At ABC Pediatric Dentistry we offer our patients a wide array of dental procedures. Click on the procedure below to learn more. Please call us for information about additional procedures.
Your child brushes her teeth twice a day, flosses regularly, and visits the dentist every six months. But did you know that rinsing with fluoride – a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay – also helps keep her teeth healthy and strong?
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay by coating teeth and preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface.
A fluoride treatment in the dentist’s office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients may be asked to not rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your child’s oral health or your doctor’s recommendation, your child may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months. Your doctor may also prescribe at-home fluoride products such as mouthwash, gels, or antibacterial rinses.
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 teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give your child’s teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.
Dental sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden in the deep grooves on the tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, brushing becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.
Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth after their permanent teeth have erupted as a preventive measure against tooth decay. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and the dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.
Sealants last from three to five years, although it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact so if your child’s sealants come off, let the dentist know, and schedule an appointment for your child’s teeth to be re-sealed. While sealants may wear out over time, it is better to maintain the prevention in the sealant rather than having to repair a hole in the tooth.
Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, may include gold, porcelain, and composite. The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, such as in the back of the mouth.
Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are usually used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important, as well as on the back teeth depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay.
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity, and expense of dental restorations, including:
Before your child’s treatment begins, your doctor will discuss all options and help you choose the best filling for your child’s particular case. It may be helpful to understand the two basic types of dental fillings: direct and indirect.
Direct fillings are fillings placed immediately into a prepared cavity in a single visit. They include glass ionomers, resin ionomers, and composite (resin) fillings. The dentist prepares the tooth, places the filling, and adjusts it in just one appointment.
Crowns are “cemented” onto an existing tooth and fully cover the portion of the tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes the tooth’s new outer surface.
Stainless steel dental crowns are considered a good temporary restoration to save a primary tooth until the permanent tooth can erupt and take its place. Keeping the primary tooth if at all possible is very important. A primary tooth can be restored with a stainless steel crown during one appointment. A crowned tooth must be brushed and flossed just like other teeth.
If your child’s primary tooth has extensive decay or has been damaged by trauma, action may be needed to restore the integrity of the tooth and prevent infection from spreading to surrounding teeth. After a set of X-rays are taken, your dentist will be able to assess the extent of the infection and recommend one of two options, a pulpotomy or a pulpectomy.
If the decay or trauma is confined to the crown of the tooth, a pulpotomy may be recommended. When a cavity gets really deep, close to the pulp of a tooth, or even into the pulp, the pulpal tissue becomes irritated and inflamed. A pulpotomy is when the inflamed pulp chamber, usually on a baby molar, is removed. The dentist will remove all the infected material in the pulp of the crown only, leaving the living tooth root intact. After a pulpotomy on a baby molar, the empty space will be filled with dental cement and a stainless steel crown will be placed to restore the tooth.
If the infection involves tissue in both the tooth crown and the tooth root, a pulpectomy may be the best option. In a pulpectomy, the entire pulp material is removed from both the crown and the roots. After numbing your child’s tooth, the dentist will remove the pulp and nerve tissue from the crown and from the canals of the roots. Then, the pulp chamber and root canals will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Next, the dentist will fill the tooth and tooth roots with dental cement, and finish with a stainless steel crown.
An abscessed tooth is a dental condition in which the nerve, also called dental pulp, has become infected. The infection usually occurs when a dental cavity goes untreated and bacteria spread deep within the tooth. Left untreated, an abscess can progress to a serious, life-threatening bacterial infection throughout the entire body. This is especially harmful to children because their immune systems are not fully developed.
If an abscess occurs in one of your child’s primary or baby teeth, it will most likely need to be extracted. Depending on the location of the extraction, a space maintainer may be necessary until the permanent tooth emerges to prevent the surrounding teeth from drifting into the open space.
If your child’s permanent tooth has an abscess, the treatment options consist of root canal therapy to clean and remove the infection, or tooth extraction. Your pediatric dentist may also choose to add an antibiotic to your child’s treatment plan. This will prevent the infection from spreading further into the jaw and bone tissue.
