When an area of tooth decay is found on your child’s tooth, Dr. Klein takes several steps to restore your child’s health. First, the decay is gently removed from the tooth. The resulting cavity must be filled in order to prevent decay from reforming in the area and to restore the tooth’s strength. With advancements in dentistry, tooth-colored fillings are placed into the cleaned out portion of the tooth.
If your child’s tooth has extensive damage due to decay or injury, a crown may be used to restore his or her smile and tooth function. Dr. Klein uses stainless steel crowns for back teeth (as they are very strong and durable) and natural-looking, tooth-colored crowns for front teeth. After some tooth preparation, Dr. Klein places a perfectly sized and shaped crown into place, preserving your child’s health and allowing your child to chew and speak naturally, without pain or discomfort. After receiving a crown, it is important that your child not eat sticky foods, as these can dislodge the crown. It is also imperative to keep teeth brushed in order to have happy, healthy gums.
Every effort is made to keep all your child’s teeth, as this is always the best and preferred solution. However, in some cases, it may be recommended to remove the tooth. Sometimes, removing a tooth allows Dr. Klein to influence the development or alignment of future, permanent teeth. In other cases, injury to a tooth makes extraction a possible treatment option. In either case, your child’s comfort is assured as Dr. Klein combines a gentle touch with advanced tools and techniques. Most of the time, the extraction can be performed in our office. After an extraction your child may need a space maintainer, especially if a back tooth is lost early.
“Baby” Root Canals for primary/baby teeth
Damage to the nerve tissue inside your child’s tooth from injury or deep, extensive decay sometimes requires a root canal procedure — also called pulp therapy. The purpose of pulp therapy is to maintain the tooth so it is not lost. Despite the tales you may have heard regarding the procedure, most root canals are minimally uncomfortable, especially compared to the pain and discomfort your child may be feeling before the procedure. Dr. Klein removes the affected portion of the nerve tissue within the top portion of the tooth and uses a medicine to treat the remaining tissue. Lastly, a stainless steel crown (or a tooth-colored crown on a front tooth) is placed as a final restoration.
Pediatric Partial/Tooth Replacement
When your child is missing one or more teeth, the gap that is left behind can cause serious problems. Existing teeth will likely begin to tilt, growing toward the gap, and as your child compensates for the gap by chewing differently, many of his or her teeth may begin to shift and move. Furthermore, damage may occur to the supportive structures of your child’s mouth.
A pediatric partial fills the gap in your child’s smile, keeping his or her other teeth in place and restoring function. The partial is designed to fit comfortably and to blend-in with your child’s natural teeth. Most pediatric partials are made from a synthetic material that is supported with a lightweight metal, making them both durable and easy to clean. The pediatric partial stays in your child’s mouth until the permanent tooth comes into the mouth.
For some patients, very serious anxiety, severe dental decay, or disabilities make hospital dentistry a better course of action. In the hospital, an anesthesiologist delivers the sleep medicine while Dr. Klein performs the necessary dental treatment. If you believe hospital dentistry is right for your child, please ask Dr. Klein and her team for more details.
Sedation Dentistry/Oral Sedation
Many adults are anxious about visiting the dentist due to unpleasant memories about their own dental experiences as a child. Unfortunately, we often unknowingly pass on our anxiety to our children. Rest assured that today’s advanced pediatric dentistry is very gentle and comfortable for your little one.
Some children experience more anxiety than normal. For these children, safe, sedation dentistry is an option. Dr. Klein will provide an oral sedative prior to your child’s dental treatment. This sedative will allow your child to respond to the dental team while feeling very comfortable and relaxed, and your child may even doze off during treatment. Your child’s vital signs and oxygen levels are completely monitored during this type of treatment.
Pre-Orthodontic Consultation and Care
When is the best time for orthodontic treatment? Developing malocclusions (the way the teeth and jaw fits together) can be recognized at an early age (preschool). It is important to address and to take the extra steps to reduce or prevent the need for major orthodontic treatment later. In children with only baby teeth, Dr. Klein will evaluate developing dental arches, harmful habits, and the premature loss of baby teeth. In children with both baby and permanent teeth, Dr. Klein will evaluate and pay close attention to the alignment of the teeth and jaw. This time period is when most children start treatment if needed. And, in children with all permanent teeth, Dr. Klein will evaluate firm placement of teeth and jaws.
Nitrous oxide, or “happy air,” is one of the safest and most predictable sedative agents available in dentistry, and has been used safely for decades. The odorless gas is administered with a mixture of oxygen, and helps your child relax within a few minutes. Because it is a mild sedative, your child will be awake and can still communicate with us during treatment. After treatment, the nitrous oxide is turned off and oxygen is administered for five to 10 minutes to help flush any remaining gas from the body, and the effects wear off almost immediately. Nitrous oxide rarely has side effects, although some patients may experience minor nausea or dizziness, which can quickly be reversed with oxygen if necessary. It is best not to eat heavily immediately before breathing nitrous oxide as this can sometimes lead to a greater chance of nausea during or after treatment. Afterwards, it is also a good idea to limit any activities that require full coordination. However, most patients leave with a spring in their step, and a great smile!