Pediatric Services


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CLEANINGS

When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush and water. Remember that most small children do not have the dexterity to brush their teeth effectively. Unless your child’s pediatric dentist advises it, do not use fluoridated toothpaste until age 2-3.

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FLUORIDE TREATMENTS

What guidelines will help children remain cavity free?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends:
Brush with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day (for children 2 years or older.)
Floss children’s teeth once a day.
Visit your pediatric or general dentist regularly.
Ensure that fluoride is consumed through drinking water, fluoride products, and fluoride supplements.
Apply sealants to the chewing surfaces of permanent molars
Snack moderately, no more than twice a day. It is best to snack on foods with minimal or no sugar content. Fresh fruits and vegetables make great snacks.

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SEALANTS

What are sealants?
Dental sealants can protect your children from cavities. Sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of molars to act as a barrier between the tooth and harmful bacteria. They are most effective when applied to decay-susceptible biting surfaces as soon as the teeth come in.
The sealing material is applied to the tooth surface using an “etching” fluid. The sealant partially penetrates the tooth enamel, ensuring that it is firmly attached to the tooth. Once applied, the sealant fills in the tooth’s grooves, hardens and creates a thin plastic barrier that keeps cavity causing bacterial out of the pits and fissures.

Why are sealants used?
Sealants can stop cavities before they begin. Children are prone to cavities because of the natural shape of their growing teeth. When first molars come in around age six, deep crevices called pits and fissures form on the chewing surfaces of these back teeth. Pits and fissures are so narrow that the bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach into them, making them difficult to clean. However, these crevices provide plenty of room for bacteria to grow.
Children’s eating habits also lead to cavities. Their diets generally include frequent snacking, and they rarely brush as often as necessary. Children are usually brushing their own teeth by age six, and they may not be doing an adequate job.

How are sealants applied?
Application is fast and painless. Your child will be happy to know that with sealants, there is no drilling and no discomfort. Either your dentist or a registered dental hygienist can apply sealants, and the process takes less time than having a tooth filled.

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SILVER FILLINGS

What are amalgams (silver fillings)?
Amalgams or silver fillings are used to restore or “fill” decayed areas in teeth. Amalgam fillings have a scientifically proven history of safety and effectiveness in restoring teeth.

What are composites (tooth colored fillings)?
Composites or tooth colored fillings are used to “fill” areas of decay, restore fractured teeth in which cosmetic appearance is imp ortant. The shade of the restoration material is matched as closely as possible to the color of the natural tooth. This is typically the restoration of choice, unless treatment conditions dictate the use of another material.

What are Stainless Steel Crowns? 
Stainless steel crowns are silver colored “caps” used to restore teeth that are too badly decayed to hold fillings, need a nerve treatment, or when durability is a concern. Crowns with white facings can be used on front teeth.

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BABY ROOT CANAL

Can root canal be peformed on your baby?
A pediatric dentist may perform a baby 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 realign the teeth.

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PEDIATRIC CROWNS

Pediatric Crowns for Baby Teeth
If you have a baby tooth with decay, the usually restorative option is a white filling. If the decay is extensive, a crown may be recommended. There are few options when it comes to crowns for baby teeth. For back baby teeth there really is nothing better than the good ole’ stainless steel crowns. They are relatively easy to do and last till the teeth normally fall out. Since they are in the back, cosmetics is not as much of a concern. They are available for the front teeth and work quite well.

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SPACE MAINTAINERS

What are space maintainers? How does a space maintainer help?
Space maintainers are appliances made of metal or plastic that are custom fit to your child’s mouth. They are small and unobtrusive in appearance. Most children easily adjust to them after the first few days.
Space maintainers hold open the empty space left by a lost tooth. They steady the remaining teeth, preventing movement until the permanent tooth takes its natural position in the jaw. Its more affordable — and easier on your child — to keep teeth in normal positions with a space maintainer than to move them back in place with orthodontic treatment.
**Compliments of AAPD

What special care do space maintainers need?
Pediatric dentists have four rules for space maintainer care. First, avoid sticky sweets or chewing gum. Second, don’t tug or push on the space maintainer with your fingers or tongue. Third, keep it clean with conscientious brushing and flossing. Fourth, continue regular dental visits.
**Compliments of AAPD

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HABIT BREAKING

Tips for helping children develop positive dental habits.
Set a good example
Make good oral health a family effort
Show children that daily brushing and flossing, limited snacking and regular dental checkups are necessary for good oral health Support your child when they are able to brush and floss on their own- assisting and performing spot checks as needed

What can I do to stop my child’s habit?
The majority of children stop sucking habits on their own. Some children may need the help of their parents. When your child is old enough to understand the possible results of an oral habit, we will encourage your child to stop. We will explain to them what happens to the teeth if he/she doesn’t stop. It is very important to get children to want to stop and to realize that it is a part of growing up. This will greatly increase their chances of terminating the habit. Once your child wants to stop, a reward system and earnest reminders will help he/she accomplish the goal. If all other options have been exhausted, we will discuss with you the use of a fixed dental appliance to exhaust the habit.

