We are open and committed to your safety at Growing Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. The COVID-19 pandemic has led us to make a few updates to our policies, so please take note and remember we are so excited to see your smiles! Read how

Fillings

Stopping decay early is our goal! Filling cavities in baby teeth will prevent the spread of infection, keep a healthy environment for the future adult teeth, and ensure no potential pain that can happen if the decay worsens. Toothaches in children can lead to distraction in school and many sleepless nights.

Catching decay early on is important, as primary (baby) teeth can have disease spread rapidly to other areas of the mouth. Depending on the tooth, size of 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.

Cavities range in size – from nearly invisible small cavities to dark spots that indicate a serious cavity. It’s far better to discover a cavity when it can only be seen by a dental professional during your regular dental visits than it is to notice you have a cavity by experiencing pain or further tooth decay. Cavities are typically diagnosed using x-rays and can be repaired in a single dental office visit.

Nerve Therapy

In some situations the decay in a tooth can extend into the nerve, therefore requiring nerve treatment. In an adult tooth, this treatment would be a root canal, but in baby teeth it is a simpler version of a root canal called a pulpotomy (“baby root canal”).

The pulpotomy involves removing the nerve of the crown of the tooth and then placing a sedative medication inside the tooth. Then the tooth will be covered with a stainless steel crown to prevent fracture or any bacterial contamination.

If the decay in a baby tooth has progressed to the point that a dental abscess (a “bubble” in the gums) has formed, then Dr. Jamie will likely need to extract the tooth. If left untreated, this could lead to a spread of the infection to other areas of the body and possibly become life-threatening.

The purpose of pulp therapy in pediatric dentistry is to maintain the integrity of the affected tooth, so that your child’s tooth is not lost, until his/her permanent tooth is ready to erupt. Dental caries (cavities) and traumatic injury are the two main reasons for your child’s tooth to require pulp therapy.

Crowns

Crowns cover the entire surface of the tooth above the gums and are used for large areas of decay or following nerve therapy. This allows for the tooth to be protected and allow for a normal eruption pattern of the future adult teeth.

A dental crown will restore normal function to a tooth that is no longer healthy enough for everyday use. A crown is used to save a damaged tooth or its roots, and will help maintain bone health and nerve function by providing a protective cover over the tooth.

Dr. Jamie places stainless steel crowns on baby molars and resin tooth colored crowns on teeth in the front of the mouth.

Extractions

Some baby teeth do become infected or too far broken down and a dental extraction is the best choice for the child. Sometimes tooth extractions are needed for orthodontic purposes as well. Overall, we try to make the process as easy as possible and most kids leave very proud of themselves with their tooth fairy box in hand!

Space Maintenance

Baby teeth are very important to your child’s present and future dental health. They save the space for the permanent teeth and guide them into position. When a tooth is lost prematurely, the surrounding baby teeth will begin to shift and can close the 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. Therefore, permanent teeth are crowded and come in crooked. If left untreated, the condition may require extensive orthodontic treatment.

If a tooth is lost before it should be, a small appliance called a space maintainer can be put in its place. Space maintainers are appliances that are custom fit to your child’s mouth. The spacer remains seated until the adult tooth is near eruption and then is removed by Dr. Jamie. They are small and unobtrusive in appearance. Most children easily adjust to them after the first few days.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, also known as “Laughing Gas”, is available during all of our restorative treatment procedures. Nitrous oxide helps most children feel more relaxed during their dental visit. The gas is inhaled through a nose mask, works very quickly, and then reverses just as quickly once the mask is removed.

Sometimes children may feel anxious before or during treatment. Your child may need more support and a gentle caring manner to feel comfortable. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a safe, effective sedative agent used to calm a child’s fear of the dental visit and enhance effective communication. Additionally, it works well for children whose gag reflex interferes with dental treatment.

Nitrous oxide/oxygen (N2O-O2) is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. A fitted mask is placed over the nose and, as the patient breathes normally, uptake occurs through the lungs. Your child will smell a faint sweet aroma and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. Children sometimes report dreaming and their arms and legs may feel “tingly.” It raises the pain threshold and may even make the time appear to pass quickly. If your child is worried by the sights, sounds or sensations of dental treatment, they may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen.

 

 

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