The good news about a dental abscess is that it’s easily preventable! Schedule regular exams with your pediatric dentist to monitor and address any cavities present in your child’s mouth. Also, making sure your child follows effective home-care practices, such as brushing twice a day and flossing and eliminating excess sugar in his or her diet, are simple ways you can prevent an abscessed tooth.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes, a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. Other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth and jaw at risk. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require the removal of a tooth.
If it is determined that your child’s tooth needs to be removed, your pediatric dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may schedule another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within the jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and the tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, the dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with your dentist any concerns or preferences for sedation; we want to make sure your child is as comfortable as possible.
If your child’s tooth has come out too soon because of decay or an accident, it is important to maintain the space to prevent future space loss and dental problems when permanent teeth begin to come in. Without the use of a space maintainer, the teeth that surround the open space can shift, impeding the permanent tooth’s eruption. When that happens, the need for orthodontic treatment may become greater.
Space maintainers can be made of stainless steel and/or plastic and can be removable or fixed (cemented to the teeth).
A removable space maintainer looks much like a retainer with plastic blocks to fill in where the tooth is missing. If your child is older and can reliably follow directions, a removable space maintainer can be a good option.
Fixed space maintainers come in many designs.
A band-and-loop maintainer is made of stainless steel wire and held in place by a crown or band on the tooth adjacent to the empty space. The wire is attached to the crown or loop and rests against the side of the tooth on the other end of the space.
A lingual arch is used on the lower teeth when the back teeth on both sides of the jaw are lost. A wire is placed on the lingual (tongue) side of the arch and is attached to the tooth in front of the open space on both sides. This prevents the front teeth from shifting back into the gap.
In the case of a lost second primary molar prior to the eruption of the first permanent molar, a distal shoe may be recommended. Because the first permanent molar has not come in yet, there is no tooth to hold a band-and-loop space maintainer in place. A distal shoe appliance has a metal wire that is inserted slightly under the gum and will prevent the space from closing.
There are four general rules for taking care of your child’s appliance.
Imagine your child undergoing complex dental treatment like a root canal, extraction, or oral surgery. When treatment is complete, your child will have no recollection of the time it took, the pain, the noise, or the discomfort. We are pleased to offer your child the option of comfortable, safe, and effective sedation dentistry. Our pediatric dental patients who benefit from sedation dentistry have:
Sedation dentistry allows your pediatric dentist to provide a variety of dental treatments safely and comfortably for children who experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. There are several benefits to sedation dentistry, including:
Sedation dentistry is closely regulated by law, and there are three sedative states at which your child’s dentist can administer treatment: mild sedation, moderate sedation, and deep sedation.
Anxiolysis is the lightest form of sedation dentistry and is often used for children with mild anxiety, longer procedures, or more complex situations. Mild sedation is usually administered orally. Your child will remain awake or very sleepy throughout the entire procedure and will be able to breathe normally, but he or she will feel a great sense of relaxation. Patients typically recover from anxiolysis sedation within a few hours after the procedure is complete. Nitrous oxide inhalation (laughing gas) is another form of mild to moderate sedation that results in relaxation during treatment.
Used for patients with moderate dental anxiety and for patients who need longer or more complex procedures, conscious sedation often refers to the use of light IV sedation. With conscious sedation, your child will remain awake throughout the procedure but will be in a deep state of relaxation.
Patients receiving deep sedation go between consciousness and unconsciousness during their dental procedure. Patients often have no recollection of the treatment and are unable to respond to commands even if they are awake at times during the procedure.
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the most frequently used method for easing mild to moderate anxiety. Recovery is quick so your child can resume normal activities immediately.
An extremely common technique for dental sedation is oral sedation. It is easy and does not require the use of needles. Your child will be given a prescription pill which, taken about an hour before the appointment, will have your child fully relaxed by the time you arrive at our office.
Please contact our practice to schedule a consultation, learn more about sedation dentistry, and find out which sedation dentistry method may be right for your child.
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, 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 is an effective way to calm anxiety. Your child will be asked to breathe through his or her nose and not through their mouth. As the gas begins to work, your child will become calm, although he or she will still be awake and able to talk with the dentist.
At the end of your child’s appointment, he or she will resume breathing regular oxygen, and all the effects of nitrous oxide will disappear. As your child gets older and becomes more comfortable during dental visits, nitrous oxide may not be necessary.