Pediatric Dental Exams
To ensure you and your child avoid anxieties and have a positive, rewarding experience with the dentist is to visit the dental office early and regularly. Dr. Chen recommends beginning visits around 3 years of age and returns for checkups every 6 months. These initial visits allow Dr. Chen to monitor growth and development of the teeth and to watch for potential issues. Regular visits also allow your child to have pleasant and nontreatment-related experiences at a dental office.
Nitrous Oxide As Conscious Sedation for Children
Nitrous Oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is a safe and effective conscious sedation technique used to help both adults and children feel relaxed, relieve dental anxiety, and help make certain dental procedures easy and stress-free for patients. Nitrous oxide is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry and is well tolerated by most patients. It has a rapid onset, is reversible, can be adjusted in various concentrations and is non-allergenic. The child remains fully conscious and maintains all natural reflexes when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen. It is recommended that your child not eat for 2 hours prior to the procedure.
Pediatric Dental Emergencies
No matter how hard a parent tries, a dental emergency can sometimes occur. Please note that any signs of head or neck injury, unconsciousness, uncontrolled bleeding, or swelling accompanied by a fever require urgent medical attention. With these types of signs, take your child to the nearest emergency center or urgent care facility for immediate attention.
Common Pediatric Dental Emergencies Include:
The symptoms of a toothache include sharp or dull pain in or around a tooth. Common causes of a toothache is a dental cavity as a result of tooth decay.
Dental Avulsion (Knocked Out Tooth)
The entire displacement of a tooth from its socket in alveolar bone due to trauma. The treatment for permanent teeth consists of replantation, as quickly as possible.
Dental Intrusion (tooth pushed into jaw bone)
The intrusion of a permanent incisor. The displacement of a tooth into the alveolar bone along the pole of the tooth and is characterized by comminution or fracture of the alveolar socket.
Tooth Displacement (luxation, Extrusion)
A tooth luxation is the dislodgment of a tooth from its natural state in the alveolus. Lateral luxation is the displacement of the tooth other than axially and is accompanied by contusion, comminution or fracture of the alveolar.
Broken Tooth (crown fracture)
The most usually reported dental injuries, defined by fractures of the enamel or enamel and dentin. The tooth structure is a loss but no exposure of the pulpal.
These are often discovered when the surrounding bone and gum become infected. Treatment requires extraction.
Injuries to the periodontal ligament, or the nerve and blood vessel tissues at the point of a tooth’s root, induced by a forceful impact to the tooth.
Common Pediatric Dental Procedures
Pediatric Dental Sealants
Dental sealants serve as a barrier to prevent cavities by keeping plaque and bacteria out. Sealants are made of a plastic material and applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often.
Dental Fillings for Children
Primary, or baby teeth, are softer and more porous than adult (permanent) teeth making baby teeth more susceptible to decay and dental cavities. The dental filling procedure and recovery process for pediatric patients are very similar to that of adults. In some cases, Nitrous Oxide may be used to help a child feel more relaxed during the procedure.
A pulpotomy or root canal is the surgical removal of an inflamed pulp chamber in a child’s compromised tooth due to untreated cavities, decay or trauma. A healthy tooth has space inside filled with soft tissues – nerves, blood vessels and pink connective tissue. The space is referred to as the “pulp.” If a tooth gets a large cavity, the bacteria in the decay can damage the pulp, which can cause a toothache.
Baby teeth are not as hard and strong as adult teeth, and the nerve inside a baby tooth is closer to the outside, which is why children are usually more sensitive and susceptible to decay and tooth pain.
Dental Crowns for Children
Sometimes, following a Pulpotomy procedure, the dentist may recommend placement of a stainless steel or tooth-colored crown to protect the tooth from further damage or decay.
Pediatric Dental Extractions for Children
The tooth extraction procedure and recovery for children is very similar to that of adults. Besides numbing the area, Nitrous Oxide may be used to help a child to feel more relaxed during the procedure.
Pediatric Space Maintainers
A space maintainer is a custom-made acrylic or metal appliance, which can be either removable or cemented in a child’s mouth. A space maintainer job is to keep the open area between two or more baby teeth free to allow the permanent tooth to erupt and come into that space.
Space maintainers are a common and important treatment option for children. These appliances can help reduce or even eliminate the need for future orthodontic work later on in your child’s life.