Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentistry focuses on the oral health of infants, children and adolescents. Our staff is dedicated to providing the finest and most comprehensive dental care to our younger patients. The fundamental philosophy of our pediatric dental practice is prevention. It is important to establish a good oral hygiene regimen early in a child’s life, and we provide children with the knowledge and treatment for maintaining a healthy smile. Our staff is highly experienced and knows how to create an environment where children will be comfortable.

>>Preventative Care:

Dental Examinations and Cleanings
Regular dental exams and professional cleaning visits are instrumental in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of teeth and gums. You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year. Some may require more frequent visits as recommended by the dentist or hygienist (for example, patients in active orthodontic treatment).

Dental X-rays are pictures of the teeth, bones, and soft tissues around them to help find problems with the teeth, mouth, and jaw. X-ray pictures can show cavities, hidden dental structures (such as wisdom teeth), and bone loss that cannot be seen during a visual examination.

Sealants are a clear material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars). These surfaces naturally contain pits and fissures where plaque can accumulate making the tooth vulnerable to decay. The sealants act as a barrier to protect these decay-prone areas from plaque and acid attack.

Fluoride Treatments
Fluoride is one of the most effective elements for preventing tooth decay. Fluoride has been proven to reverse microscopic cavities by combining with tooth enamel to strengthen it against decay.

Mouth guards
Mouth guards are an important piece of protective face gear. They help cushion blows that could otherwise cause broken teeth, injuries to the face, and sometimes even jaw fractures. The dentist will advise you as to whether a custom or store-bought mouth guard would be more appropriate for your child, dependent on your child’s dental development.

>>Restorative Dentistry:

Composite (tooth colored) fillings are used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, fractures, or cracks. Composites can also be used for esthetic reasons, such as closing space between two teeth. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth.

A crown (or cap) covers the entire tooth surface in order to restore it to its original shape and size. A crown, usually porcelain over a metal base, is considered when there has been a significant loss of tooth structure and the tooth cannot be restored with a filling, and to maintain the strength of a tooth which has received root canal therapy. A stainless steel crown is sometimes used to restore a damaged primary, or baby tooth.

The pulp of the tooth contains the nerves, blood vessels, and reparative cells of the tooth. A pulpotomy, often referred to as a "baby root canal" in pediatric dentistry, is performed when the pulp of the tooth becomes inflamed by decay. Afterwards, the chamber is sealed, and the tooth is restored with either a stainless steel crown or a filling. A pulpotomy is not a "complete" root canal, but may be enough to keep the tooth healthy until it falls out naturally to make way for the permanent tooth.

Important things to know

>> Baby's teeth should be cleaned at least once a day at bedtime. Use any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, and water to clean your baby's teeth and gums.

>> In order to prevent dental problems, you should make your child’s first dental check-up appointment when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.

>> Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally become a problem only if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended.

>> In case a child has a toothache, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain, and call for an appointment as soon as possible.

>> To prevent decay, you should avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle.

>> Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced when a child is 2-3 years of age. When toothpaste is used parents should supervise brushing and make sure the child uses no more than a pea-sized amount on the brush. Children should spit out
-not swallow! - excess toothpaste after brushing.

>> If a child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth, the most important thing to do is to remain calm and find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root, and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and call the office immediately.

>> There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and to minimize the amount of radiation to which children are exposed.