Kid's teeth need dental care, just like grown-up teeth. Regular exams by a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist can help to identify any abnormalities in your child's oral development, and can minimize the impact of decay on your child's health by catching cavities early. Coming in for professional cleanings are not just about helping your child have shiny clean teeth, they are also very important in educating your child on proper brushing and flossing techniques.
Read more about pediatric dentistry:
|Your child's first dental visit will consist of a thorough review of your child's dental and health information and a comprehensive dental examination along with a discussion on proper diet, nutrition and good oral hygiene habits.
Depending on the age and needs of your child, we will complete a professional dental cleaning, conduct re-mineralization therapy, and take any necessary x-rays. Dr. Heidi will take time to discuss any concerns you may have, and prepare you for what you can expect during your child's oral development. If decay is found, the information collected will allow Dr. Heidi to prepare a treatment plan and recommend the best options for your child's dental care.
Please help us make the first visit enjoyable and positive! We encourage parents and caregivers to use positive stories about visiting the dentist, songs, and descriptive words to describe your child's upcoming visit.
Try to avoid using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear. Words like "needle", "shot", "drill", or "hurt" may cause preventable anxiety and make the first dental visit more difficult for your child. At Bee Happy Children's Dentistry, we will work with you to make your child's first dental visit an adventure that sets a positive foundation for the rest of their life.
We encourage you to stay with your child during the initial examination, and during future visits you can let your child join us on their own, depending on age and comfort.
Baby Teeth Matter
|Some people negate the importance of baby teeth, thinking that they are going to be replaced eventually, so they are not important. Unfortunately, this is not true; baby teeth are very important and serve many functions in the mouth. Without proper care of your child's baby teeth, you could be setting them up for serious issues in the future.
In general, teeth help kids talk, chew, sing and smile. Think about how difficult it would be for children to perform these activities without healthy teeth. These basic functions make baby teeth important! Without good teeth, it would be impossible to chew food up into small pieces to aid digestion, it would be difficult to talk and hard to smile.
Set a Good Foundation
In addition to helping the basic functions of the mouth, baby teeth help guide permanent teeth as they come in. When a child loses a baby tooth much earlier than is normal due to circumstances outside of their control, such as when a tooth gets knocked out, it could become difficult for the permanent teeth to find their way. When a tooth is lost because the permanent tooth is coming through, it serves as a guide for the permanent tooth to grow in the right spot. Without that guide, adult teeth start to grow wherever there is any empty spot. This could cause overcrowding and crooked teeth.
Kids should be encouraged to take good care of their baby teeth, no matter how small or unimportant they may seem at the time. Baby teeth serve a very important function and should be taken care of before they even erupt through a baby's gums.
Are Cavities Inevitable?
|Many people think so, but we are seeing more and more of our younger patients growing up without them.
Why is that? Well, there are a number of factors. Some may be beyond a parent's control, and others involve lifestyle choices and habits that can be changed through increased awareness and education.
If your child has already had a cavity, chances are that more will occur. That's because there are probably conditions that allow them to develop. But if you are vigilant, you might be able to avoid a cavity. For instance, a white spot along the gum line can be an indicator that a cavity is forming. We can often help avoid further decay in such cases — through a combined therapy such as fluoride, mouth rinses and changes in eating habits — if we see the patient soon enough.
Another sign is plaque. If you can scrape a fingernail along your child's front teeth and remove a sticky whitish substance (plaque), your child is at greater risk of forming cavities. We recommend brushing at least twice a day so plaque can't form. Toothpaste with fluoride helps preserve essential minerals found in teeth. Be careful, though, not to put too much toothpaste on the brush and be sure your child spits it all out.
An effective preventive habit is regular dental checkups. We can assess your child's risks and help anticipate oral issues. Some children have special health care needs that we can address with special equipment and/or techniques. Others routinely take medications that make them more prone to cavities.
Regular checkups for infants and toddlers allow us to talk about appropriate diet management. Talking directly with older children gives us the chance to find out about their dental behavior and offer suggestions and advice.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that has been proven to strengthen teeth and prevent the incidence of tooth decay. The American Dental Association recommends fluoride treatment for children as soon as teeth emerge. This simple preventive measure of applying a fluoride varnish to a child's first teeth can strengthen teeth at risk for decay and create a tooth surface that is more resistant to decay.
