Quality Dental Care for All Generations

Preparing for Your First Appointment

We ask that new patients bring the following
with them to their first appointment:

Your Child's First Visit

Your first visitThe ADA recommends regular dental check-ups, including a visit to the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth, and no later than the child's first birthday. Preventive care such as cleanings and if necessary, fluoride treatments, provide children with 'smile' insurance. Routine dental exams uncover problems that can be easily treated in the early stages, when damage is minimal.

First cavity: What to do when your child gets a cavity

 

When the dentist first informs you that your child has a cavity, you may be surprised. Yes, even children with good dental habits can get cavities. You see, there are a number of reasons why cavities occur. Some causes, like eating sugary foods or not brushing and flossing regularly, are within your control. Other causes, like genetics, are not.

Let’s go over what you need to know about your child’s first cavity and how you can help prevent them in the future.

Baby teeth vs. permanent teeth

It’s usually best to have the cavity filled, even if it’s not in a permanent tooth. Why, if the tooth is going to fall out eventually? First, there is a risk of the tooth becoming sensitive or painful. Also, the bacteria involved could grow, which may require that the tooth be pulled. Lastly, the bacteria could spread to other teeth.

You may wonder how important cavities in baby teeth are, but despite what you may have heard, baby teeth do have a purpose. They hold space in a child’s mouth until the adult teeth break through. Without them, permanent teeth can grow crookedly, affecting the ability to chew and speak, and resulting in a less-than-perfect smile. That’s why filling a cavity is usually recommended—even in baby teeth. Learn about other misunderstandings about cavities in the article Six cavity myths – busted!

Treatment for cavities

If your child is old enough and the affected tooth is expected to fall out soon, you may decide not to have the cavity filled. But, if it’s next to a permanent tooth, you’ll want to have it addressed before it damages the adult tooth.

If the dentist says a filling is needed you will need to discuss how to numb the area so the dentist can fill the cavity. Repairing a cavity requires drilling, so that means a shot is mandatory. While no one likes to be stuck with a needle, some children are panicked at the thought of shots.

In those cases, you can speak with the dentist about using nitrous oxide (laughing gas), or a sedative that can be taken by mouth. Either will help calm your child and make it possible to do any shots that are needed to numb the area.

How can you help things go smoothly? Try to prepare your child before the visit. Stay calm and cheerful as you talk about it. This is especially important if you tend to get anxious yourself. Keep it simple; too much detail may overwhelm your child.

If your little one complains about the numbness after the procedure, simply assure him or her that the feeling will go away soon.

Fillings for children

There are currently two types of fillings used to repair cavities: amalgam and composite.

Amalgams are silver-colored fillings. They are generally more durable and less expensive than composites, which is why they are covered by most dental insurance plans. They are also quicker to apply, so less time is spent in the dental chair, which can be a plus if you have a squirmy little one!

There is some controversy about amalgams that you should be aware of. Amalgams contain mercury, which is toxic. Yet, the American Dental Association still supports the use of amalgams and believes they are safe. The other potential downsides to amalgams are that they require more drilling, and they may expand and crack over time.

Composites are white/tooth-colored fillings. They are not as durable as amalgams and can stain. They take a bit longer to apply and are about 25% more expensive than amalgams, which is why they are not always covered by insurance.

Your child’s dentist may recommend which filling to use, but as the parent you will ultimately decide which are the best fillings for your child.

Preventing cavities in children

Cavities happen when bacteria and food are left in the mouth. Eventually they soften the teeth and cause a cavity or hole. Prevention is the best way to fight future cavities. For some tips on what kids should eat, see the article Top 12 types of food to improve your kid’s dental health.

Unfortunately, kids with cavities in their baby teeth are likely to develop them in their permanent teeth, as well. Also, some kids are just more prone to cavities, especially if there is a family history. Your dentist may recommend a protective sealant or resin to help preserve your child’s permanent teeth after they come in.

In the meantime, stick to the basics. Proper brushing and flossing, a healthy diet, and limiting sugary foods and drinks will help prevent cavities at every stage of your child’s life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emergency/Trauma to Teeth

Knocked Out Tooth:  Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it's dirty.  Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments.  If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket.  If that isn't possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk or saliva and get toour office as quickly as possible.  Alternatively, you could place the tooth in an "emergency tooth saver" bottle that has the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance.  The sooner you can do any of these things the better because it helps keep the small attachment fibers on the root of the tooth alive.  Remember to take the tooth with you!!!   Note:  only reimplant a permanent tooth in its socket--never a baby/primary tooth.

Broken Tooth:  Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area.  Use cold compresses on the area to keep any swelling down.  Call our office immediately.

Possible Broken Jaw:  Apply cold compresses to control swelling.  Go to the hospital emergency room immediately.

Objects Caught Between Teeth:  Gently try to remove the object with dental floss.  If you're not successful, call our office.  Do not try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument.

Toothache:  Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out.  Use dental floss to remove any food that may be trapped between the teeth.  Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues.  Schedule an appointment at our office as soon as possible.

Bitten Tongue or Lip:  Clean the area gently with a cloth, and put cold compresses to keep the swelling down.  If bleeding is excessive or doesn't stop in a short period of time, call our office or visit a hospital emergency room.

 

Early Childhood Caries (Baby Bottle Tooth Decay) 

Baby bottle tooth decay can destroy children's teeth. It occurs when a child is frequently exposed to sugary liquids such as milk, fruit juice and other sweet liquids. The ADA recommends the following steps to prevent your child from getting early childhood caries.

Disinfection and Sterilization

For the continued good of our patients and staff, our office remains committed to the most up-to-date infection control procedures. Our staff uses universal precautions to protect your health and welfare. That means that we use all measures to prevent contamination from our instruments or hands, to you and your family. We use gloves, masks, and protective eyewear, as well as sterilize our instruments after each and every use. We dispose of all waste items and contaminated material properly. We disinfect every room before each patient. We go above and beyond the standard of care to ensure that patients receive care that is safe and exceeds your expectations.  After all, we treat our own families here, too!