Teeth Cleanings (Prophylaxis) and Fluoride

At Playhouse Dental we understand that keeping your child cavity-free can be challenging. Proper oral hygiene is one of the main ways to achieve this goal. This is why we recommend a professional dental cleaning (prophylaxis) at least twice a year.


What takes place at the Teeth cleaning appointment?

There are several reasons why a dental cleaning is important. During the cleaning we will remove all debris and buildup of plaque and calculus from the surfaces of your child’s teeth. While your child can learn how to properly maintain dental hygiene daily, a professional cleaning is necessary to access areas (such as below the gum line) that are difficult for you or your child to reach at home on a daily basis. If necessary, we also use auxiliary tools, such as ultrasonic scalers and hand instruments, to remove the debris that you cannot remove adequately with just your toothbrush and floss. A polish will also be performed using an electronic brush and special toothpaste in order to remove any superficial stains and make your child’s teeth appear bright and shiny. The dental cleaning creates a clear field in order to prepare for the comprehensive oral exam by creating optimal visualization of all surfaces of your child’s teeth. Often following the prophylaxis cleaning, a fluoride treatment may be done to strengthen the enamel of the child’s teeth and help prevent tooth decay. Based on your child’s individual needs and risk factors, supplemental fluoride may also be recommended or prescribed in the form of supplements or a home application of topical fluoride.

Finally, it will be very important to teach you and your child how to properly maintain a clean and healthy mouth. We will educate, coach and give you feedback regarding any recommended improvements on brushing, flossing, and dietary or other habits.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally-occuring mineral that helps prevent cavities in both children and adults. When coming in contact with teeth, it works by making the outer surfaces of the teeth (enamel) more resistant to the processes that break it down and cause tooth decay. Fluoride is found naturally in water and food sources (for a systemic benefit), or may be topically applied in the form of toothpaste, oral rinses and professional treaments. A sufficient amount of fluoride is important for children and their developing teeth and our team will help make the proper fluoride recommendations for your child.

Some factors that can increase your risk for developing cavities (thus making supplemental fluoride beneficial) can include:

  • Existing Cavities, small or large

  • Poor oral hygiene

  • Tooth defects

  • Poor diet

  • Orthodontic treatment (braces or Invisalign)

  • Increased risk due to genetics

  • “Weak” spots or beginning stages of cavities that your dentist may be monitoring over time

We understand that there is a lot of information readily accessible regarding fluoride. Some of this information, unfortunately, is based on inaccurate science and opinions which leads to much confusion about whether fluoride is necessary or safe for kids. Rest assured, our board certified pediatric specialists have been trained on the proper use of fluoride. Our decisions concerning the use of fluoride are based on the individual needs and risk factors that your child may have. Our goal is to give your child the best possible chance of being cavity-free for life. If you have any questions or concerns regarding fluoride, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Why bring your child in regularly for teeth cleaning appointments?

Bringing your child in for dental cleanings at least twice a year is a great preventive measure. At times the dentist may recommend more frequent dental cleanings. During these visits it is possible to detect any early signs of problems that may lead to more serious, costly treatment in the future. It’s all about prevention!

To schedule a children’s teeth cleaning in NYC or find out more information about cleanings or Fluoride call us or book now!