An inexpensive way to restore a small amount of tooth decay.
Prevention is always better than treatment. By actively preventing disease and decay through regular home care, professional dental cleanings and regular exams, you will maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. In addition, effective prevention can help you avoid costly treatments in the future to remove decay, restore teeth and treat gum disease. Regular prevention is truly your best option to have a healthy smile.
Dental examinations help to diagnose disease before it becomes hazardous to your health. In addition, regular examinations can save you money by alleviating problems while they are small and before they become expensive to repair, or in some cases, impossible to repair.
Your dental examinations generally include the following:
- Evaluation of growth and development.
- Orthodontic needs assessment.
- Gum disease evaluation.
- Visual examination of tooth decay.
- Examination of diagnostic x-rays to see cysts, tumors, invisible decay and other problems that can’t be seen by the naked eye.
- Evaluation of status of current restorations (fillings and others).
We cannot express enough how important it is to see your dentist regularly.
Remember, preventing disease is always better than treating disease.
Professional cleanings (dental prophylaxis) form the foundation for preventing gum disease and tooth decay.
In a professional cleaning, your child’s dental team will:
- Remove plaque from the teeth — plaque is a sticky substance that forms in the mouth from food, saliva and bacteria. Plaque sticks to teeth and causes tooth decay and gum disease.
- Remove calculus (tarter) above the gum line — calculus is plaque that has hardened on the tooth surface and is difficult to remove. (Calculus below the gum line indicates gum disease and requires a different procedure to remove it.)
- Polish and remove stains from teeth.
Normal pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of back teeth can trap food that can’t be removed by brushing or washed out by water or saliva. A sealant is a tough, plastic material designed to bond (stick) to tooth enamel.
- Protect normal pits and grooves on the chewing surface of back teeth.
- Stop small amounts of decay from growing larger.
A clear or tooth colored sealant is painted onto the tooth surface to “seal” the pits and grooves and protect against decay. They are generally applied to children’s first permanent back teeth. They can also be useful for adults in certain situations.
Sealants are an excellent way to protect chewing surfaces of teeth from decay. They are a much better financial investment than treating decay after it has started.
Sealants are not permanent. They generally last about five years with normal wear, but can wear off or chip off earlier in certain instances. Also, sealants do not prevent decay between teeth or the onset of gum disease, so regular home care and dental visits are important.
There are no appropriate alternatives to sealants. If a tooth has decay, it will need a filling or other restoration.
Adequate home care is imperative if you want to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile and prevent costly dental treatment in the future. The goal of home care is to regularly remove the sticky film of bacteria called plaque from your teeth.
Brush your teeth twice daily using a soft tooth brush. Gently vibrate the brush in a circular fashion at a 45 degree angle to the gum line. Then gently vibrate the brush back and forth on each tooth surface until you have effectively cleaned the entire mouth. You should also brush your tongue to remove the bacteria that causes bad breath.
You can use any soft bristled, ADA approved tooth brush. We also recommend the use of modern electric tooth brushes such as Sonicare and Braun.
Your child should brush for approximately two minutes to effectively remove plaque that has formed on their teeth. Parents should monitor their child’s brushing until the age of six. Your child’s hygiene will be evaluated at his/her examination and effectiveness discussed.
Floss daily to remove plaque between teeth that you can’t reach with regular brushing. Take 12″ to 18″ of dental floss and wrap it around the middle finger of each hand. Pull the floss tightly, and then use your thumb and forefingers to slide the floss gently between each set of teeth. Curve the floss around each tooth and move the floss up and down along the tooth, going as low as you can comfortably get under the gum line. Use a fresh section of floss for each tooth until you have flossed the entire mouth. Flossing aids are available to assist children with holding the floss.
Always rinse thoroughly with water after brushing (or after meals if you are unable to brush.) You may occasionally use a mouthwash to rinse. Children may benefit from the use of ACT fluoride rinse, to help prevent cavities from forming in between the teeth. It is not recommended for children to use alcohol based mouthrinses.
Using the most advanced dental technology possible is just as important as staying up-to-date on the latest treatment techniques. Because our practice is dedicated to providing your child with the safest and most convenient treatment options available, we utilize advanced digital X-ray technology in our office.