Applying a fluoride varnish protects a child's primary (first) teeth from decay. Fluoride is applied twice a year from ages one to six or seven when the child gets their permanent teeth. Fluoride varnish works by repairing gaps in the tooth enamel, protecting teeth from plaque forming bacteria that likes to colonize in small pits and gaps.
Fluoride is easily applied to teeth. It dries almost immediately upon contact with clean dry teeth and will not be removed by saliva. The procedure is quick, painless, and often included in dental insurance coverage, but you will want to check with your provider to be certain.
Once children have their permanent teeth, dental sealants may be applied for the protection of the back teeth or molars. Sealants are a thin plastic coating painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth (usually the back teeth) to prevent tooth decay. Most children get their first molars between the ages of five and seven and their second (permanent) molars around the ages of 11-14 which is an appropriate time to apply sealants.
Using fluoride varnishes on your child's primary teeth and sealants on the chewing surfaces of your child's permanent teeth are both effective ways to help prevent or slow down tooth decay.
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
|For children with a high level of anxiety, those that have quite a bit of treatment to complete, or for those with special needs, sedation dentistry can assist families in ensuring their children have the oral care they need in a comfortable environment free of emotional or psychological trauma. There are many times where children who begin treatment with sedation are able to eventually complete treatment with only the help of Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) because they have been able to build their confidence.
There are several types of sedation available: oral conscious sedation, IV conscious sedation, and general anesthesia. At Bee Happy Children's Dentistry, we offer Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas).
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective sedative agent that will help your child relax. It is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over their nose.
Nitrous oxide, sometimes called "laughing gas," is one option we offer to help make your child more comfortable during certain procedures. It is not intended to put your child to sleep. Your child will be able to hear and respond to any requests or directions we may have. Dr. Pahls will ask your child to breathe normally through their nose, and within a few short minutes they should start to feel the effects of the nitrous oxide. Your child may feel light-headed or a tingling in their arms and legs. Some people say their arms and legs feel heavy. Ultimately, your child should feel calm and comfortable. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off soon after the mask is removed. Talk to us about whether nitrous oxide would be a good option for your child at your next appointment.
For more information, visit www.mouthhealthy.org.
|Fillings are used to restore areas of your child's tooth affected by decay. Dr. Heidi uses composite (tooth-colored) materials to "fill in" the surface of the tooth after all decay has been removed.
Reasons for Fillings
||Restoring small to medium sized cavities
||Restoring a chipped anterior (front) tooth
What does a filling involve?
First, Dr. Heidi will answer any questions you or your child may have and will apply anesthetic to the tooth requiring the filling. Then, Dr. Heidi will thoroughly remove the decay that is present and prepare the tooth to successfully bond with the composite material.
What are tooth-colored (composite) fillings?
Composite fillings are tooth-colored to blend in with the remaining natural part of the tooth. The term composite refers to the actual filling material, which is a mixture of glass or quartz filler in a resin medium.
Composite fillings provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small-to-mid size restorations that need to withstand moderate chewing pressure. Less tooth structure is removed when the dentist prepares the tooth and this may result in a smaller filling than with an amalgam.
In addition, composites are "bonded" or attached with adhesive to the tooth often allowing a more conservative repair. Composite fillings require that the tooth be kept clean and dry during the entire filling process, and they are subject to stain and discoloration over time. The life expectancy of a white filling can depend greatly on where it is in your child's mouth and how heavily their teeth come together when they bite.
If your child's tooth is sensitive for a week or more it is important to call our office so we can examine the tooth and determine if additional treatment is needed.
No Cavity Club
|We are excited to announce the Bee Happy Children’s Dentistry “Cavity-Free Club”! All patients who are cavity-free at their initial exam or recare check-up will be given a ticket to enter for a chance to win our monthly drawing.
Our winner will be drawn on the last day of each month and have their photo posted on our office events board, Facebook page and website. Our prizes will vary and may consist of toys, stuffed animals, gift cards for popular local stores, movie tickets or gift cards to local restaurants.
Here's another fun way to encourage our kids to stay cavity free!