Children need preventive care and restorative treatments just as adults do, and at our practice we offer a comprehensive selection of procedures to help your young ones maintain a healthy and beautiful smile. Our experienced pediatric dentists are dedicated to providing a gentle, compassionate approach that allows your children to feel as much at ease as possible during their visits. With guidance and support, we can limit the risk of damage and decay and encourage healthy oral hygiene habits that last a lifetime. For more information about the common pediatric dental treatments we provide, please follow the links below or contact our practice for additional information.
Cosmetic bonding is used to address minor cracks and chips in the teeth. It can also be used to repair mildly crooked teeth and improve the appearance of the smile. Bonding is tooth-colored material that is applied to the teeth where it “bonds,” becoming fully integrated with the dentition. Bonding is often an affordable way to address minor concerns and can often be completed in a single visit.
Sometimes children’s teeth can become too damaged for a filling to repair, in which case a dental crown may be recommended. Dental crowns are also often used after a root canal. While it’s true children’s “baby” teeth will fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth, it’s still imperative to take good care of these primary teeth and restore them after decay. Oral health affects whole health, and addressing damage and disease is important to your child’s well-being. Crowns can be created from several different types of materials. We will go over your options during your appointment, so you can help choose the best option for your needs, goals, and budget.
Occasionally, a primary or permanent tooth may need to be removed. This may be recommended to help aid the proper eruption of permanent teeth, create space needed for orthodontic alignment, or remove a tooth that is too severely decayed to be saved. Your child will be made comfortable and numbed for the procedure, and we offer treatment with nitrous oxide (laughing gas) for patients who experience significant anxiety. We will take great care to minimize discomfort during this procedure, which can usually be completed in a single visit.
Caries, commonly known as cavities, can occur in primary and permanent teeth. Fillings are the most common restorative treatment, and they are used to rebuild the area of the tooth that was subject to decay. We offer many materials for fillings, including tooth-colored options. Fillings typically can be completed in a single session by “filling” the cavity created during the preparation stage of the procedure.
As an additional preventive option, we offer dental sealants. Sealants are used to further protect the biting surface of molars from plaque buildup and decay by “sealing” hard-to-brush areas of the tooth, such as creases, cracks, and small grooves where bacteria can take root. Sealants are most commonly used once the permanent teeth have erupted, but they can also be applied to primary teeth, as needed. This measure offers between three and five years of protection, although sometimes sealants can last much longer. To prevent breakdown of sealants, avoid chewing on anything excessively hard (ice cubes, pen caps, popcorn kernels) or sticky (gummies, jolly ranchers, lollipops, taffy, etc.).
Mouthguards and Nightguards
There are many reasons why a child might need a mouthguard, a nightguard, or both. Children who play competitive sports and other recreational activities that involve contact can protect their smiles with a mouthguard. A nightguard is particularly helpful if a child has TMJ disorder (dysfunction of the jaw joint) or bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding). If your child wakes up with headaches, jaw and tooth pain, or other signs of bruxism, we can create a customized nightguard to protect their teeth while they sleep. Grinding and clenching can cause severe wear and tear, cracks, chips, and even tooth loss, so it’s important to minimize damage with a nightguard.
Additional Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric Dentistry
What should I do if my child gets a toothache?
If your child is experiencing a toothache, one of the first things to do is to call our office and schedule an evaluation as soon as possible. As soon as your child begins to complain of a toothache, please have them rinse out their mouth and then you can check the area around the tooth to see if there is anything in the surrounding tissues that may be causing the pain (such as an object stuck in between the teeth, an injury, a chip, looseness of the tooth, or other irregularity). A cold compress and/or oral pain relief medication may help alleviate the discomfort before your office visit; however, it is important to avoid the application of any topical pain reliever or heat to the area that is affected.
Is thumbsucking bad for my child’s teeth?
Thumbsucking is perfectly normal for children in a certain age range (often between the ages of two and six) and should not pose any problems. With that in mind, aggressive sucking of the thumbs, fingers, or a pacifier after six years of age may cause dental and orthodontic problems. If your child is having trouble breaking this habit, our team can help.
Please read our blog post, “Can Thumbsucking or Pacifier Use Cause Dental Problems?”, for more information on this topic.
Are dental x-rays safe?
While low levels of radiation are emitted during a dental x-ray, this type of imaging technology is generally considered to be safe for both adults and children. There are always risks when radiation exposure is involved; however, we utilize advanced x-ray technology and precautions such as led aprons to minimize exposure to radiation during these standard diagnostic procedures.
What if my child loses a permanent tooth?
The loss of a permanent tooth is considered a dental emergency. If this happens to your child, please call our office immediately or head to the nearest emergency room. If you can find the tooth, please rinse it off (without soap), place it in a cup of milk, and bring it with you. It is important to avoid touching any part of the tooth other than the top (crown). Permanent teeth that have been knocked out can possibly be saved, but time is of the essence. If a permanent tooth simply falls out on its own, an immediate professional evaluation is still necessary to find out why that has happened.
What causes tooth decay?
Cavities are caused by tooth decay, which in turn is caused by the invasion of specific types of bacteria that can harm the teeth. Bacteria can feed off sugars that have collected on the teeth, which leads to a process that may result in the formation of holes in the tooth enamel, allowing the bacteria to progress further into the tooth and significantly endanger its health. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to help prevent cavities, and to treat them once they have developed.