It takes a special touch to be a pediatric dentist. Your pediatric dentist must be able to review your child’s health history in order to determine if there is a need for special dental care. In our pediatric examination, we monitor the condition of the gums, soft tissues, head, neck, and of course teeth. We also note the growth of the jawbone and the developments of the teeth—ensuring everything is aligning properly, or if any habits are developing which could disrupt that process, like thumb sucking. We employ all our expertise in ensuring our child has a healthy mouth for years to come.
Not only will we clean your children’s teeth, removing calculus and plaque, but we will treat the teeth with fluoride ensuring they grow strong enamel that can resist tooth decay. Without these treatments, tooth decay or gum disease can arise. We recommend these procedures two times a year to maintain your child’s oral health. Furthermore, we will provide you and your child with tips and instructions on how to care for your teeth at home—such as proper brushing and flossing techniques—in a fun manner that is sure to leave your child excited to visit the dentist. We can also include a list of habits and foods that ought to be avoided.
Few people know this, but children generally need to be X-rayed more often than adults. This is because their mouth is changing and growing faster than their adult counterparts. Children are also at greater risk of tooth decay. Pediatric dentists use X-rays to view how teeth will erupt, diagnose bone disease, analyze any possible oral injury, and plan future orthodontic treatments. Dental care is more affordable and less invasive when issues are identified early. Obviously, children cannot be exposed to as much radiation as adults, thus it is imperative that their dentist be experienced in X-raying children. We employ modern dental equipment designed to focus X-ray beams only where needed. Coupled with the use of digital X-rays and the use of high-speed film, we are able to keep the exposure to radiation at a bare minimum.
Sometimes Panoramic X-Rays are necessary for seeing a child’s entire mouth and jaws. This shows permanent teeth that could be missing, growing abnormally, extra teeth that could be erupting, or any other oral issues. When a child’s 6th year molars emerge, it is recommended to take a Panoramic X-Ray, and every 3-5 years after.
Pediatric Dentists use sealants to help in tooth decay prevention. These clear plastic sealants are applied to the surface of the tooth that is used for chewing. Teeth can have depressions and grooved that are difficult for a child to clean, and these sealants fill those depressions to keep out the harmful bacteria that causes tooth decay. The procedure is quick and painless, and will continue to be effective for several years if your child practices good habits and oral hygiene.
Tooth colored porcelain is used to fill the gaps in front teeth where appearance is most prominent. Furthermore, other cosmetic procedures can repair decayed or chipped teeth located anywhere in the mouth. These fillings are designed to blend in with your child’s natural tooth color, making them largely indistinguishable.
Baby teeth are crucial in how the permanent teeth will erupt. They help guide the permanent teeth into position, and they allow for a normal development of muscles and jawbone. If a baby tooth should fracture—either due to trauma or decay—and if a filling is required on more than one surface of the tooth, then a pediatric dentist may recommend a crown instead of a filling. The crown can save money on procedures later down the road because they will last until the permanent tooth erupts. Whether you’re looking for stainless steel crowns—which are the most durable, or NuSmile Crowns—which are just stainless steel crowns with a tooth-colored coating, we can provide either. We also specialize in Strip Crowns, which is a clear shell placed over the tooth that is filled with a tooth colored filling. When a light is applied to the clear outer shell, it hardens the tooth-colored material. Then the clear shell is removed. Or we provide Pedo-Jacket Crowns, which are just like Strip Crowns except they are specially designed to have the clear shell remain on the tooth.
Root canal treatments (endodontic treatments) focus on the pulp of the tooth. Containing blood vessels that supply nutrients to the tooth, and nerves that convey sensation; if this pulp gets infected or injured, then a root canal is required to save the tooth. During treatment, the inside of the tooth is hollowed out, cleaned, disinfected, and filled. If a child’s tooth is not immediately going to fall out, then a dentist might recommend an endodontic treatment. The child would experience pain and discomfort without it, as well as risk infection. Extracting teeth is not advisable at an early age because of they are in the formative stages of diction. In addition, if a baby tooth is pulled too early, the teeth next to it could shift to fill the gap, disrupting the alignment of the incoming permanent tooth. If your child is suffering from a toothache, sensitive to cold or heat, or if the pulp is visibly exposed, then consult a dentist to see if pulp treatment is recommended.
During your child’s development, primary teeth (baby teeth) play an important role in chewing and speech development. They also ensure proper spacing when the permanent teeth emerge. Therefore it’s rarely recommended that baby teeth be extracted. However, there are rare occasions when it is necessary. If the tooth is too damaged to be restored, if the tooth does not loosen and is blocking a permanent tooth from erupting, if a tooth is crowding other teeth for orthodontic purposes, or if the baby teeth are impacting dormant wisdom teeth, then it can be necessary to remove the primary tooth. If a gap emerges, then teeth start to shift in order to compensate for the gap. If this happens, your dentist might recommend a space maintainer.
Space maintainers become a necessity when a primary tooth (baby tooth) has had to be extracted, or has been lost prematurely. This space maintainer holds open the gap, ensuring that the neighboring teeth will not shift to fill in the gap. This maintains the dental alignment that naturally occurring. These space maintainers can either be removable or fixed. They can also be unilateral (adhered to one side of the mouth), or bilateral (adhered to both sides of the mouth). Younger patients that have a gap will most likely need a space maintainer.
Nitrous Oxide, known as “laughing gas”, is a common form of sedation that is often administered when a child is not able to relax or is scared. If patients have a sensitive gag reflex, it can also be employed. Conscious Sedation medications are also available when a child is anxious and needs to be relaxed for a dental procedure. This form of sedation helps children increase cooperation with their dentist, and it reduces their discomfort and anxiety during dental procedures.