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Exams, X-rays and cleanings: the three essentials.

Kids who have regular exams and cleanings have a head start to a lifetime of good oral health. Young smiles are constantly changing and growing, so it’s important to come see us every six months – your child’s dentist will help catch any problems before they develop, and you’ll save on dental care in the long run.

Dental hygienists are teeth’s BFFs!

A dental hygienist is your first line of defense against tooth decay and gum disease. They’re caring and thorough professionals who will gently clean your child’s teeth by removing unwanted plaque and bacteria that can’t be reached with normal brushing. That’s why it’s important to see them on a regular basis.

New Patient? We've Got You Covered

Hygienists are the foundation of our “dental home.” Because they’re the link between you and the rest of our pediatric dental team, they help coordinate any advanced care you may need from a dentist or pediatric dental specialist. 

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More on the basics.

Regular checkups.

Young patients are always growing, and that includes their teeth. At every visit, your hygienist or pediatric dentist will do a thorough inspection of all your teeth and gums. Your dentist will check for any signs of cavities, gum disease, infections and any other health problems.

Good oral hygiene is connected to overall health.

Did you know that poor dental health can lead to more serious health issues, like heart disease and diabetes? Starting off life with a good oral health routine puts your child on a healthy path. When kids visit the dentist on a regular basis, they develop good oral hygiene habits, and if problems do develop, their dentist can treat them before they become serious. That can save additional visits to a pediatric dentist for costly and prolonged treatment. 

Cleaning and polishing.

Try as you may, brushing can’t always get to the tartar and plaque that starts forming almost immediately after a meal. Most kids need a professional cleaning every six months – more frequently if your child builds up tartar quickly or if brushing is a challenge. That’s why regular cleanings are essential to keeping cavities and bigger issues at bay.

When your child comes in for a cleaning, the hygienist will clean along and just below the gum line with an ultra-sonic tool or dental scraper to gently remove built-up plaque and tartar, followed by a tooth polishing and flossing. Your child will leave with sparklingly clean teeth, ready to face the world!

Smile! You’re ready for your close-up.

Because your child is constantly growing, their teeth and facial structures are changing, too. So your child’s dentist will want to take X-rays of their mouth at each exam to see how things are developing.

In the dental world today, modern X-ray machines emit very low doses of radiation – not enough to cause any concern. They capture detailed pictures of the teeth, like infections, cavities between teeth, impacted wisdom teeth, and other issues not visible in a routine exam. They’re quick and easy, and they’ll give the pediatric dentist a total picture of your child’s mouth.

Kids like a good oral hygiene routine…

Learning good habits is part of growing up. By brushing at least twice a day, your child is breaking up tartar so it doesn’t form into plaque, a hard substance that accumulates on teeth and harbors harmful bacteria that can cause cavities. Use a fluoride toothpaste (kids love the berry flavors). They’ll help strengthen the tooth enamel and fight off plaque. 

Western Dental Kids

…and a visit to the dentist.

Good habits include regular visits to a pediatric dentist, and we make dental appointments fun! Be sure to schedule your child’s appointment every six months. For most dental plans (including Medi-Cal and Medicaid) it’s a covered benefit.

We want your child to have a healthy smile to age 100 – and they will with regular check-ups and good dental hygiene habits you help them develop. 

What is dental plaque?

Your mouth is filled with bacteria, and they love to eat the sugary carbohydrates left in your teeth after a meal. While they munch away, they multiply super fast and release acids that eat away at your teeth.

Left alone, those bacteria will create a sticky film of tooth-eating, gum-irritating plaque.

What is dental tartar?

Over time plaque will harden into tartar. Tartar is bad stuff. First, it will make your gums swollen, a condition called gingivitis. Left alone it can cause permanent gum and bone damage.

You can’t get tartar off with a toothbrush or floss. Only a thorough dental cleaning can remove it.

How do you prevent plaque and tartar buildup?

Regular brushing and flossing helps keep the bacteria from building up and damaging your teeth and gums. Over time, tartar will start to form with even the best brushers and flossers. That’s why you should schedule a cleaning every six months.

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