Preventative Care

Comprehensive Exam

A comprehensive exam is your child's first exam in our office. This exam may be also performed if your child has been referred to our office for treatment and if your child has not been seen in our office for more than three years. This exam is performed by Dr. Tari and is an evaluation of the teeth and soft tissue, a head and neck exam and a growth and orthodontic evaluation.

Periodic Exam

A periodic exam is recommended every 6 months. These continuing care appointments are important for maintaining and evaluating a healthy, happy mouth and smile! At a periodic exam we also may clean your child's teeth with prophylaxis and apply a fluoride varnish treatment and possibly take digital x-rays.

Limited Exam

A limited exam is focused on any acute problem your child may be having. This is performed when a child has swelling, pain, a traumatic injury or has an issue that cannot be diagnosed over the phone. If your child has been treated in our office previously and is being referred for treatment, Dr. Tari will complete a limited exam prior to treatment. 

Prophylaxis (Cleaning)

A prophylaxis is a term used for having your child's teeth cleaned. The toothpaste we use is more abrasive than your over the counter toothpaste. This paste allows us to remove plaque and stain build up on the surfaces of the teeth. We use a rotary instrument with a small rubber cup that will "tickle" the teeth. Sometime it is necessary to scale the teeth to remove build up that has become hard and this is done with a hand instrument.

Digital Radiographs (X-Rays)

X-rays are an important part of your child's exam. Without them many dental conditions cannot be diagnosed. We use x-rays to gain information that a visual exam cannot provide. They are needed to diagnose cavities (sugar bugs) between the teeth, show us missing or extra teeth as well as un-erupted teeth. We also use them to evaluate traumatic injury, diagnose pathology and help determine future orthodontic needs.

Dr. Tari recommends that x-rays be taken at least once a year, because children's mouths grow so fast and their teeth are much more susceptible to decay than adults. For children that have had traumatic injury or have a higher risk of decay she may recommend that x-rays be taken more often.

We use digital x-rays, which means that the amount of radiation is minimal and the images are much higher quality than standard x-rays. We can bring them up on the computer almost instantly so it saves appointment time.

Panoramic Radiographs (X-Rays)

Usually around the age of 6 or 7 your child may receive a panoramic (panorex) x-ray. This x-ray allows Dr. Tari to diagnose extra or missing teeth. It also is a tool used to determine future orthodontic care. We take another panorex at age 12-13, this is also to aid in diagnosing orthodontics, and then again at 15-16 years of age. This time we use it to evaluate the third molars (wisdom teeth) for possible extraction. We will send copies of these films to your orthodontist and/or oral surgeon to help limit the number of x-rays taken.

Preventative Treatment


Sealants are a coating painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The chewing surfaces on the back teeth are rough and uneven because they have small pits and grooves. The sealants shield these surfaces from getting bacteria stuck in them. Staying away from hard candy, sticky foods and chewing on ice prevents sealant and teeth from breaking. Our sealants do not contain BPH or harmful byproducts from resins or plastic materials.


If your child uses a fluoridated toothpaste they should only use a pea sized amount on their toothbrush. Also, if your child is too young or unable to spit out the excess toothpaste you might want to consider a fluoride free toothpaste, or just brushing with warm water. Topical fluoride is beneficial because it inhibits an enzyme in the decay, however toothpaste is not super important to prevent decay.

Removing the plaque from the teeth by good brushing & flossing habits is the most important tool to fight dental cavities (sugar bugs).

Our office uses fluoride varnish after the teeth are cleaned, it is very sticky and will stay on the teeth for the whole day.

Space Maintainers

A baby tooth is natures way of holding the right amount of space for the permanent tooth. When a baby tooth has to be removed early because of decay a space maintainer is usually placed to prevent space loss and drifting of the adjacent teeth. There are many types of space maintainers, Dr. Tari will evaluate which one is right for your child. When wearing a space maintainer it is important to avoid chewy, sticky candy so the appliance does not come loose