Tooth Decay Prevention

Tooth decay is a progressive disease resulting in the interaction of bacteria that naturally occur on the teeth and sugars in the everyday diet. Sugar causes a reaction in the bacteria, causing it to produce acids that break down the mineral in teeth, forming a cavity. Dentists remove the decay and fill the tooth using a variety of fillings, restoring the tooth to a healthy state. Nerve damage can result from severe decay and may require a crown (a crown is like a large filling that can cap a tooth, making it stronger or covering it). Avoiding unnecessary decay simply requires strict adherence to a dental hygiene regimen: brushing and flossing twice a day, regular dental checkups, diet control and fluoride treatment. Practicing good hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment.


The grooves and depressions that form the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean of bacteria and food. As the bacteria reacts with the food, acids form and break down the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Recent studies indicate that 88 percent of total cavities in American school children are caused this way.

Tooth sealants protect these susceptible areas by sealing the grooves and depressions, preventing bacteria and food particles from residing in these areas. Sealant material is a resin typically applied to the back teeth, molars and premolars and areas prone to cavities. It lasts for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments.

We use UltraSeal XT, produced by Ultradent Products, Inc. to seal the grooved surfaces of children's teeth, helping to prevent the developement of cavities in these susceptible areas. Recently, concerns have been expressed in the media relative to Bisphenol-A Dimethacrylate content of some dental sealants. UltraSeal XT does not contain the disputed Bisphenol-A Dimethacrylate.



Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Regularly drinking water treated with fluoride and brushing and flossing regularly ensures significantly lower cavities. Dentists can evaluate the level of fluoride in a primary drinking water source and recommend fluoride supplements (usually in tablets or drops), if necessary.

Thumb Sucking

Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Children usually cease thumb sucking when the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Typically, children stop between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth can cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth. If you notice prolonged and/or vigorous thumb sucking behavior in your child, talk to your dentist.

Here are some ways to help your child outgrow thumb sucking:

  • Don’t scold a child when they exhibit thumb sucking behavior; instead, praise them when they don’t thumb suck.
  • Focus on eliminating the cause of anxiety—thumb sucking is a comfort device that helps children cope with stress or discomfort.
  • Praise them when they refrain from the habit during difficult periods.
  • Place a bandage on the thumb or a sock on their hand at night.

Silver Diamine Fluoride - Cavity Fighting Liquid

Silver diamine fluoride - a dental cavity fighting liquid for children is a non-invasive, antimicrobial, topical dental treatment that halts cavity progression, as well as aids in the prevention of dental caries (cavities). Silver diamine fluoride has been used for decades in countries such as Japan, Australia, China and others as an effective treatment for hypersensitivity and tooth decay treatment. It recently has been FDA-approved for use in the United States. Dr. Scott and North Scottsdale Children's Dentistry provides this form of dental cavity fighting treatment. Ask Dr. Scott if SDF might be right for your child.

Silver diamine fluoride consists primarily of two components-silver and fluoride.

  • Silver is the antimicrobial agent which: Kills cavity-causing bacteria, strengthens the dentin (the hard, bony tissue beneath the tooth’s enamel) and keeps new biofilm from forming on the tooth surface.
  • Fluoride prevents tooth decay progression by promoting remineralization and strengthening tooth enamel.