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Cleanings and Exams

The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children should visit their dentist every six months for a routine checkup and cleaning. This allows for early diagnosis of any problems so that they are easier and less expensive to address. During the exam, your child’s pediatric dentist will carefully check the health and development of your child’s teeth and gums. X-rays may be necessary as they make it easier for the pediatric dentist to spot decay and make sure teeth are coming in properly. Our digital X-rays require less radiation and make it possible for you and your child to see what’s going in their mouth. The dentist will gently probe your child’s gums for disease or places where disease could develop. If any problems are found, your pediatric dentist will explain what’s happening in easy-to-understand terms and discuss ways to treat it.

Professional cleaning is very important. Even if your child is brushing and flossing daily at home, it’s hard for them to remove all food particles and bacteria that allow plaque to build up on your child’s teeth. Plaque can cause cavities and gum disease. You child may also have a fluoride treatment and/or sealants to help prevent tooth decay.

Sealants

Sealants are a very popular, painless way to help keep your child cavity free. They are applied to back molars after a child has had a cleaning and exam, where four out of five cavities in children are found.

 

A sealant is a plastic material that is painted onto the chewing surface of the tooth to act as a barrier for food, plaque and acid that causes decay. Sealants are practically invisible because they are clear, white or slightly tinted to exactly match your child’s teeth. Even better, they take only a few minutes to apply, during one office visit, and they can protect your child throughout their cavity-prone years.

Applying sealants is a comfortable procedure. The teeth are cleaned and prepped, and the sealant is painted on and hardened with a special light. Your child can drink and eat right away.

Fluoride

The natural mineral fluoride plays an important part in reducing tooth decay, so it’s important that your child get enough fluoride to reap its benefits.

How does fluoride work? Bacteria in your mouth produce acid that removes minerals from the surface of your teeth. Fluoride can stop the tooth decay process by preventing the minerals in tooth enamel from breaking down. Because it is so effective, fluoride has been added to community water supplies since the 1940s, and today, more than 70% of cities with public water supplies have fluoridated water. Besides the water supply, an estimated 95% of toothpastes sold in the US contain fluoride.

While a certain amount of fluoride is good for teeth, swallowing too much fluoride can cause a child’s teeth to develop lasting white spots, brown stains or problems with the enamel in permanent teeth. To prevent this problem, which is called dental fluorosis, parents should make sure their children do not get too much fluoride. Toddlers two to three years old, for example, can’t spit out toothpaste very well, and they might swallow too much fluoridated toothpaste. Certain foods also contain large amounts of fluoride. At the other extreme, your tap or well water might not have enough fluoride, or if your child drinks only bottled water, it may not contain fluoride at all.

 

It’s important for parents to make sure their children get the right amount of fluoride, and at Cedar View Pediatric Dentistry, we’re glad to advise you. If your child needs more fluoride than he or she is likely getting, we can give you a prescription to help. If we see your child is developing dental fluorosis, we can help figure out the cause and prevent further problems.   

 

 

 

 

X-rays

Even for young children who only have their primary teeth, x-rays play a big role in their dental health. X-rays are our best way to make sure teeth are coming in properly, that they are healthy and that unseen problems are not cropping up. Besides helping us find decay, x-rays also enable us to see how wisdom teeth are coming in and help our orthodontists in planning for treatment.

Think of x-rays as a way to find dental problems early, so it is easier and more affordable to treat your child. Here at Cedar View Pediatric Dentistry, we use digital x-rays and take particular care so that your child receives the least amount of exposure.

For a growing child, Cedar View Pediatric Dentistry suggests x-rays once each year. It’s one of the best ways we can make sure your child keeps smiling.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

If your child needs a filling, one that is tooth-colored will blend in so well with other teeth, you’ll forget it is even there. Our tooth-colored fillings are made of a special resin that tightly bonds to the tooth, keeps it strong and also releases fluoride to help prevent cavities. Another advantage of a tooth-colored filling is that the dentist removes less of the tooth than when a “metal” (amalgam) filling is used. A tooth-colored filling doesn’t conduct heat or cold, or darken the way a metal filling can. It is no wonder tooth-colored fillings are the most widely used fillings today.

At Cedar View Pediatric Dentistry, we’re very good at calming children and keeping their discomfort to a minimum when we fill a tooth. We have fun kids programs for them to watch or they can listen to music through headphones.

