It’s very important for your child to feel comfortable in our office. It is our goal to create a safe place with a fun atmosphere for your child to enjoy. Pediatric dentists receive two to three years of specialized postdoctoral training in child psychology, behavior modification, and pharmacology.
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety in children that need dental work such as fillings or extractions. Administered through a small mask that fits over your child’s nose, it is safe, relaxing and even fun. Your child will be asked to breathe through his or her nose and not through their mouth. As the gas begins to work, your child will become calm, although he or she will still be awake and able to talk with the dentist.
At the end of your child’s appointment, he or she will resume breathing regular oxygen, and all the effects of nitrous oxide will disappear within a few short minutes.
When dental decay, often noted as a hole, is seen in a tooth the dentist may recommend your child have a “filling”. At our office we use white filling materials that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. There are multiple filling materials available for use in the office with different properties, most commonly we recommend Composite Resin or Resin Modified Glass Ionomer. The material of choice will be recommended by the dentist and discussed with you at your treatment visit. All our filling materials are BPA free and made of the highest quality by trusted manufacturers.
“Baby Root Canals”
When a primary tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your child’s jawbones, but it is also detrimental to his or her overall health.
A “baby root canal” (also called a “pulpotomy” or a “pulpectomy” depending on the extent of needed treatment) is typically completed in once visit, not dissimilar from a filling appointment. During treatment, the dentist will remove the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. If the tooth has extensive decay, your doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breaking. When appropriate, these procedures can often help maintain a baby tooth in the mouth until the adult tooth is ready to come in.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes, a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. Other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth and jaw at risk. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.
- No drinking with straws
- No vigorous rinsing and spitting
- A soft diet is recommended; avoid hard foods such as popcorn, pretzels, crackers, or any food with sharp edges
- If your child has any discomfort, give a children’s dose of Advil® or Tylenol®
- If your child experiences swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag and call our office
Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth as a preventive measure after the permanent teeth have erupted and give your child’s teeth extra protection against decay. Dental sealant is a tooth colored liquid, a bit similar to white filling material, that is placed into the tooth’s grooves and then hardened there. While intact on the teeth they help protect those grooves from decay by approximately 80%.
It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and your child’s dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.
Sealants last, on average, three years. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact, so at your routine exams the dentist will check them and recommend scheduling an appointment if your child's teeth would benefit from being re-sealed.
Crowns are needed when there is insufficient tooth strength remaining to hold a filling. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay. A crown is a “cap” cemented onto an existing tooth that usually covers the portion of the tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes the tooth’s new outer surface. Once on the tooth, a crown can help protect from further new decay or further deterioration of the tooth.
A crown should be cared for as if it was your child’s natural tooth: brushed two times a day and flossed nightly. Eventually, if on a primary tooth, the crown will fall out with the baby tooth on which it rests.