A pediatric dentist has an extra two years of specialized training after dental school and is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teenage years. The very young, pre-teens, and teenagers all need different approaches in dealing with behavior, guiding their craniofacial growth and development, and helping them avoid future dental problems.
With the additional two-year residency, pediatric dentists have the training which allows them to offer the most up-to-date and thorough treatment for a wide variety of pediatric dental conditions.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association, your child’s first visit should occur about 6 months after their first tooth erupts, but no later than your child’s first birthday. Although it may seem young, finding your child’s “dental home” is a key to a lifetime of good dental health.
It is very important to maintain the health of primary teeth (baby teeth). Neglected cavities can cause pain and infection, and it can also lead to problems which affect the developing permanent teeth.
Primary teeth, which generally fall out between the a ges of 5 and 12, are important for proper chewing and eating, providing space for permanent teeth and guiding them into position, and permitting the normal development of the jaw bones and muscles.
Radiographs (x-rays) are a necessary part of your child’s dental diagnostic process. Without them, certain cavities will be missed. They also help notice if there are missing or extra teeth. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child, and more affordable to you.
On average, our office will request bitewing radiographs approximately once a year and panoramic radiographs every 3-5 years. In children who are at a higher risk of developing tooth decay, we may recommend radiographs at more frequent intervals.
With contemporary safeguards and digital radiography, the amount of radiation received in dental x-ray examination is extremely small. In fact, the dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem. Today’s equipment restricts the x-ray beam to he specific area of interest limiting the amount of radiation.
A sealant is a composite material that is applies to the chewing surfaces of the back permanent teeth, where most cavities in children can form. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque, and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth. However, cavities between the teeth are not protected by sealants.
If your child has a cavity, a filing is placed after the cavity is removed. The filling will be tooth colored.
In a primary tooth, if a cavity is too large to restore with a filling, a crown may be recommended or the tooth may need to come out. If the cavity is too large and has involved the nerve of the tooth, then the nerve will be removed (pulpotomy) along with the cavity, and a crown will be placed. For front teeth, white restorations are used. For back teeth, stainless steel crowns are used for their durability and longevity. The purpose of the crown is to help provide structure for the tooth, to help maintain space for permanent teeth to erupt properly, and to help protect the remaining tooth.
Dr. Dove and Dr. Parikh have their North Carolina State Pediatric Moderate Sedation Permit and Dr. Dove is PALS certified (Pediatric Advanced Life Support).
At our practice, we offer a variety of sedation options varying from light with nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to moderate (we offer a couple of oral sedation options in addition to the nitrous oxide for patients depending on their age, treatment needs, anxiety and medical history.
Treatment under general anesthesia is offered in a hospital setting or in an office setting if desired and appropriate for your child.
General anesthesia may be indicated for young children with extensive dental needs and/or those who are extremely uncooperative, fearful, or anxious. General anesthesia also can be helpful for children requiring significant surgical procedures or patients having special health care needs.
Clean the area around the store tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth with warm salt water or use dental floss to dislodge impacted food or debris.
Children’s Tylenol and Motrin are very helpful in controlling tooth pain, whether from large cavities or even with teething in a younger child.
DO NOT place aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth. If the face is swollen or the pain still persists, contact our office as soon as possible. Avoid hot, cold, and sweet foods.
Rinse debris from injured area with warm water. Place cold compress over the face in the area of injury. Locate and save any broken tooth fragments in milk.
Contact our office as soon as possible.
The first thing to do is to remain calm. This can be a very upsetting situation for both you and your child. Always make sure your child has not passed out or is unable to remember the injury. If this is the case, you will need to report to the emergency room for head trauma evaluation.
Next, determine if it is a permanent tooth or baby tooth. If it is a baby tooth, DO NOT REIMPLANT. Contact us immediately for instructions.
If it is a permanent tooth, find the tooth and pick it up by the crown of the tooth (the part you see in the mouth).
Try not to handle the root of the tooth. If there appears to be debris on the tooth, rinse with water, milk, or saliva.
Next, place the tooth back in the socket and contact our office immediately. Have your child bite down on a wet washcloth, or some gauze or paper towel in order to keep the tooth in place in the socket. If you are uncomfortable with this, place the tooth in milk.
The best chance for survival of the tooth is if it has been re-implanted within 30 minutes of the injury. This is why it is critical that you re-implant immediately. Your child will need to be seen shortly after, so the tooth can be splinted.
Your child should wear a mouth guard whenever he or she is in an activity with a risk of falls or head contact with other players or equipment. We usually think of football and hockey as the most dangerous to the teeth, but nearly half of sports-related mouth injuries occur in basketball and baseball.
We usually recommend children in the mixed dentition (with primary teeth remaining) to use the “boil and bite” mouthguards because they are still growing, changing, losing, and getting new teeth. Once your child has all permanent teeth fully erupted, we can fabricate a permanent mouthguard from an impression to help prevent injury.
Dr. Dove and Dr. Parikh will recommend the best mouth guard for your child.