Crowns

Dental crowns are used to cover a tooth that might be likely to break or is too damaged and decayed to be fixed with a filling. A crown is an aesthetic covering or a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over another tooth to provide it stability. Crowns are generally used to improve the strength or appearance of teeth. When a large cavity threatens the ongoing health of a tooth, a crown is a good option. Crowns are also used to restore the shape and size of chipped or damaged teeth. They are typically bonded to the tooth using dental cement. We only recommend dental crowns for children when it is absolutely necessary.

Root Canal

We may perform a root canal if a decayed tooth or deep cavity is causing pain to a child. The problem typically results from an untreated cavity that is now deep within the tooth. Inflammation from the cavity can cause discomfort and sensitivity.

 

 

 



What is a Pulpotomy?
This procedure is a nerve treatment in which the sick portion of the tooth nerve is removed and medicine is placed in order to avoid extracting the tooth. A baby root canal (pulpotomy) is similar to a root canal treatment of an adult tooth. It removes all the coronal pulp tissue from the chamber of the tooth.  Pulpotomy procedures are very important to prevent the unnecessary and untimely loss of baby teeth. Remember, baby teeth are important to save in order to maintain adequate space for adult teeth. If baby teeth are lost prematurely, the rest of the teeth may begin to shift, causing crowding and reducing the space for adult teeth to grow in.  If this happens, braces may be needed to properly re-align the teeth.

Extractions

In most instances, we want to save teeth for as long as possible. There are times, however, when removing a tooth is recommended. Teeth are removed for a wide variety of reasons including large decay unable to be restored, primary teeth that need assistance in exfoliating, orthodontic concerns, infection of the nerve tissues, etc. Dr. Tyler, Dr. Sean or Dr. Nate will clarify why an extraction is recommended in each case and how the space will be managed following the removal of the tooth.

 

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General Questions

 

How can I prepare my child for his or her first dental visit?

The first step in preparing your child for the dentist is to forget about your own past experiences. Visiting the dentist for children can be a very pleasant and confidence building experience. The best possible way to prepare your child is to refrain from using words that might cause unnecessary fear, such as shots, needles, drilling, pulling or pain. You can prepare your child by using phrases such as “go for a ride in the dental chair”, or the dentist will “count your teeth”, or “take pictures of your teeth (x-rays)”, etc. It is our practice to always be open and honest in order to build trust. The main difference is that we use vocabulary that conveys the exact same message in a non-frightening way. We welcome parents of children under three to accompany their child for the initial examination. At the completion of dental exams, we welcome parents to the treatment/consult room for a discussion of findings and review of your child’s oral hygiene. 

 

Do I stay with my child during their dental visits?

This is ultimately your decision 100%. However, we do ask that you allow your child to accompany our friendly staff through the dental experience. We are highly experienced in helping children overcome anxiety. The method allows our dental staff to build a closer rapport with your child when you are not present. Separation anxiety is not uncommon in children, so please try not to be too concerned if your child exhibits negative behavior. This is normal and will soon diminish. Our purpose is to gain your child’s confidence which will allow them to overcome apprehension. Studies and experience have shown that most children over the age of three react more positively when permitted to experience the dental visit on their own and in an environment suited and designed specifically for children. However, if you choose, you may come with your child to the treatment area. For the safety and privacy of all patients, other children who are not being treated should remain in the reception room with a supervising adult. 

 

 

 

Dental Related Questions:

 

When will my baby start getting teeth?

Babies typically begin teething at six months of age. Usually the bottom lower front teeth erupt first, followed by the two upper front teeth.  Children have twenty teeth compared to adults that typically have 32. In general, a child will have erupted all of their teeth by 2-3 years of age.

 

When should I take my child to the dentist for his or her first visit?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children should visit the dentist within six months after the first tooth appears or by the baby’s first birthday.  The first visit will usually include exam, cleaning, fluoride and a discussion about prevention, diet and homecare oral health guidance. 

 

How often do I need to bring my child to the dentist?

In general, check-ups/recall visits are recommended at a minimum of every six months in order to aid in prevention of cavities or other dental problems.  It is always better to diagnose a potential problem early on. Every child has individual oral healthcare needs, therefore the frequency of dental visits will vary as the situation necessitates. Regular visits keep children familiar with the dentist and his or her staff. These visits build confidence in children and are much more pleasant when the child is not forced to associate the dentist with emergency treatment due to tooth pain and dental neglect. Decay or breakdown of a tooth that is detected in the early stages is easier and less costly to treat.

 

 

How important are baby teeth since they are going to fall out anyway?

