Specific Dental Procedures
We compiled a list of specific dental procedures for pediatric dental patients to help you better understand details about treatment options that may be discussed with your dentist.
In microabrasion, our dentists carefully apply a compound on the teeth to remove superficial stains and discoloration.
Children smile when they are proud of their teeth. At school and at play, they feel more confident. Ask your pediatric dentist about aesthetic dentistry to restore or enhance your child’s smile.
Extractions are done only as a last resort. If a primary molar is removed prematurely, a space maintainer will be placed. Some extractions are needed for orthodontic reasons to help facilitate tooth alignment.
Pulp therapy is the treatment of infected nerves and blood vessels in teeth. Pulp therapy generally becomes necessary for two reasons: either as a result of extensive tooth decay (dental cavities) or as the result of tooth injury.
Failure to provide the necessary pulp therapy could result in your child experiencing pain, infection, swelling or loss of the root. With the proper treatment, the tooth can be preserved for chewing food and maintaining proper space for permanent teeth. This will help your child preserve a healthy, happy smile.
The chewing surfaces of children’s teeth are the most susceptible to cavities and least benefited by fluorides. Sealants are applied to the tops or chewing surfaces of back teeth and are highly effective in preventing tooth decay. Sealants last generally 3-5 years. Dietary habits such as chewing ice or hard candy can shorten the life expectancy of a sealant. No numbing is required to place them.
Silver fillings are used to restore or ‘fill’ decay in teeth. A tooth has five surfaces (the chewing surface and four sides). The decay may involve any or all of these surfaces.
Space maintainers are used when a primary tooth has been prematurely lost, to hold space for the permanent tooth. If space is not maintained, teeth on either side of the extraction site can drift into the space and prevent the permanent tooth from erupting.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are used to restore teeth that are too badly decayed to hold silver or white fillings.
Tooth-colored fillings are used to restore front or back teeth or where cosmetic appearance is important. Tooth-colored fillings are used to repair fractured teeth and/or areas of decay. The shade of the restorative material is matched as closely as possible to the color of the natural teeth.
X-Ray Use and Safety
In general, children need x-rays more often than adults. Their mouths grow and change rapidly. They are more susceptible to tooth decay than adults. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends x-ray examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. Children with a low risk of tooth decay require x-rays less frequently.
Cleaning and Fluoride
Your child’s teeth will be cleaned to remove plaque and calculus (bacteria) that can cause gum disease and tooth decay. Topical fluoride will be applied to the teeth to help them remineralize and become more resistant to tooth decay. A thorough cleaning and fluoride treatment every six months has been shown to be an extremely effective way to prevent dental disease.
Tooth decay (cavities or caries) is a progressive disease that often begins in very young children. Decay is a result of the interaction between bacteria that are normally on our teeth and sugars in the everyday diet. The bacteria use those sugars to produce acid. A tooth exposed to this acid will lose minerals, and that loss is the first step toward tooth decay.
Your pediatric dentist can remove the decay and use modern materials such as tooth-colored or silver fillings to restore the tooth to a healthy state. If tooth damage is very severe, there may be nerve damage and a stainless steel crown might be required.
Disking of primary laterals and canines is a way of gaining space for erupting permanent teeth. This helps the teeth to align more properly by slenderizing primary teeth.
Early Orthodontic Care
It’s never too early to keep an eye on your child’s oral development. Your pediatric dentist can identify malocclusion (crowded or crooked teeth or bite problems) and actively intervene to guide the teeth as they emerge in the mouth. Orthodontic treatment early can prevent more extensive treatment later.