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

First Visit

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child should see a pediatric dentist around the time of his or her first birthday.

During your child’s first visit, we will evaluate the development of your child’s mouth, review how to care for these new teeth, and help stop or prevent any harmful habits. Providing education and teaching prevention can lead to a lifetime of great dental health.

Our goal is to make this first visit enjoyable for both the child and the parent. Our staff is trained to treat children of all ages and will work to make everyone comfortable. If your child should have decay or other issues needing treatment, this would typically be scheduled at a follow up appointment.

child's first visit

Cleanings

Dental cleanings are an important step in keeping your teeth and gums healthy. While daily brushing and flossing keeps plaque and tartar from building up on the surfaces of the teeth, professional cleanings remove buildup from places that toothbrushes simply cannot reach, as well as polishes the teeth to mitigate stains and future buildup. If it’s been longer than a year since your last cleaning, then it’s time to make an appointment!

Cleanings are done twice a year for our patients at Growing Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. Cleanings help prevent gum disease and allow for the removal of plaque and calculus that can lead to poor oral health. During these appointments, we will also apply a fluoride treatment and take dental radiographs when needed. This appointment concludes with a comprehensive exam by Dr. Jamie to assess any possible issues since the patient’s previous visit.

Bacteria from the foods that you eat causes plaque, the white film that sits atop the surfaces of the teeth. Brushing and flossing daily is a great way to remove plaque from teeth, but a professional dental cleaning scrapes away plaque buildup that you may not see with the naked eye.

If not removed from the teeth, plaque hardens into dental calculus (also called tartar). Calculus builds up between teeth and between your teeth and gums, and can cause gums to become inflamed or infected. This in turn can lead to gum disease, which has been linked to a host of other medical issues, including diabetes, dementia and heart disease.

Dental Radiographs

Dental X-rays allow Dr. Jamie to examine how adult teeth are forming in the jaw, detect problems, diagnose disease, evaluate the extent of injuries, and plan treatment for each child. Every child we see is different, and the need for certain digital x-rays will vary from child to child. Our office uses only digital radiography equipment, which further minimizes radiation exposure even lower than the recommended levels.

Dental X-rays provide a precise and specific view of the condition of the oral cavity which is essential in the diagnosis of the oral-related issues. The radiographs show the small cavities between the teeth, hidden cavities, bone infection, gum disease, abscesses, tumors, and cysts, enabling the early diagnosis of dental problems and the right treatment to be done. They are necessary aids in locating concealed dental structures such as the wisdom teeth, as well as, signs of bone loss. Additionally, they are used in checking the progress of the dental treatment.

Dental X-Rays are produced when the radiation passes through the soft tissues in the oral cavity like the gums and cheek, while the dense tissues like the teeth and bones absorb the radiation. Through this process, the internal structures of the oral cavity are revealed.

Sealants

Dental sealants protect teeth by reducing their risk of developing cavities in the deep grooves of the molars. These sealants are made of a thin plastic material applied to the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth which lead to a smoother surface which is easier for a child to keep clean.

Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. However, toothbrush bristles cannot always reach all the way into the depressions and grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth (also known as pits and fissures), to remove food and plaque. Dental sealants protect these surfaces by keeping plaque and bacteria out.

Sealants are easy to apply and can be done during a regular checkup and cleaning visit. The sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. As long as the sealant remains in place, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and may last several years before a needing to be reapplied. During your child’s regular dental visits, Dr. Jamie will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them if necessary.

Fluoride

Fluoride applications after your child’s cleanings can help decrease their risk of developing tooth decay. For children with an increased risk of decay or who are undergoing orthodontic therapy, prescription strength fluoride toothpaste may be prescribed for everyday use at home. Fluoride supplements also are effective in reducing prevalence of dental caries and should be considered for children at high caries risk who drink fluoride-deficient (<0.6pmm F) water.

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. Creating and installing dental crowns is a multi-step process.

Dr. Jamie will take bite impressions to determine the shape of the tooth, to ensure the crown will fit properly. The crown will be fabricated in a lab, where it is shaped and adjusted for color. Then Dr. Jamie bonds the new crown to your tooth or implant.

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.

General Anesthesia

Some children need dental care in a more controlled environment either due to a young age, special needs, or other special circumstance that does not allow for the cooperation needed for treatment.

Dr. Jamie is on the surgical staff at Peoria’s OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. At this facility, your child would be sedated by an anesthesiologist and monitored at all times, while Dr. Jamie completes their needed dental work.

If general anesthesia is recommended or considered for your child, we will set up a consultation appointment to inform you of the process, the risks and benefits of general anesthesia, the alternatives, and answer any of your questions.

dr jamie in office

Thumb Sucking Appliances

Thumb sucking is a very difficult habit for some children to give up. As the child ages, and if the habit starts to affect the developing dentition, Dr. Jamie can provide an appliance that would discourage oral habits and make it easier to stop.

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.

Emergency Care

Contact our office as soon as possible. Our team is available 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 which will be available on our answering machine, where Dr. Jamie will provide a consultation over the phone and meet you at the office if it is necessary.

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