FAQs on Preventive Dentistry
What is preventive dentistry?Preventive dentistry for children includes:
- Dental development
- Oral habits
- Parent involvement
- Proper diet
- Sports safety
Why is preventive dentistry important?Preventive dentistry means a healthy smile for your child. Children with healthy mouths chew more easily and gain more nutrients from the foods they eat. They learn to speak more quickly and clearly. They have a better chance of general health, because disease in the mouth can endanger the rest of the body. A healthy mouth is more attractive, giving children confidence in their appearance. Finally, preventive dentistry means less extensive, and less expensive, treatment for your child.
When should preventive dentistry start?Preventive dentistry begins with the first tooth. Visit your pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in. You will learn how to protect your infant’s dental health. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental disease and helping your child belong to the cavity–free generation.
What role do parents play in prevention?After evaluating your child’s dental health, your pediatric dentist will design a personalized program of home care for your child. This program will include brushing and flossing instructions, diet counseling, and if necessary, fluoride recommendations. By following these directions, you can help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.
How do pediatric dentists help prevent dental problems?Tooth cleaning and polishing and fluoride treatments are all part of your child’s prevention program. But there’s much more. For example, your pediatric dentist can apply sealants to protect your child from tooth decay, help you select a mouth guard to prevent sports injuries to the face and teeth, and provide early diagnosis and care of orthodontic problems. Your pediatric dentist is uniquely trained to develop a combination of office and home preventive care to insure your child a happy smile.
What is a composite resin (white filling)?A composite resin is a tooth–colored plastic mixture filled with glass (silicon dioxide). Introduced in the 1960s, dental composites were confined to the front teeth because they were not strong enough to withstand the pressure and wear generated by the back teeth. Since then, composites have been significantly improved and can be successfully placed in the back teeth as well. Composites are not only used for restoring decay, but are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.
How is a composite placed?Following preparation, the dentist places the composite in layers, using a light specialized to harden each layer. When the process is finished, the dentist will shape the composite to fit the tooth. The dentist then polishes the composite to prevent staining and early wear.
How long does it take to place a composite?
It takes the dentist about 10–20 minutes longer to place a composite than a silver filling. Placement time depends on the size and location of the cavity. The larger the size, the longer it will take.
What is the cost?
Prices vary, but composites average about one–and–a–half to two times the price of a silver filling, i.e. approximately Rs. 350 to Rs. 800.
What are the advantages of composites?
Esthetics are the main advantage, since dentists can blend shades to create a color nearly identical to that of the actual tooth. Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes.
What are the disadvantages?
After receiving a composite, a patient may experience post–operative sensitivity. Also, the shade of the composite can change slightly if the patient drinks tea, coffee or other staining foods. The dentist can put a clear plastic coating over the composite to prevent the color from changing if a patient is particularly concerned about tooth color. Composites tend to wear out sooner than silver fillings in larger cavities, although they hold up as well in small cavities.
How long will a composite last?
Studies have shown that composites last 7–10 years, which is comparable to silver fillings except in very large restorations, where silver fillings last longer than composites.