Pediatric Dentistry

Oral Examination

The guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that your child complete their first dental exam at the eruption of their first tooth or no later than their first birthday. These guidelines are based on comprehensive research that shows that early detection and management of children’s oral conditions impact their oral and general health and can help improve their school readiness. In contrast, delayed detection of oral conditions can result in extensive, often preventable problems that require costly, prolonged care. Additionally, children benefit from early exposure to the dental office because it alleviates unnecessary future anxiety about the unknown and allows us to establish a relationship for the future.

We will do an examination based on your child's developmental level. For infants and toddlers, we may do this exam while sitting on the parent's lap to help keep the child comfortable and relaxed. Our goal is to help assess your child’s oral health in a way that will help them feel comfortable coming to our office in the future.

During this examination, we will:

1.  Count your child's teeth.

2.  Look at eruption of new teeth.

3.  Discuss any concerns, such as braces or crowding.

4.  Look at your child's general health and growth to ensure they are developing appropriately.

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Professional Dental Cleaning

A trained staff member will perform a routine cleaning for your child to remove any hardened calculus and plaque that may have formed on your child's teeth. After cleaning your child's teeth with a combination of hand instruments and a state-of-the-art ultrasonic scaler, we will polish their teeth to bright, shiny perfection. Because kids are growing and their teeth are changing constantly, we strongly recommend bringing them in for regular examinations and cleanings every six months.

Why Is Fluoride Treatment Important?

Enamel is one of the hardest substances on Earth. Unfortunately, acid from the foods you eat and bacteria in your mouth can eat the enamel of your teeth away. Fluoride helps keep enamel strong and aids in cavity prevention and sometimes even reversal by helping your enamel to remineralize and harden.

The hard surface of your roots is called cementum. If cementum is exposed to the oral environment it is prone to decay because it isn't as strong as the enamel that covers the crown of a tooth. Fluoride application to root surfaces can help reduce the risk for future decay. Another benefit to fluoride use is its desensitization effects. Topical fluoride application to sensitive areas of exposed roots can help them to remineralize and close off the microscopic tubules leading to the nerve from the oral environment.

Professional fluoride treatment is a safe and effective way of reducing your risk of dental decay. We use the latest proven methods of fluoride application to safely deliver fluoride to your teeth.

Reasons to get a professional fluoride application:

•  Topical fluoride application in children and adults that are moderate and high risk for caries (decay)

•  Desensitization for exposed root surfaces

•  Decay prevention on exposed root surfaces

•  Fluoride application surrounding metal orthodontic braces and brackets

Dental Sealants

A sealant is a thin coating that is painted on the biting surfaces of your teeth by a dentist or hygienist. Sealants are important in the prevention of tooth decay (caries) because they seal off the deep pits and fissures found on most back teeth. These grooves are often too narrow and deep for our toothbrushes to clean and this leaves them prone to decay if left open to the oral environment. Sealants are a way of covering these pits so bacteria can't get into them and smoothing out the surface so it is easier to brush and clean.

It is important to have sealants placed as soon as back teeth come in to keep them from decaying, especially during the caries-prone years of ages 6-14. A child's first set of permanent molars usually comes in around age 6. At this point in your child's life, they should be brushing independently for 2 minutes, twice daily. Though it is great that your child is able to manage their oral hygiene, the coordination of young brushers is often not adequate to properly clean these teeth. Six-year molars are statistically the most restored teeth in the mouth for this reason; they are the first permanent teeth to erupt so they have to stick around the longest, and they are present during the most cavity prone period of a person's life. A sealant can be the difference between a healthy, unrestored tooth and a tooth needing a pulpotomy or extraction in some cases.

Since sealants are a thin plastic coating, sometimes they can chip or break off. Your dentist and hygienist will check to make sure they are still there at regular dental cleanings. Sealants can last up to 10 years in the mouth and will help keep your teeth strong.

Dental Fillings

During a filling appointment, we will help your child to feel safe and relaxed in the dental chair. Depending on the needs of your child, we may ask that you wait in the waiting room to help the appointment go smoothly. If your child seems a little extra nervous, we have nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” available to help relieve some of their anxiety.

Due to the nature of pediatric fillings, we may use composite resin (tooth colored) or amalgam (silver). Either way, we will work with your child to achieve their cooperation throughout the procedure using a variety of behavior management techniques. The most common and effective technique used in pediatric dentistry is called “Tell Show Do.” Most children respond very positively to TSD and are cooperative during procedures.

Often, children become fearful of dental procedures because of the experiences of their parents. Please try to help us by being honest with your child about their appointment without making them afraid of their visit. Positive reinforcement is strongly encouraged to help your child learn appropriate and cooperative behavior.

An important aspect of pediatric caries maintenance is performing a caries risk assessment to determine the need to future adjuncts to caries prevention. Based on your child's specific needs, we may prescribe in office fluoride, at home fluoride, or more frequent visits to our office to help control and prevent future decay.

Stainless Steel Crowns

If a filling is not enough support to protect your child's tooth, another option is to use a stainless steel crown. These crowns come in many different stock sizes and are a quick, easy way to protect a baby tooth that will be lost in the future.

Indications for SSC in primary teeth:

•  Teeth with large restorations

•  Children with rampant caries

•  Teeth after pulp therapy

•  Teeth with developmental defects

•  Fractured primary molars

•  As an abutment for space maintainers

•  In children with bruxism (grinding, clenching)

•  Restoration of hypoplastic (underdeveloped) young permanent molars