Our Children’s Dentistry
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Most parents contemplate when the most appropriate time is for their child to first visit the dentist. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children see the dentist for their first check-up by the age of one, or when their first teeth begin erupting.
Your first dental visit will allow your child to become accustomed to the office environment, while also allowing the dentist to identify any precursors to dental abnormalities or disease. Our office team will use positive language that encourages your child to enjoy the experience as well as set the foundation of proper oral care habits for a lifetime.
We will discuss oral habits, nutrition needs, oral hygiene, and any concerns you may have about your child’s teeth. If your child is comfortable, they may have digital images taken of their teeth, have their teeth cleaned, or fluoride applied. Your child will also receive one-on-one oral hygiene education with one of our highly trained team members. The first dental visit is meant to be a positive experience that influences the way your child sees the future of their dental care. If your child should have decay or other conditions that require treatment, this is typically scheduled at a follow-up appointment so that measures can be taken to not surprise the child or cause them minimal discomfort.
Cleanings twice each year help prevent gum disease, bacteria, and tartar buildup in your child’s mouth, establishing a healthy oral environment. They also provide our team with a chance to assess your child’s oral home care routine and provide any needed education. During these cleanings, we will also screen for decay, apply fluoride, perform nutritional screenings, and perform x-rays or sealants, as they are needed.
Routine x-rays allow us to identify the early development of tooth decay between the teeth, as well as other anomalies. Tooth eruption patterns, cysts, and missing teeth can all be diagnosed with the help of radiographs. Because a visual exam simply cannot access some areas, routine radiographs allow for early intervention, preventing tooth decay from becoming too advanced. Our office uses digital radiography equipment, which further minimizes radiation exposure even lower than the recommended levels.
Dental sealant applications are preventive procedures that reduce your child’s risk of developing cavities in the deep grooves and fissures on the chewing surfaces of their molars. Many times, these natural grooves are even too narrow for a toothbrush to clean. Sealants placed in these areas create a shallower, smooth surface that is easy for your child to keep clean. This greatly reduces their chance of developing decay, as brushing can be more effective. Applying sealants is simple and painless. The clear material is brushed onto the surface of the tooth, similar to nail polish. A curing light is then used to harden the material so that it withstands normal chewing. It is advised not to eat anything too sticky, as sealants are not permanent and may be pulled off.
Fluoride applications after your child’s preventive care appointments can help decrease their risk of developing tooth decay. For children with an increased risk of decay or who are undergoing orthodontic therapy, a prescription-strength fluoride may be prescribed for everyday use at home.
MOUTH GUARDSOral trauma and broken teeth are some of the most common causes of emergency room visits in child athletes. A custom-fitted mouthguard not only prevents fractured teeth but can also decrease the risk of concussions. Over-the-counter type, guards will not stay securely in the mouth if trauma occurs, but a customized guard will fit snuggly against each individual tooth to protect from recurrent trauma.
Catching decay early on is important, as primary (baby) teeth can have the disease spread rapidly to other areas of the mouth. Depending on the tooth, size of the cavity, and location in the mouth, the filling may be a white (composite) or silver filling. Composite fillings allow for the least amount of tooth preparation and bond extremely well with the natural tooth enamel. The shade of filling is selected to match your child’s tooth enamel so that the filling appears as if it were part of the natural tooth.
NERVE THERAPYIf tooth decay reaches into the inner nerve of the tooth, then pulp therapy is performed to remove this infection. In adults, this condition would be considered a root canal. For children, nerve therapy is a bit simpler. The diseased tissue is simply removed. Pulp or nerve therapies are necessary if your child is experiencing a dental abscess, as these infections could become complicated and lead to hospitalization. After nerve therapy is performed, a crown will need to be placed over the tooth.
Crowns cover the entire surface of the tooth above the gums and are used for large areas of decay or following nerve therapy. Placing a crown over a diseased tooth helps maintain the natural tooth for as long as possible, allowing normal eruption patterns to go undisturbed. Most crowns will use a temporary stainless-steel material, but for teeth in the front of the mouth, other cosmetic options are available.
We, affiliated with Florida Hospital, work with children who are extremely nervous and have high anxiety about dentist offices. Those patients will be seen in the hospital under general anesthesia.
Nitrous oxide or commonly called “Laughing Gas,” is available during all of our restorative treatment procedures. Small doses of nitrous oxide help most children feel relaxed during their care, and some even giggle a bit. Nitrous oxide works quickly and reverses just as soon so that your child will feel him or herself again within 5 minutes of their treatment being completed.
THUMBSUCKING / TONGUE THRUSTING APPLIANCES
Thumb sucking can be a difficult habit for some children to give up. When traditional methods don’t work. We can provide her children with patients with appliances that discourage oral habits and make them easier to stop.
We understand how devastating it can be to see your child in pain. We provide flexible hours so that we can meet the needs of your family. Our caring staff is accessible and ready to help you in the event of your child experiencing a dental emergency. After hours our patients can reach us on an emergency line, where one of our caring staff will provide a consultation over the phone and meet you at the office if it is necessary.
We provide sedation services for children with severe anxiety or special needs that prevent them from being able to undergo routine dental care.