How does thumb sucking affect dental health?
Generally, thumb sucking before the age of two is normal and harmless. When thumb sucking is not stopped by the appropriate age (generally by the age of two or three), then parents should discourage the act. Prolonged thumb sucking may contribute to crowded and/or crooked teeth development, bite problems, and a constricted airway.

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INTERCEPTIVE ORTHODONTICS

When will my child need orthodontics/braces?
For the average child, the ideal time for orthodontics will be just before the last of the primary/baby teeth naturally fall out. This will usually occur at approximately eleven. However, there are circumstances in which children benefit from phase I or interceptive orthodontics. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontists typically recommends that children have a screening appointment with an orthodontist at age seven. At this time, the orthodontist will discuss future treatments, including the timing of such treatment.

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PARENTAL EDUCATION

When will my child need orthodontics/braces?
For the average child, the ideal time for orthodontics will be just before the last of the primary/baby teeth naturally fall out. This will usually occur at approximately eleven. However, there are circumstances in which children benefit from phase I or interceptive orthodontics. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontists typically recommends that children have a screening appointment with an orthodontist at age seven. At this time, the orthodontist will discuss future treatments, including the timing of such treatment.

How important is a child’s diet in the prevention of cavities?
While good oral hygiene is of utmost importance in the prevention of cavities, lack of a proper diet can have a tremendous impact on a child’s cavity rate. Limit not only the quantity of consumed sugary foods and beverages, but also the frequency throughout the day. Cavity formation is a process when sugar comes in contact with teeth, the cavity process can begin. The more times in a day that we consume sugar, the more at risk we are for developing cavities. By nature, many children like to snack throughout the day and many of these foods, including juices, are loaded with sugar. Even some” healthy” foods can be very high in sugar content, including, granola bars, cereal, and chocolate milk. Check the nutritional label f you are uncertain as to how much sugar a food item contains. Have your child drink plenty of water following snaking.

Do you allow parents to come back with their children?
Parents are invited back to accompany their child during the initial examination and during any treatment your child may receive. Parents are always allowed to accompany any child three years of age or younger We do encourage parents, however, to allow children to enter the treatment area alone if we think your child will behave better and have a more positive experience. Please let our receptionist know if you request special accommodations. If your child needs to be sedated for treatment or needs hospital dentistry care under general anesthesia, parents are asked not to accompany their child. There are no exceptions to this rule.

What do I do if my child has a dental emergency?
If your child has a dental emergency during office ours, please call our office as soon as possible. We will see you child immediately. If it is an after-hours emergency, a pager number will be given on the answering machine. If you are unable to reach a member of our team, proceed to the emergency room to ensure treatment in a timely manner. If your child lost consciousness related to the injury call 911.
Treating a permanent tooth that has been “knocked out” within the first few minutes is critical for the survival of that tooth. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, gently rinse, but do not scrub the tooth under water. Replace the tooth in the socket if possible. If this is impossible, place the tooth in a glass of milk or a clean wet cloth and come to the office immediately. If the tooth is fractured, please bring in any pieces you can find. If a baby tooth is knocked out, we do not recommend putting the tooth back in the mouth.
Our normal schedule may be delayed in order to accommodate an injured child. Please accept our apologies in advance should an emergency occur during your child’s appointment.

When should bottle-feeding be stopped?
Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.
**Compliments of AAPD

When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush and water. Remember that most small children do not have the dexterity to brush their teeth effectively. Unless your child’s pediatric dentist advises it, do not use fluoridated toothpaste until age 2-3.

How can I prevent tooth decay from a bottle or nursing?
Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle. At-will nighttime breast-feeding should be avoided after the first primary (baby) teeth begin to erupt. Drinking juice from a bottle should be avoided. When juice is offered, it should be in a cup
**Compliments of AAPD

How does thumb sucking affect dental health?
Generally, thumb sucking before the age of two is normal and harmless. When thumb sucking is not stopped by the appropriate age (generally by the age of two or three), then parents should discourage the act. Prolonged thumb sucking may contribute to crowded and/or crooked teeth development, bite problems, and a constricted airway.

