Frequently Asked Questions

Written by Super User. Posted in Information

Why Should I Take My Child to a Pediatric Dentist?

A Pediatric Dentist is a dental specialist specifically trained and dedicated to the oral health of children with an emphasis on monitoring their facial growth and development. At Small Smiles we are designed to care for and treat children from infancy through adolescence. We also specialize in the care for children with special medical or physical needs.

Why does Small Smiles Treat Baby Teeth?

Primary or baby teeth are designed to function throughout the childhood years. In fact, baby molars usually are not lost until the pre-adolescent years (12-14 years of age) Baby teeth not only help aid in proper digestion of food, they also are important in the development of children's jaws and facial structures. Another important function of baby teeth is to provide space in the jaws to guide the permanent teeth into proper position. Baby teeth have relatively thin enamel, and can become decayed or infected faster than permanent teeth. These infections can affect the developing permanent teeth. A healthy, disease-free mouth creates a strong environment for permanent teeth and jaws to develop and grow.

What are Sealants?

Made from a tooth colored (white) plastic material, sealants are flowed into the deep grooves and pits on the chewing surface of a tooth. Sealants shield away harmful bacteria and food.

How do Sealants Work?

Even children who take good care of their teeth by proper brushing and flossing are at risk for cavities. Toothbrush bristles are often too thick to reach into pits and fissures of certain teeth. Bacteria, plaque and food build-up in these pits place those teeth at risk of decay. Sealants work by "sealing" or covering the pits so harmful food and bacteria cannot collect there, thus greatly reducing the risk of cavities on the chewing surface of those teeth.

Which Teeth Should be Sealed?

Typically, the permanent six- and twelve-year molars are most at risk for dental decay. However, any tooth (baby or permanent) with deep pits may benefit from the protection of dental sealants.

What if My Child has a Thumb Sucking or Pacifier Habit?

Infants and young children will often use thumbs, fingers or pacifiers to satisfy their sucking needs. Most children grow out of their "oral phase" by the age of four. At this age, most dental problems associated with oral habits will self correct. After permanent teeth begin to erupt, the chances for tooth and jaw correction from an oral habit decrease significantly.

At Small Smiles, we feel positive reinforcement is the best way to motivate your child to quit their oral habit. If your child is over the age of five and you are out of ideas to help them stop their habits, please talk with Dr. Dave. A more aggressive approach may be appropriate. There are many options, including retainers or consulting with Oromyofacial Specialists that we can recommend to help your child.

What are Nerve Treatments?

If a baby tooth is infected, Dr. Dave may recommend the procedure of removing the unhealthy part of the nerve in that tooth. The procedure is called a Pulpotomy. Baby teeth respond well to the removal of the infected portion of the nerve while the healthy portion of the nerve is preserved. The decay is removed and medicine is placed over the healthy portion of the nerve. The tooth is then lined with a temporary filling and a silver crown is usually placed over the tooth to prevent it from fracturing. This procedure allows the tooth to remain in the mouth until the permanent tooth erupts.

What if My Child has Special Needs?

At Small Smiles we welcome children with special needs. Dr. Dave completed two additional years of Pediatric Training after graduating Dental School with an emphasis on children with special needs. Some of these children are at a higher risk for tooth decay, gum disease or dental malocclusions, while others require special diets or medication, which can affect their oral health. Children with physical impairments, which may affect their ability to maintain good oral habits, will get extra attention from Dr. Dave to ensure proper dental care is available. Our office is architecturally designed to be physically accessible for any physical challenge. Small Smiles prides itself on specialized dental care so every child can enjoy a healthy smile.

What if My Child has a Dental Emergency?

If your child has a dental emergency, please call our office as soon possible at 630.527.8686. We will always have time to see your child in pain. If it is an after hours emergency, a pager number will be given on the answering machine.

Our schedule may be delayed to accommodate an injured child. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause at your child's scheduled appointment.

Knocked-Out Teeth

If your child knocks out a permanent tooth, the first hour is the most critical for treatment and future long-term success. Gently rinse the tooth in water but do not scrub the root or you may damage the delicate living cells on its surface. If possible, gently place the tooth back into its socket. If this is not possible, place the tooth in a glass of milk, not water, and contact the office immediately. If the knocked-out tooth is a baby tooth, do not try to put it back in your child's mouth. Dr. Dave will normally not attempt to re-implant the tooth, as this may cause trauma to the underlying permanent tooth.

Broken Tooth

If your child's tooth is fractured, rinse their mouth with warm water and place a cold compress on their face over the broken tooth to reduce swelling. Call our office immediately.

Abscessed Tooth/Swollen Gums

If the swelling is small and well defined or a bump on the gums is visible, call the office for antibiotics. Please inform us if your child has any new drug allergies.

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