Preventive Dental Care in Hillsboro
The foundation of any oral health care plan at any age should be preventive dental care. Specifically, visiting the dentist at least two times each year for a checkup and teeth cleaning. However, there is much more to general and preventive dental care for kids and adults than just visiting our Hillsboro, OR dental practice. At the Dentists at Orenco, we offer a number of preventive treatments to keep your little one’s developing smile whole and healthy for life. Contact us to find out more or schedule an appointment today.
Mouthguards & Sportsguards
Most parents are dedicated to keeping their kids safe during sporting events, but with all the other sports related concerns, many parents forget to protect their child’s smiles. However, the leading cause of tooth loss for patients under 25 is sports-related facial trauma. While there are a variety of sportsguards available for purchase at local sporting goods stores, only custom crafted guards from your dentist provide optimal comfort, protection, and safety. There are three main types of mouthguards available:
- Stock – these are the least preferable option. They come in a small variety of sizes and shapes that are often further cut down by athletes in order to offer increased comfort, but unfortunately, these adjustments can negate the protective effect of the guard.
- Boil and bite – more comfortable than the stock variety, boil and bite mouthguards, as the name suggests, are boiled and adjusted for a closer to custom fit. By biting into the warm, softened plastic, patients are able to get a more accurate fit. However, these guards tend to be bulky and uncomfortable leading to increased lack of compliance. You often see these mouthguards hanging from sports helmets rather than safely in the mouth.
- Custom – custom crafted guards from our pediatric dentist offer superior comfort and protection because they’re made specifically to fit your child’s bite. Additionally, there is reduced risk for straining jaw joints due to misalignment that occurs due to the less than ideal positioning of the jaw.
Oral Cancer Screening
While not typically considered important for younger patients, we do conduct basic oral cancer screenings as part of every pediatric dentistry checkup. Like adults who don’t smoke or consume alcohol, children’s risk for oral cancer is very low, but there are some cases of oral and oropharyngeal cancers among children each year. The best way to avoid long term health effects of oral cancer or even death, is to diagnose and treat the disease in its earliest stages. In most cases, tumors found in children are benign, eosinophilic granulomas, but in rare cases, over exposure to the sun, irritation by rubbing, or other health issues may cause malignant forms of oral cancer even in young children. We take time during every checkup to examine your child’s mouth, throat, lips, and neck for signs of oral cancer. Please let us know right away if your child experiences any of the following warning signs:
- Sores that don’t heal
- White or red patches within the mouth
- Lumps on the lip, mouth, or throat
- Chronic sore throat
- Feeling of something lodged in the throat
As teeth development, the fluoride your kids ingest by consuming tap water and specific foods is essential to the creation of strong teeth, but once teeth erupt, ingested fluoride provides very little support in strengthening tooth enamel. That’s where topical fluorides come in. Toothpastes all have low doses of fluoride that helps protect teeth from the potentially harmful attack of decay-causing bacteria and plaque. However, for younger patients who are just learning to brush and floss and those who struggle with tooth decay, a higher dosage of topical fluoride may be beneficial. In these cases, our team may recommend professional fluoride treatments. These topical applications are quick and painless and can be completed as part of any regular dental checkup. After application, the fluoride continues to attract fortifying minerals to the surfaces of teeth where they can strengthen the enamel, repel bacteria, and keep smiles whole and healthy.
Traditional x-rays offered our team access to view the underlying structures of patients’ smiles, but the images they produced were not the best resolution and made diagnosing oral health issues early challenging. Additionally, traditional x-rays caused some concerns as they exposed our patients to high levels of radiation and our staff members needed to handle toxic chemicals during the development process. Digital x-rays provide our team with higher definition images that make diagnosing and treating oral health issues in early stages easier, and they are immediately viewable on chairside monitors without the need to develop the images using hazardous chemicals. Digital x-rays allow us to more safely and comfortably capture higher definition images that allow us to diagnose and treat oral health concerns in their earliest stages.
Toothpastes & Mouthwashes
If your child is brushing and flossing every day and still seems to struggle with keeping their smiles healthy and cavity free, it may be time to make a change in the oral hygiene products they’re using. We may be able to recommend store bought toothpastes and mouthwashes to improve oral health or even prescribe specialized products. Whether your child needs help getting their teeth clean using mouthwashes that reveal the areas that need more attention or a higher concentration of fluoride in their toothpaste, we are happy to help you find the perfect products to care for these developing smiles.
Special Needs Dentistry
Every patient we treat is unique, and each treatment plan is specially designed to meet their individual needs. When it comes to caring for kids with developing smiles, there are a number of unique behavioral and oral health needs to consider. Our team is trained to offer accommodations and safe, effective dental care for patients with any special health or cognitive needs. Please let us know if your child is in need of specialized care. We’ll do everything we can to ensure your little one’s comfort and safety during any procedure. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to ask questions and communicate with our team throughout treatment. We welcome your input, and love having the opportunity to work with all children.