Why fill baby teeth when they fall out anyway?

While it is true that baby teeth do eventually fall out, it also true that they are important to your child in the meantime. Children need their baby teeth to speak clearly, eat comfortably, and smile with self-confidence. Also, baby teeth hold space for the permanent teeth to erupt properly. If a baby tooth is lost, the remaining teeth shift into the empty space. This often results in crowding issues in the future. In addition, a decayed baby tooth can become infected, discolor and damage adult teeth and cause severe pain for a child. Please keep in mind, some baby molars are not replaced until age 9-13, so they must last for years. Healthy baby teeth = healthy adult teeth!

What is nitrous oxide (AKA "laughing gas")?

If a child is worried by the sights, sounds or sensations of dental treatment, your child may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen. Nitrous oxide/oxygen, which you might know better as happy gas, can reduce mild anxiety and gagging in children and make long appointments easier. One of the safest sedatives in dentistry, nitrous oxide gas is non-addictive, non-allergenic and very well tolerated. The child breathes the gas through a mask placed on his or her nose and remains fully conscious and responsive throughout treatment. Recovery after treatment is rapid and complete.

How are sealants effective?

Dental sealants are thin, clear protective coatings that are applied to children’s most cavity-prone, hard-to-reach teeth (usually the molars) in order to help to seal out bacteria. We recommend sealants as a safe, simple and effective way to help your child avoid cavities. Sealants have been shown to reduce tooth decay by up to 60 percent.

What is Xylitol?

“The decay-preventive sweetener” is a natural sweetener that helps prevents cavities. It can be found in berries, fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, and birch bark. Xylitol inhibits the growth of the bacteria thus reducing the number of new cavities. Xylitol is often found in chewing gum and mints. Generally, xylitol must be listed as the first ingredient for the amount to be at decay-preventing levels. Xylitol has been approved as safe by a number of agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the World Health Organization’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives.

 What is sedation dentistry?

This technique uses medications for your child’s safety and comfort during dental treatment. Sedation can help increase cooperation and reduce severe anxiety and/or discomfort associated with dental procedures. In particular, it can prevent injury by helping a child stay still around the sharp or fast-moving instruments needed for treatment. For this technique, the pediatric dentist selects a medication and dose based upon your child’s overall health, level of anxiety and dental treatment recommendations. It is not intended to cause a loss of consciousness. In other words, the child is relaxed but not asleep and is able to respond to touch or voices. This approach may be recommended for apprehensive children, very young children and children with special health care needs who would not be able to receive necessary dental care in a safe and comfortable manner without it. Sedation is safe for children when it is administered by a pediatric dentist who follows the sedation guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Parents should feel free to discuss the different medications and sedation options with Dr. Helen, as well as the special monitoring equipment used for patient protection.