Children generally have different dental and behavioral needs than adults. Our pediatric dentist, Dr. Alexandra Hendricks, has extensive training and experience in treating children from infancy through the age of 21. We strive to ensure that each child has the most positive experience possible.
When should my child first see a dentist and why?
We recommend that children are seen when they have 6-8 teeth. This age is ideal to examine your child's mouth because dental problems can start early. Our dentist can recommend special care to prevent problems such as baby bottle tooth decay, teething irritations and prolonged thumb-sucking.
How do I prepare my child and myself for the first visit?
Our goal is to develop a warm connection with your child and to help relieve any anxiety that your child may have. We understand that your child may be nervous for the first visit. Our staff will help your child through every step of the visit to ensure a positive experience. We encourage you to talk to your child in a positive way in order to build excitement about coming to the dentist.
What will happen on the first visit?
At the first visit we like to take x-rays to check for decay and also to allow us to see the developing teeth. We will then clean your child's teeth and apply fluoride. This will be completed by trained clinical staff. After the cleaning is complete one of our doctors will do an exam to check your child's teeth. For a first visit, children must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.
About Kids Teeth
Throughout life you will have two sets of teeth. The first set is primary or baby teeth and the second set is the secondary or permanent teeth. Most children will get their first tooth between 6-10 months old. Usually the bottom front two teeth will come in first. By three years old, all of the baby teeth should be in the mouth. Permanent teeth will usually begin to come in around the age of six. All permanent teeth except for wisdom teeth should be in the moth between 12-14 years old. Every child is different, so these ages are only an estimation.
Common Dental Procedures
Composite Resin Restorations
Composite restorations are white fillings. These are used in both primary and permanent teeth after the decay is removed. We do not use amalgam (silver fillings) in our office. Amalgam contains mercury and also does not adhere well to teeth therefore leaving the teeth susceptible to further decay.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are pre-made and are adjusted to fit your child's teeth. These crowns are used when there is excessive decay, decalcification or developmental defects. The steel crowns will only be placed on the back teeth. If a baby tooth in the front needs a crown we will place a stainless steel crown that has a tooth colored overlay so that the tooth will appear as natural as possible. These crowns will usually last until the permanent tooth comes in.
A pulpotomy is a common procedure in pediatric dentistry. When excessive decay is present it causes the nerve tissue inside the tooth to become irritated and inflamed. This is generally the cause of a toothache. When this happens, it requires the removal of the nerve tissue to remove the decay and stop the pain The remaining vital tissue of the tooth is treated in order to preserve the function of the tooth. Typically a crown is placed over the tooth to make it stronger.
Space maintenance is best achieved by preserving the primary molars until they are lost naturally. Sometimes, when a tooth is not able to be restored (have a filling placed) or is infected, the tooth must be extracted. At this point a space maintainer is placed. The purpose of a space maintainer is to hold the space for the permanent tooth to come in. If a space maintainer is not placed after a baby tooth is extracted the teeth beside the space will drift, blocking off the space for the permanent tooth to come in. Once the permanent tooth comes into the mouth the space maintainer will be removed.
This is laughing gas. Your child will not go to sleep with the use of nitrous oxide. This only helps to relax your child's anxiety. Your child will receive oxygen at the end of the procedure. This means there is no recovery time with nitrous oxide.