Preventative Care
The prevention of tooth decay, gum disease, orthodontic problems and trauma are important aspects of our practice.
Daily Hygiene and Biannual Regular Checkups

It is important that your child have a daily routine of brushing their teeth. Brushing twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime, is recommended. Parents should clean their infant’s gum with a damp cloth and primary teeth with a small brush. For those children aged 2 to 5 years, a small amount of toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) may be used on the tooth brush. Parents should plan to dispense toothpaste themselves in order to prevent young children from swallowing too much and help brush their children’s teeth.

Regular checkups every 6 months help to keep your child’s teeth cavity-free. During the checkup your child will have their teeth cleaned to remove debris that build up on the teeth, irritate the gums and cause decay. Our dental assistant will give hygiene instructions to improve your child’s brushing and flossing, leading to cleaner teeth and healthier gums. By about 4 years old, your child will receive regular fluoride treatments to renew the fluoride content in the enamel, which strengthens teeth and prevents cavities.


Pediatric dentists, acting in accord with guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recommend x-rays only when necessary to protect your child’s dental health. For example, x-rays maybe needed to diagnose tooth decay, abnormalities, injury or orthodontic treatment. Dr. Atherton can discuss the need for x-rays.


Sealants are an effective way to protect the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, especially the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where most cavities are found. They are made of flowable composite material which is applied to clean, dry teeth and hardened with a special light. Most dental insurance companies cover sealants for permanent teeth. Please check with your benefits provider specific coverage allowances.

Sucking Habits

Non-nutritive sucking habits can have a profound effect on your child’s orthodontic status. Although most children discontinue these sucking habits on their own before the permanent teeth erupt, some children continue to the point of causing long term problems with the alignment of teeth and jaws. Dr. Atherton can evaluate your child’s oral habits and recommend an intervention if necessary.

Injury Prevention

Your child’s risk for dental injuries can be greatly reduced with preventive strategies. If your child is participating in sports, have them wear protective gear including mouth guards. Always, use car seats and seat belts. Lastly, child-proof your home to prevent falls. If your child has a mouth or, dental injury, contact Dr. Atherton’s office. See Emergencies.