The Difference Between Kids Restorative & Preventive Dentistry

The Difference Between Kids Restorative & Preventive Dentistry

Team Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric dentistry includes a variety of dental services for children. The goal of children’s dentistry is to keep their teeth and mouth healthy as they grow and develop and help them learn to take care of their own teeth. Encouraging dental health in childhood establishes a foundation for a lifetime of dental health. 

Preventive and restorative dentistry make up a large portion of pediatric dental services. But what is the difference between the two? Here’s what these dental categories mean and what kind of services they include. 

What Is Preventive Dentistry?

Preventive dentistry includes dental services that preserve the health of the teeth. Oral examinations and teeth cleanings make up the majority of preventive dental services. The ultimate goal of preventive dentistry for kids is to help keep the baby teeth healthy until they are ready to be naturally shed and replaced with permanent teeth. Then the same is done for the permanent teeth as children grow. Removing plaque from the teeth prevents tooth decay and gum disease, helping the teeth stay healthy and in place for a lifetime. 

What is Restorative Dentistry? 

Restorative dentistry includes dental procedures that restore the health and function of the teeth. A cavity filling is an example of a restorative procedure that repairs a tooth. The goal of restorative dentistry is to save the natural teeth whenever possible, or replace them when necessary to restore the overall function of your teeth. 

How Are They Different?

Preventive dentistry prevents damage to the teeth and restorative dentistry repairs damage to the teeth. When all goes well, preventive dentistry prevents the need for restorative dentistry. However, it is rare for a person to go through life without needing some type of restorative procedure at some point. 

Preventive Dental Services

Examples of preventive dental treatments and procedures include: 

  • Oral examinations. Children should have an oral examination of their teeth and mouth every 6 months beginning around their first birthday. This allows for the detection of any oral or dental health concerns that need to be addressed. 
  • Dental cleanings. During each oral examination visit, children should have their teeth professionally cleaned to remove plaque from the teeth that is left behind after brushing and flossing. 
  • Digital X-Rays. Once a year digital X-Rays should be taken of the teeth to detect any cavities and to make sure the teeth are developing properly below the gum line. 
  • Fluoride treatments. Fluoride is a mineral that helps fortify tooth enamel. Fluoride treatments are a recommended part of regular dental visits every 6 months. 
  • Dental sealants. If a tooth has grooves or deep pockets that increase the risk of tooth decay, dental sealants can be applied to the teeth to even out the tooth surface. 
  • Oral hygiene education. Preventive dentistry also includes teaching children how to take care of their teeth with proper brushing and flossing techniques. 

Restorative Dental Services 

Examples of restorative dental procedures include:

  • Fillings. Cavities are filled with composite material that matches the natural color of the tooth. 
  • Root canals. A tooth that is infected or at risk of infection may need a root canal, a procedure that removes the dental pulp from the inside of the tooth and replaces it with composite material. 
  • Crowns. A severely decayed or damaged tooth may need a crown, a protective tooth-shaped cover that is placed over the existing tooth, leaving the natural root of the tooth intact. 
  • Extractions. When a tooth is too decayed or damaged to be saved it may need to be extracted. Teeth may also need to be extracted for orthodontic purposes.

Where Can I Find Preventive and Restorative Dentistry For Kids?

Tender Smiles 4 Kids provides both preventive dentistry and restorative dentistry for children. It is always our goal to prevent dental problems by providing quality preventive services and teaching and motivating children to develop good oral hygiene habits. But when necessary, we provide restorative procedures that can save the teeth and help them stay in place for life. 

Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.