“Baby” teeth or primary teeth have three main functions. First, they allow children to chew. The importance of pain free feeding directly relates your child’s diet, nutrition and overall health. Second, baby teeth are important for speech development. Last, baby teeth provide a pathway for permanent teeth to erupt in a timely way. Premature tooth loss from cavities/infection, allows for remaining teeth to move into the empty space and ultimately cause crowding. Cavities on baby teeth can cause permanent teeth to have higher cavity susceptibility.

 

 

If my toddler has a cavity, should he or she get a filling?

The earlier a cavity is diagnosed and treated, the less invasive the overall treatment will be. Over time, cavities can spread if allowed and possibly lead to an infection. It is important to evaluate each situation on and individual basis to determine what is best for the child at any given time in terms of the child’s ability to cope with a procedure.

 

 

What are sealants and does my child need them?

Sealants are a hard plastic-like material that is placed into the grooves of the chewing surfaces of teeth in order to help prevent cavities. They work by blocking out the sticky, sugary foods and liquids that tend to get caught in the teeth. The application is fast and pain free. Sealants are recommended based on the child’s diet, history of cavities (family’s history), and overall anatomy of the teeth deep (deep grooves).

 

 

How safe are dental x-rays?

Dental radiographs or x-rays are necessary for your child in receiving the highest standard of care. The diagnostic benefits far outweigh the minimal risks involved in the use of dental x-rays. Pediatric dentists are careful to limit the amount of radiation exposure for children by using lead aprons and digital radiography which reduces radiation substantially. Without the use of x-rays conditions which include cavities, missing or extra teeth and pathology/diseases will go undetected. Digital x-rays have minimal radiation, crystal-clear images and unbelievable speed. With digital x-rays, the patient’s images appear instantaneously on a nearby monitor, giving us a convenient chair-side image to analyze and refer to throughout the dental visit. We are pleased to offer this dental technology.

 

 

What is the main difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist?

A pediatric dentist has two to three years of advanced training following dental school that is specific to treating children as well as those with special needs. We are oral healthcare providers for infants, toddlers, adolescents, and teenagers. We also work closely with pediatricians to provide for children with special healthcare needs.

 

 

 

Oral Healthcare At Home:

 

What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?

The use of a soft cloth, gauze or toothbrush for children 0-2 years will adequately remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to cavities. Caregivers should clean the teeth at least once a day (most importantly before bedtime following the last feeding). Infant non-fluoridated toothpaste can be used. Until your child is able to spit out the toothpaste without swallowing it, we recommend not to use fluoridated toothpaste.

 

 

How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay and early childhood cavities?

First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and if swelling is present place a cold pack on the area. Over the counter Children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen (Motrin) are recommended for any pain. DO NOT place aspirin on the gums, this can cause harm to the tissue. Please, see a dentist or healthcare professional as soon as possible.

 

Is fluoride toothpaste and fluoridated water good for my child?

Use of fluoride for prevention of cavities is documented to be safe and effective in decreasing cavities by making teeth stronger when given in the correct dosage. If your water supply contains less than 0.6ppm (private wells), a dietary supplement may be recommended for your child (6 months to 16 years old). If your child is unable to spit out the toothpaste, then it should be avoided.  It is acceptable to begin using toothpaste (pea-size amount) with children 2-3 years of age. Prior to that, parents should clean the child’s teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. It is important to contact a pediatric dentist to make sure your child is not receiving excessive or inadequate amounts of daily fluoride.

 

If my child has tooth or mouth pain, what can I do to help?

First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and if swelling is present place a cold pack on the area. Over the counter Children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen (Motrin) are recommended for any pain. DO NOT place aspirin on the gums, this can cause harm to the tissue. Please, see a dentist or healthcare professional as soon as possible.

 

What can I do to stop my child’s thumb sucking and pacifier habits? Is it harming their teeth?

Many oral habits such as thumb and pacifier sucking only become a problem if they persist for long periods of time. This is very normal in infants and young children.  Most children stop these habits on their own by age three.  Generally, habit-breaking appliances are recommended and used for children who want to stop, but need an active reminder. Long term oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking, mouth breathing, and tongue thrusting can produce dental and skeletal changes. The amount of change is directly related to frequency, duration, intensity and direction of the forces applied.

 

 

What should I do if my child has a tooth knocked out?

First, remain calm. Second, locate the tooth. Always hold the tooth by the crown (not the root). Third (if possible), determine whether it is a baby tooth or a permanent tooth. If it is a baby tooth, do not replace the tooth into the socket.  For permanent teeth, re-implant by applying mild finger pressure. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a plastic cup of milk and take your child and the plastic cup immediately to the pediatric dentist.

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