Why a pediatric dentist?

Why does a child need his or her own dentist?

Pediatric dentists go through years of extra schooling to learn just how to treat growing mouths while taking into account the habits and personalities of young people. In addition, most pediatric dentists recognize their own natural skills in communicating with children and have chosen the specialty because they truly feel connected to kids!


Treatment Options

Some kids have no trouble undergoing dental work—they’re even more confident than some adults! But other children, understandably, can be a little nervous before a procedure. Here’s what to expect.


Nitrous Oxide

“Laughing gas” relaxes a patient before a dental treatment. It’s a blend of oxygen and nitrous oxide that’s administered by placing a small mask over the child’s nose. The child breathes it in and relaxes, but stays awake during the whole procedure.

Most adults who have been receiving regular dental care have come across nitrous oxide at some point. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, it’s a safe and effective method for relaxing patients and creating a safer environment for a dental procedure.


Before your appointment, call us if you can answer “yes” to any of the below questions:

  • Has there been any change in your child’s health or medical condition?
  • Does your child have any respiratory conditions that make breathing through the nose difficult? (e.g. a cold, seasonal allergies, etc.)
  • Will your child be taking any medication on the day of his or her appointment?


I.V. General Anesthesia

In some cases, we may recommend intravenous sedation, during which your child will be somewhat unconscious during the treatment. Usually, I.V. sedation works well for children who are very apprehensive, young, or have certain special needs. We work with an experienced anesthesiologist, who will anesthetize your child using the utmost care and safety precautions. The entire procedure—including anesthesia—will be performed right in our office.


Before your appointment, call us if you can answer “yes” to any of the below questions:

  • Has there been any change in your child’s health or medical condition? If he or she currently has a fever, an ear infection, or a cold, it might be safer to reschedule the appointment.
  • Will your child be taking any medication on the day of his or her appointment? Does he or she have any drug reactions or recent changes in medical history?


Please review the following instructions for the day of your appointment:

  • Your child should not drink milk or eat solid food after midnight prior to the scheduled procedure, and may drink only clear liquids for up to 6 hours prior to the appointment.

  • Dress your child in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing.

  • Make sure your child uses the bathroom just before arriving at the office.

  • The child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the complete procedure.


After the sedation appointment:

  • You will need to monitor your child very closely, as he or she will be very drowsy. Make sure they stay away from any potentially harmful areas, as they may not be alert enough to react quickly.
  • If your child wants to sleep, make sure he or she lies on his or her side, chin up. Wake your child every hour and encourage them to have something to drink in order to prevent dehydration. At first, it’s best to give your child sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea. The first meal after a sedation appointment should be light and easily digestible.
  • If your child needs to throw up, help him or her bend over and turn their head to the side so that no vomit is inhaled.
  • We’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Please give us a call!



What are sealants and how do they benefit my child’s teeth?

For children, the vast majority of cavities are found in the grooves of the back teeth. Sealing those surfaces with a clear or shaded plastic material keeps food, plaque, and acid from settling in and causing potential decay.



How can we protect my child’s teeth from cavities, and why are they harmful?

Food that’s been left on a child’s teeth can cause cavities, which cause decay. Practicing good oral hygiene can begin when your child is an infant—use wet gauze or a clean washcloth to wipe your child’s teeth and gums. And never put your baby to bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water.

Older children should brush their teeth at least twice a day, and avoid giving your children sugary snacks. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing your child in for twice-yearly visits beginning on his or her first birthday. This will set your child up for a lifetime of healthy smiles!

We may recommend protective sealants or home fluoride treatments as well. This will help prevent decay on those back teeth grooves that are harder to clean.



How do dental radiographs (X-rays) work and why are they necessary?

Radiographs (X-rays) allow us to identify much more than cavities—we can see how incoming teeth will erupt, diagnose bone diseases, assess the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. A clinical examination simply can’t provide that level of detail or access to a set of teeth!

We request radiographs once a year, unless we feel that a child is at a higher risk of tooth decay. Approximately every three years, it is a good idea to obtain an extensive set of radiographs, either a panoramic and bitewings or periapicals and bitewings.

We’re particularly careful to minimize a child’s exposure to radiation. We use all of the most up-to-date safeguards (including lead body aprons and shields), and as a result, the amount of radiation a patient may receive during an X-ray is extremely small and carries only the most negligible risk, much less than an undetected and untreated dental problem.

Let’s make a splash together.