Preventive and Diagnostic
An oral evaluation is recommended every six (6) months to prevent cavities and other dental problems. During an oral evaluation, a thorough examination of the mouth, head, and neck is performed to detect abnormalities.
Regular cleanings help keep gums healthy and teeth cavity-free. A dental cleaning includes removal of tartar and plaque and polishing of the teeth to remove stains and prevent further buildup of plaque.
Fluoride is a natural substance that helps strengthen teeth and prevent decay. Fluoride treatments are administered at this office as an important component of pediatric dental treatment. The fluoride is applied to the teeth in a gel, foam, or varnish form.
Dental X-rays are a valuable diagnostic tool used to identify decay, extra teeth, bone defects, tumors, cysts and check the progress of previous procedures. Advances in technology now allow for digital X-rays, which reduce radiation exposure more than 50 percent, and produce instant, high-quality images that can be viewed immediately by the dentist and the patient.
During a regular check-up, oral hygiene instructions are given to both patient and parent. Good home care can reduce the risk of plaque and tartar build-up which can lead to cavities. Instructions include proper techniques for brushing, flossing, and using mouth rinses.
Dental sealants are made of a safe resin material which is applied to the surfaces of teeth (commonly permanent molars) to prevent cavities. The sealant material fills in the crevices of a tooth and “seals” off the tooth from cavity-causing agents like food and plaque. The teeth are prepared for the sealant application and the sealant is painted directly onto the chewing surface of each tooth and then hardens. Sealants are applied in one visit.
Tooth-colored fillings are the most lifelike material used to fill cavities. Composite fillings can be done in one visit. Once the decay is removed, the tooth is filled with this composite material that hardens immediately after placement.
Root canals involve treating decay that is inside of the tooth. If the inside of the tooth, known as the dental pulp, is damaged it will gradually decay if left within the tooth. The pulpotomy involves removing the pulp, cleaning out the root canals, and packing the canals with material that will help restore the tooth until it is time for it to exfoliate (or fall out on its own naturally).
A crown is a dental restoration that completely covers the outside of a severely decayed tooth. Dental crowns can be completed in two visits. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared (shaved down) and an impression is taken. A temporary crown is placed while the permanent crown is being made. During the second visit, the permanent crown is carefully fitted and then cemented into place for a permanent restoration.
A tooth that can not be saved with restorative materials may need to be removed. Before removing the tooth, the area will be numbed with local anesthesia. The tooth is then loosened using a special dental instrument known as an elevator. After the tooth is loosened from the socket, it is removed.
A habit appliance is useful to help stop a thumb or finger habit and/or to help re-train an improper tongue position or swallowing pattern. It is sometimes necessary to place an appliance to minimize the harm and distortion the habits or tongue posture can have on teeth. Most habit appliances are banded for adhesion to the back molars and are not removable.
Space maintainers are used to keep teeth from drifting into an empty tooth space due to early loss of primary (baby) teeth. Baby teeth act as a guide for the eruption of the permanent teeth. A space maintainer is made of stainless steel and/or plastic. It can be removable or fixed to the teeth.
Cosmetic bonding is the process of filling or restoring teeth with a tooth-colored material in order to maintain a natural appearance.
Whitening, also known as bleaching, is the procedure used to brighten teeth. In-office whitening usually requires only one office visit. A protective gel or a rubber shield is placed over the gums to protect the soft tissue. A bleaching agent containing carbamide peroxide is applied to the teeth, and a laser light is then used to enhance the action of the whitening agent.
Local anesthesia refers to a topical and/or injected anesthetic that will affect only the targeted area for a brief period of time to minimize or eliminate sensation or pain in that specific “localized” area during a dental procedure.
Nitrous oxide, sometimes referred to as “laughing gas,” is an effective and safe sedation agent that is inhaled through a mask that fits over your child’s nose. Mixed with oxygen, nitrous oxide allows the patient to breathe normally through their nose, and within minutes they should start to feel the effects. They may feel light-headed or notice a tingling in their arms and legs. Some patients comment that their legs and arms feel heavy. Ultimately, they should feel comfortable and calm. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off quickly after the mask is removed. Talk to the doctor about whether nitrous oxide would be a good option for your child.