Why do children lose their baby teeth?     
A baby tooth usually stays in until a permanent tooth underneath pushes it out and takes its place. Unfortunately, some children lose a baby tooth too soon. A tooth might be knocked out accidentally or removed because of dental disease. When a tooth is lost too early, your pediatric dentist may recommend a space maintainer to prevent future space loss and dental problems.
** Compliments of American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Why all the fuss? Baby teeth fall out eventually on their own!
Baby teeth are important to your child’s present and future dental health. They encourage normal development of the jawbones and muscles. They save space for the permanent teeth and guide them into position. Remember: Some baby teeth are not replaced until a child is 12 or 14 years old.
**Compliments of American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
In addition, it is very important to establish good oral hygiene habits while your child has their baby teeth. These habits: brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and using mouthwash are the habits that your child is going to continue when their permanent teeth erupt.

How does a lost baby tooth cause problems for permanent teeth?
If a baby tooth is lost too soon, the teeth beside it may tilt or drift into the empty space. Teeth in the other jaw may move up or down to fill the gap. When adjacent teeth shift into the empty space, they create a lack of space in the jaw for the permanent teeth. So, permanent teeth are crowded and come in crooked. If left untreated, the condition may require extensive orthodontic treatment.
**Compliments of American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

What should I do if my child’s baby tooth is knocked out?
When your child needs urgent dental treatment, contact our office as soon as possible.
If it is a permanent tooth try to find the tooth and/or missing pieces of that tooth to bring to our office. Rinse it gently in cool water if there is debris on it. DO NOT SCRUB IT OR CLEAN IT WITH ANY TYPE OF SOAP!
If your child allows you to do so please try to replace the tooth in their socket and hold it there. You can use clean gauze or a washcloth for them to bite on if necessary.
If you can’t put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with milk, saliva, or water.
Get to our office immediately. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.

What about a severe blow to the head or jaw fracture?
If your child suffers a severe head or jaw fracture go directly to the emergency room. This can be life threatening and should be treated first.

Do special-needs children have special dental concerns?
Yes. Some children with disabilities are more susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease or oral trauma. Certain medications, special diets, or oral habits detrimental to dental health are common among special-needs children. If preventive dental care is started early and followed conscientiously, every child can enjoy a healthy smile.

How can I prevent dental problems for my special-needs child?
A first dental visit (Well-Care visit) by age one will be the beginning to a lifetime of good dental health. We will obtain a full medical history, perform an examination of your child’s teeth and gums, and then develop a preventive care plan specifically designed for your child’s needs.

Will preventive dentistry benefit my special-needs child?
Yes! Your child will benefit from the preventive approach recommended for all children- effective daily brushing and flossing, moderation of snacking and proper amounts of fluoride. Adequate oral home care takes minutes a day and will prevent many dental problems. Regular professional cleanings and fluoride treatments will help prevent or help catch problems early if they should arise.

Is Happy Teeth Dental Care prepared to care for special-needs children?
Specialty education in pediatric dentistry provides additional training that focuses specifically on the care for children with special health-care needs. Our office is designed to be physically accessible for special-needs patients.

When will my child need orthodontics/braces?
For the average child, the ideal time for orthodontics will be just before the last of the primary/baby teeth naturally fall out. This will usually occur at approximately eleven. However, there are circumstances in which children benefit from phase I or interceptive orthodontics. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontists typically recommends that children have a screening appointment with an orthodontist at age seven. At this time, the orthodontist will discuss future treatments, including the timing of such treatment.

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TREATMENT UNDER NITROUS OXIDE

What is Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen?
Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) is ALWAYS administered with oxygen. Nitrous oxide is a safe gas and is 100% exhaled by the patient. The combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen, inhaled by your child during the restorative appointment, is used to relax a mildly anxious child. Nitrous Oxide/oxygen also acts to minimize discomfort during dental treatment. Your child does not fall asleep and can effectively communicate with the dentist. Your child should be able to return to normal activities upon leaving the dental office, however limit the amount of physical activity immediately following treatment.

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HOSPITAL DENTISTRY

Do you allow parents to come back with their children?
Parents are invited back to accompany their child during the initial examination and during any treatment your child may receive. Parents are always allowed to accompany any child three years of age or younger We do encourage parents, however, to allow children to enter the treatment area alone if we think your child will behave better and have a more positive experience. Please let our receptionist know if you request special accommodations. If your child needs to be sedated for treatment or needs hospital dentistry care under general anesthesia, parents are asked not to accompany their child. There are no exceptions to this rule.

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