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Welcome, Dr. Lauren Heisinger to the Where Smiles Grow Family. Click here to read more!

Specializing in dentistry for infants, children & adolescents.

Pediatric Dentistry: Common Procedures and What to Expect

As a parent, ensuring your child’s dental health is vital for their overall well-being, and understanding common dental procedures and what to expect can help alleviate anxieties and ensure a smooth experience. Our Where Smiles Grow team has compiled a list of the most common procedures from tooth fillings to dental check-ups, exploring them in detail, so you can feel empowered to navigate your child’s dental care journey with confidence and knowledge.

Tooth Fillings

Tooth decay, often caused by bacteria and plaque buildup, can lead to cavities. When cavities develop, it’s essential to address them promptly. Depending on the patient’s age, stage of dental development, size of the cavity, and even which tooth it is we may recommend a Dental or Tooth Filling. During this procedure, we begin by numbing the area using a local anesthetic to ensure your child’s comfort. Next, we will carefully remove the decayed portion of the tooth using a dental drill. Once the decay is removed, your dentist will clean the cavity and fill it with a tooth-colored composite material. This material is then carefully sculpted and shaped to match the natural contours of the tooth, providing both aesthetic appeal and functionality. Tooth fillings restore the tooth’s structure and prevent further decay, allowing your child to chew comfortably and maintain proper oral health.

Pulpotomies

When tooth decay reaches the pulp of baby teeth, which contains nerves and blood vessels, it can cause pain and infection. In such cases, a pulpotomy may be recommended to remove the affected portion of the pulp while preserving the remaining healthy tissue. Your dentist will access the pulp chamber, remove the affected or inflamed tissue, and apply a medicated filling to promote healing. Unlike an adult root canal or pulpectomy, which involves removing the entire pulp, a pulpotomy is a partial removal, typically performed on baby teeth with deep cavities. By preserving the healthy portion of the pulp, a pulpotomy can help maintain the integrity of the tooth until it naturally falls out, avoiding premature tooth loss and potential complications.

Dental Crowns

Extensively decayed, damaged teeth, or teeth that may have not developed with healthy enamel may require dental crowns to restore their shape, strength and function. Dental crowns are custom-made caps that cover the entire visible portion of the tooth above the gumline. During the procedure, we will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping it to accommodate the crown. We then go through a selection of pre-formed crowns and find the size that either best fits or that we can adjust to make fit that tooth. Once we have the crown size selected, we fill it cement, place it on the tooth and remove any excess cement so we can protect the tooth structure and keep it working until it is supposed to fall out. Dental crowns restore the functionality of the tooth, allowing your child to bite and chew properly while preserving their oral health.  You can expect that the crown will fall out at the same time as the baby tooth falls out.

Tooth Extractions

In cases where a tooth is severely decayed, has an infection, damaged, or causing crowding issues an extraction may be necessary. While tooth extractions may sound daunting, rest assured that our team is experienced will do our best to make your child as comfortable as possible throughout the process. Before the extraction, we will numb the area using a local anesthetic to minimize any discomfort. We will then apply pressure in different directions to gently loosen and remove the tooth from its socket using specialized instruments. After the extraction, your child may experience some soreness and discomfort, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication and ice packs. Our team will provide detailed aftercare instructions to promote proper healing and prevent any complications.

Laser Soft Tissue Surgery

Laser technology has revolutionized soft tissue surgery in pediatric dentistry, offering precise and minimally invasive solutions for various oral conditions. Laser surgery is often preferred for its efficiency, reduced discomfort, and faster healing times compared to traditional methods. Common soft tissue procedures performed with lasers include frenectomies, gum contouring, treatment of oral ulcers or canker sores and many more. During laser surgery, a specialized dental laser is used to precisely target and remove/treat the affected tissue while minimizing damage to surrounding areas. Laser surgery is gentle and comfortable for children, allowing for quicker recovery and minimal post-operative discomfort.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are thin, protective coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of molars and sometimes premolars to prevent decay. These surfaces have deep grooves and fissures where bacteria and food particles can easily accumulate, making them more susceptible to cavities. Sealants act as a barrier, sealing off these grooves and preventing bacteria from penetrating the enamel. The application process is quick and painless, involving cleaning the tooth surface, applying the sealant material, and curing it with a special light. Dental sealants are highly effective in reducing the risk of cavities and can last for several years with proper oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups.

Radiography/X-rays

Radiography, commonly known as X-rays, is an invaluable tool in pediatric dentistry for diagnosing dental issues that may not be visible to the naked eye. X-rays allow dentists to detect cavities between teeth, monitor the development of permanent teeth, and assess the alignment of the jaw. At our office, we utilize modern radiography technology, which emits significantly less radiation than traditional X-rays while providing high-quality images for accurate diagnosis. Digital X-rays are quick, comfortable, and safe for children, allowing us to gather essential information about your child’s oral health and tailor their treatment accordingly.

Dental Check-ups and Treatments

Regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining your child’s oral health and preventing dental issues. During these appointments, our team will conduct thorough examinations, cleanings, and screenings to detect any signs of decay, gum disease, or other oral problems. We may also perform preventive treatments such as fluoride application to strengthen your child’s teeth and dental sealants to protect them from cavities. These treatments are quick, painless, and highly effective in preserving your child’s oral health and preventing the need for more extensive dental work in the future.

Connect with Our Where Smiles Grow Team Today!

By understanding these common pediatric dental procedures and what to expect during each, you can feel confident in providing your child with the best possible dental care. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s dental health or upcoming dental procedures, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We’re here to ensure your child enjoys a lifetime of healthy smiles! Visit our website to learn more or schedule an appointment at one of our three convenient locations.

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