A child's first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable! We take time to get to know and connect to your child and ensure we build a relationship with each family so that you look forward to coming back to see us. Thorough and conservative, our office makes a special effort to use pleasant, non-frightening and simple words to describe each treatment. It's important to us that you and your child feel at ease from the moment your family arrives at our office! We look forward to being your family's dental home!
Why healthy primary (baby) teeth matter:
Neglect of primary teeth frequently leads to problems with permanent teeth. Starting children off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come!
Before you turn two, we want to see you!
Did you know that children should visit the dentist by their first birthday? Early Childhood Caries (cavities) is the number one chronic infectious disease affecting children in the United States but it also is the most preventable! By age 5, about 60% of children will be affected by Early Childhood Caries.
But what if they only have two teeth? It’s more than just looking at the teeth. These appointments include a comprehensive lap exam (evaluating the tongue, gums, tonsils, teeth eruption patterns, muscle attachments), toothbrush cleaning, x-rays (if needed), oral hygiene instruction, nutritional counseling, teething tips, managing pacifier/thumb sucking habits, fluoride recommendations, and of course just getting your child used to seeing us.
Cleanings – Hygiene visits are as important for kids as they are for adults. This helps prevent gum or tooth problems while also fostering excellent oral hygiene habits through proper instruction and evaluation.
Fluoride – In-office fluoride is vital to the prevention of cavities, especially in northeast Louisiana where the natural supply is generally deficient or absent.
Silver Diamine Fluoride - Silver Diamine Fluoride is an FDA-approved antibiotic liquid clinically applied to help control active dental caries and prevent further progression of the disease. While the ideal way to treat teeth with decay is by removing the decay and placing a restoration, this alternative treatment allows us to arrest the decay with noninvasive methods, particularly with young children that have baby teeth. Treatment with Silver Diamine Fluoride will not eliminate the need for restorative dentistry to repair function or aesthetics, but has been effective at prevention of further decay. The biggest concern about SDF is esthetics. The treatment turns the area affected by cavities black and can also cause mild temporary staining to skin or gums.
Sealants – These are excellent tools in the fight against cavities. A sealant covers and protects cavity prone areas on permanent teeth to help a child make it through adolescence without getting cavities.
Tooth-Colored Fillings – We recommend composite resin fillings for most children. Composite fillings are tooth-colored and do not detract from their smile. Your child shouldn’t experience any discomfort when having a tooth filled. If they have any anxiety about having the tooth filled, we may recommend sedation to help them relax during the treatment.
Silver Amalgam Fillings – Some patients prefer the time-tested and safe alternative because it is easy and less expensive.
Nitrous Oxide - Commonly known as “laughing gas,” Nitrous Oxide is used very commonly in pediatric dentistry to help the patient relax while receiving dental care. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is given through a small breathing mask which is placed over the child’s nose, allowing them to relax, but without putting them to sleep. It is easily taken by normal breathing and is eliminated easily when we exhale. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation as a safe and effective technique to reduce anxiety, produce analgesia, and enhance effective communication between a patient and health care provider. Nitrous oxide is a colorless and virtually odorless gas with a faint, sweet smell. It is very safe, it is non-addictive and has no effect on respiratory system. While on the gas the child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes.
Pulpotomy – This is the removal of the nerve and pulp tissue on an infected baby tooth. It is vital to save baby teeth for them to serve their full function in the development of the permanent teeth and oral cavity. An infection in a primary tooth can cause pain and developmental problems of the permanent teeth if left untreated. When cavities get too large for fillings, it is very important to remove the pulp tissue.
Stainless Steel crowns – following pulpotomies, we crown the baby tooth with a stainless steel crown to retain its position and space in the dental arch.
Extractions and Space Maintainers – when baby teeth are too decayed to save, we often have no choice but to extract the tooth to prevent further infection/pain. To prevent teeth from shifting and creating space loss due to the premature loss of a baby tooth, we often make Space Maintainers. A Space Maintainer is a wire device that, once cemented into place, will help keep the space open to allow the permanent tooth to erupt properly and come into its proper place.
Frenectomies - Everyone has a small band of tissue, called a frenum, that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth and the lips to the gums. If the frenum is too tight, short, or thick, it can inhibit normal mouth function and development. These restrictions are known as lip and tongue ties. A frenectomy is the procedure done to remove this excess tissue and allow full oral function. It is usually performed under local anesthetic with uneventful healing.
Dental Trauma - The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has created a highly-visual, easy-to-follow guide that can be printed and posted to refrigerators/bulletin boards so family members, teachers and babysitters know what to do should a tooth be chipped or knocked out!
Remember that once your child starts to participate in recreational activities and organized sports, injuries can occur. A properly fitted athletic mouth guard is an important piece of athletic gear that can help protect your child. It should be used during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth. A properly fitted mouth guard helps prevent broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw.
Oral Care at Home:
Proper dental care at home is necessary for children to grow up with healthy teeth, gums and a beautiful smile. Prevention is Key! Though most parents primarily think of brushing and flossing when they hear the words “oral care,” good preventative care includes many more factors, such as the following:
If you have questions or concerns about how to care for your child’s teeth, please don't hesitate to ask us! Teach good habits early and avoid fear of the dentist!