- Infant oral health exams, which include risk assessment for caries in mother and child
- Preventive dental care including cleaning and fluoride treatments, as well as nutrition and diet recommendations
- Habit counseling (for example, pacifier use and thumb sucking)
- Early assessment and treatment for straightening teeth and correcting an improper bite (orthodontics)
- Diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases such as diabetes, congenital heart defect, asthma, hay fever, and attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder
- Management of gum diseases and conditions including ulcers, short frenulae, mucoceles, and pediatric periodontal disease
- Care for dental injuries (for example, fractured, displaced, or knocked-out teeth)
- Digital X-rays, as needed
Radiographs/Digital X rays:
Radiographs or x-rays are a valuable component to the comprehensive dental exam. There is no standard timetable or age for when a child should have dental x-rays. The need varies for each child and your doctor will help you determine what is best for your child.
Dental radiographs allow the doctor to:
- Detect problems that can’t be seen with a visual exam
- Monitor teeth injuries and mouth traumas
- See how the child’s teeth are erupting
- See the number, size and position of teeth that are forming
- Find out if the child has all of their permanent teeth or too many permanent teeth
- Prepare for braces
- Identify bone diseases
- Determine if any teeth are infected
Are dental x-rays safe?
Yes! Our office uses the safest digital x-rays that are available today. Our digital x-rays emit the lowest dose of radiation and are safe for children. These x-rays provide our clinical team with invaluable information needed to assess our children’s overall oral health. Our office also utilizes a lead apron to help keep radiation exposure minimal. Please feel free to ask questions regarding our x-rays.
Sealants are a fast and easy way of protecting your child’s teeth that act as barriers to cavity-prone areas. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth and sometimes used to cover deep pits and grooves. Both primary and permanent teeth can benefit from sealants.
Toothbrushes Cannot Reach Everything
Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Sealants are easy for your dentist to apply. The sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and may last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary.
The likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life, so children and teenagers are obvious candidates. But adults can benefit from sealants as well.
SPECIAL NEEDS CARE IN VISTA
Children with special needs often have a greater incidence of tooth decay, gum disease and oral trauma. Close attention to oral health is especially important for special children for several reasons:
• Physical limitations and lack of proper motor function can make brushing and flossing difficult.
• Some medications and special dietary requirements may be detrimental to dental health.
Some children require frequent medical treatments and doctors’ appointments, and it is understandable for parents to spend less time overseeing the child’s oral hygiene habits.
At your first visit, we will schedule enough time to ensure a thorough review of your child’s medical history and discuss the best preventative dental care and treatment for your child.
Once a cavity has developed the affected tooth structure must be removed and restored. Most cavities, if caught early enough, can be restored with a dental filling. In our offices we use a white, resin based composite material for our fillings.
Unlike the silver colored amalgam fillings, white colored composite fillings match the color of the tooth and are highly esthetic. In addition, composite fillings actually bond to the tooth and don’t rely on mechanical retention alone. These properties are particularly important for cavities involving the anterior teeth.
In some cases, the best option for restoring a tooth is with the use of a dental crown. Crowns are most commonly placed over teeth with larger, more extensive cavities. Once the decay has been removed from these teeth, there isn’t enough remaining healthy tooth structure left for a composite filling to be successful. In other teeth, the decay may not be deep but it may affect multiple tooth surfaces which can all be restored with a single crown. Crowns can also be used to protect and restore teeth with developmental defects which put those teeth at risk.
We offer both Stainless Steel Crowns and white all-ceramic zirconia pediatric crowns. Each type of crown has its own set of advantages. We can help you determine which type of crown would be best for your child’s individual situation.
A large cavity in a baby tooth can often extend down to the pulp chamber of the tooth where the nerve is located. When this occurs the decay cannot be successfully removed from the tooth without running into and exposing the pulp. If the pulp of a baby tooth is exposed the tooth is treated with a Pulpotomy.
A Pulpotomy is a procedure in which the top portion of the pulp, or nerve, is removed from the tooth. Unlike a “Root Canal” on a permanent tooth, a Pulpotomy does not extend down into the roots of the tooth and is much less invasive and easier to perform. Once the top portion of the nerve has been removed a material is placed inside the tooth to protect the remaining nerve tissue and a crown is placed over the tooth.
Young children with dental pain and/or infection require treatment at any age—sometimes that means your child will need to go under general anesthesia or sedation. Of course, there are many reasons for this. Some dental procedures require your child to lie completely still, there may be a lot to fix, or the noise of the drill may be scary. The goal is always to provide the safest, most pain-free treatment.
The following information provides an overview of the various types of sedation and anesthesia. It’s important for parents to know their options. Talk with your child’s dentist or oral surgeon about the type of sedation or anesthesia he or she recommends (and regularly practices) for your child’s dental work before the appointment.
Types of Sedation and Anesthesia Used on Children—Know Your Options:
Nitrous oxide: This is a mild sedative and the least invasive. It’s commonly known as ‘giggle gas’ or ‘laughing gas.’ Children breathe this with a little oxygen. They don’t usually go to sleep, but most will get more relaxed. Most will get a little silly and lightheaded, but a few don’t like the feeling.
Mild sedation: This medication (or a combination of medications) are commonly used on older children and adults. Your child would be calm and awake—and sometimes able to do what the dentist or surgeon asks him or her to do. After the procedure, your child may not even remember things about the dental visit. Dentists and oral surgeons can safely give these medications while they do the dental work, because your child remains awake.
Moderate sedation: Under moderate sedation children are sleepier, but they are usually able to do what the dentist or oral surgeon asks them to do. They breathe on their own and will usually wake up easily. Most children will not remember anything about the procedure. Dentists and oral surgeons can safely give these medications while they do the dental work.
Deep sedation: This involves intravenous (IV) medications to help your child sleep through the procedure. While your child may still move a little and sometimes make noises, he or she may not be able to breathe well on his or her own. There should always be at least one additional qualified professional (see Who’s Who list below) who can monitor your child’s heart rate, heart rhythm, blood pressure, oxygen saturation (breathing) during the procedure and until he or she wakes up. This professional can also determine when your child is ready to go home.
General anesthesia: Under general anesthesia, your child will be completely asleep and pain free. Specially-trained anesthesia professionals (physicians, dentists, or certified nurse anesthetists) will administer medications and monitor your child while the dentist or oral surgeon performs the dental procedure or surgery. Anesthesia can be given in a dental office that is specially equipped, an ambulatory surgical center (ASC), or a hospital.