with the surface of their teeth to provide a protective shield against oral bacteria.

Schedule Your Child's Appointment

When looking for a good pediatric dentist in and around the Rolling Hills and Palos Verdes CA areas, locals want a dentist who can put their child at ease while they receive needed dental care. If your child has been without dental exams and cleanings for a long period, we encourage you to contact Pearly Smiles Pediatric Dentistry to schedule an appointment today.

Also check out our practice and learn more about Pearly Smiles Pediatric Dentistry today. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to get dental health tips, ideas, updates, and more.

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