Because we care about your child’s entire body’s health and well-being, we believe that reducing the amount of radiation exposure is extremely important. Although the amount of radiation used in dental X-rays is very small, the effect is cumulative, so all radiation counts. Digital X-rays can reduce your child’s exposure to radiation by up to 80%!
- We want your little one to be as comfortable as possible during their appointment, and digital X-rays eliminate the need to bite down on a sharp piece of film encased in plastic.
- There is no need to wait for the X-ray film to be developed before it can be viewed, so the entire checkup can be a lot shorter.
- Because your child can see the image enlarged in the screen, they can better understand why taking care of their teeth is important.
- The digital images can be enlarged and manipulated, giving the doctor a clear, more detailed look at your child’s teeth.
- It is easier and faster to share the images with other specialist when necessary.
- It’s better for the earth! There is no need to use harmful chemicals to process film.
Our practice is focused on making your child’s dental experience as comfortable as possible. At their next appointment we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
- OFFICE ENVIRONMENT
- NITROUS OXIDE
- MODERATE SEDATION
- EXTRACTIONS – POST TREATMENT
- LIP BITING AFTER TREATMENT
Dr. Starr’s office was designed for infants, children and teens. From the games in the waiting room to the tv’s in the treatment room, kids feel right at home. It’s a unique atmosphere that helps children relax and enjoy their experience. Children deserve to experience a gentle, caring approach to their dental care.
Our goal is to help your child grow into an adult who routinely and comfortably seeks dental care. This often requires extra time with your child, distraction through many of our child friendly amenities, or in some cases the use of appropriate sedatives. It is very important to discuss with Dr. Starr any bad experiences or fears your child may have in order to provide the best possible care for your child.
Dr. Starr offers nitrous oxide (laughing gas) for the slightly anxious child. Nitrous oxide helps a child who is cooperative but worried about various aspects of their appointment. It helps alleviate anxiety about having instruments placed in the mouth. Nitrous oxide isn’t for everyone, however. It requires a certain amount of cooperation from the child, as they are required to breathe only through a plastic apparatus placed over their nose. If the child is too young or too anxious to sit in a chair and breathe through a nose-piece, nitrous oxide is not an option.
Nitrous oxide is an extremely safe sedation option. When your child is breathing nitrous oxide they are receiving more oxygen than they are getting in room air!
Dr. Starr also offers moderate sedation through oral medication for the extremely fearful or pre-cooperative child. Before deciding which treatment is best for your little one Dr. Starr will consult with you before the day of treatment and review with you this option. At this consult visit Dr. Starr will review child’s medical history to ensure they are a good candidate. Some of the more popular medications we use include:
- Chloral Hydrate
This method of treatment is very safe and effective!
PRE- AND POST-CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Your child should have nothing to eat or drink four hours before the sedation appointment. This is extremely important to the health and safety of your child.
Eating After the Appointment
Start by giving your child water or apple juice after the appointment when they
If your child can tolerate the apple juice, move to soft foods such as yogurt, pudding, etc. Gradually increase to normal foods as they are able to tolerate it.
Your child will likely go home and take a nap after sedation. This is normal. Place them on their side. Do not leave your child unattended, or place anything (such as gauze) in their mouth while they are sleeping.
It is best that your child rest for the remainder of the day. Watching videos at home is an excellent idea. Remember, your child is not as awake as they think they are. Avoid swimming, biking, vigorous activity for the remainder of the day. Your child may resume normal activity the day after their appointment.
Most of the bleeding should have subsided by the time you leave the office. It is important to keep pressure on the extraction area for about 10 minutes after the appointment. This can be done with the gauze provided when you left the office. If the site begins to bleed again, have the child bite on wet gauze for 10 minutes.
Swelling of the lip after an extraction is most likely due to your child biting the lip. Call to make an appointment to evaluate the severity of the swelling. If the swelling is rapidly progressing call us as soon as possible.
Occasionally children will bite themselves in the area they were anesthetized without realizing it. The area can become quite swollen and painful. Your child will need to remain on a soft diet until the area heals to avoid re-injuring themselves. Give
Children’s Motrin/Tylenol as needed for the pain.
Children deserve to experience a gentle, caring approach to their dental care. A positive dental experience will help them build confidence and knowledge, setting a great precedent for their future dental health. Your child will always be grateful for the gift of a beautiful, healthy smile.