Dental Exams & Cleanings
The health of your child’s teeth and mouth is very important to the well-being of the entire body. While routine brushing and flossing at home are necessary to keep your child’s smile looking its best, visiting a dentist for a comprehensive exam and cleaning is essential.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says a dental home should be established no later than 12 months of age to help children and their families institute a lifetime of good oral health. A dental home addresses anticipatory guidance as well as preventive and comprehensive oral health care and includes referral to other dental specialists when appropriate.
Cleaning of your child’s teeth is usually done by our Registered Dental Assistants. They will show your child all our tools before starting. Hard mineral buildup (tarter) is removed and the teeth are polished with a pumice-like paste and fluoride varnish is placed.
Digital and Traditional X-Rays
Using the most advanced dental technology is just as important as staying up to date on the latest treatment techniques. Digital X-rays provide advanced imaging options designed to save time, provide clearer dental photos and expose patients to less radiation. There are some occasions when digital x-rays are not possible do to the size of a child’s mouth. In those rare cases we use traditional x-rays with high speed film for less radiation exposure.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps prevent tooth decay (cavities) by coating teeth and hardening the surface of enamel. Harder enamel means the teeth are less susceptible to acids produced in plaque.
Topical fluoride can be applied to prevent cavities on teeth already present in the mouth. Topical fluoride is delivered through toothpaste, mouthwash and professional applications such as fluoride varnish. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry encourages the application of fluoride varnish for all children and teens at risk for dental caries (cavities).
Sometimes brushing is not enough especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach spots in your child’s mouth. It is difficult for a toothbrush to reach between the small cracks and grooves on the top and sides of the teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give the teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities. With sealants, brushing becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.
Silver Diamine Fluoride
For our patients who are unable or too young to tolerate restorative treatment, this is an excellent deferment option. The use of SDF in dentistry has been well documented for its safe and successful ability to stop tooth decay. Its application is a conservative approach and typically does not require numbing or removal of tooth structure. Treatment with SDF does not usually prevent the need for a regular filling in the future. Eventually, the dentist will place a permanent filling on the tooth when the child is able to cooperate for dental treatment. Another name for this treatment is Silver Modified Atraumatic Restorative Technique (SMART).
Fillings and Crowns (Restorations)
Dental fillings are used to treat different dental problems like cavities and broken teeth. Teeth are usually filled with a material called composite resin, glass ionomer or resin ionomers, which are all designed to look like natural teeth. Several factors influence which type of restoration the doctor will recommend for your child:
- the amount of remaining tooth structure
- where and how the filling is placed
- the chewing load the tooth will have to bear
- the length of time the tooth will be in the mouth
Sometimes the size of decay will indicate the need for a crown on the tooth. For primary teeth which won’t fall out for several years we use either stainless steel crowns or white Zirconia crowns.
Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)
Nitrous oxide is the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety in children. Administered through a small mask that fits over your child’s nose it can be an effective way to calm anxiety. Your child will be asked to breathe through their nose and not their mouth. They will have 100% oxygen for a few minutes first, then nitrous oxide is introduced and begins to work in 5-15 minutes.
Parents are always welcome to stay with their child during restorative procedures. We ask that you let us describe the procedure to your child because we use only age appropriate descriptions. Many parents are also nervous and anxious and can transmit those feeling to their child.
We recommend routine dental cleanings for several reasons. When we perform a professional cleaning, we remove the buildup of plaque and tartar. We also clean the parts of your child’s teeth that are hard to reach, such as underneath the gums.
Oral Health Exams
We truly believe that regular dental examinations are important in order for your child to have good dental health and a smile of which he or she can be proud. We start by doing a professional cleaning, removing all of the bad tartar and other buildup on your child’s teeth.
Emergency Dental Care
It is very important to be prepared in case your child has an emergency. Even though we wish that they wouldn’t, emergencies do happen. Being educated and knowing what to do in an emergency can be the difference between losing and saving a tooth. You also need to know your dentist’s phone number.
WHAT IS WATERLASE DENTISTRY™?
Waterlase Dentistry uses a patented combination of laser energy and water – a process called HydroPhotonics™ – to perform a wide range of dental procedures on gums more comfortably. Waterlase Dentists typically use fewer shots and less anesthesia to provide a more comfortable dental experience.
The Waterlase also has less bleeding, swelling and post operative pain due to its gentle cutting action and coagulating capabilities. We can do maxillary, mandibular and lingual frenectomies to aid tongue mobility and orthodontic movement of teeth.