Dental Procedures

Whether your dental needs are a complete dental exam & cleaning, a full-mouth cosmetic restoration, or anything in between, at Neesh Dental we promise to provide you with the personal care you deserve. If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us today online or call (306) 665-8414.

At Neesh Dental we look forward to providing you with exceptional care as we enhance the natural beauty of your smile.

Below are just some of the many Neesh Dental procedures and services regularly provide to our Saskatoon Dentistry patients – with a gentle touch, and stunning results. Your smile is our first priority, and we’ll give you something to smile about.

Cleanings & Prevention

A preventive program is a cooperative effort by the patient, Saskatoon dentist, and Neesh dental staff to preserve the natural dentition and supporting structures by preventing the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions. Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. It is continued in the Neesh dental office by the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health. Prevention also includes regular Neesh dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Sealants and fluoride are also great preventive treatments that help protect the teeth. Prevention helps avoid serious and costly dental problems and is the key to having a healthy, confident, beautiful smile.

Dental X-Rays

Dental radiographs (x-rays) are essential, preventative, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during a regular dental exam.  Dentists and dental hygienists use this information to safely and accurately detect hidden dental abnormalities and complete an accurate treatment plan.  Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.

Dental x-rays may reveal
  • Abscesses or cysts.
  • Bone loss.
  • Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors.
  • Decay between the teeth.
  • Developmental abnormalities.
  • Poor tooth and root positions.
  • Problems inside a tooth or below the gum line.

* Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!

Are dental x-rays safe?

We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. The amount of radiation exposure from a full mouth series of x-rays is equal to the amount a person receives in a single day from natural sources.

Dental x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered safe. Dentists take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation when taking dental x-rays. These precautions include using lead apron shields to protect the body and using modern, fast film that cuts down the exposure time of each x-ray.

How often should dental x-rays be taken?

The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs.  Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based on the review of your medical and dental history, dental exam, signs and symptoms, age consideration, and risk for disease.

A full mouth series of dental x-rays is recommended for new patients.  Bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) are taken at recall (check-up) visits and are recommended once or twice a year to detect new dental problems. A full mouth series (Panorex x-ray) is usually good for three to five years.

Home Care

A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients.  Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal.  Your personal home care starts by eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.

Tooth brushing

Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.

Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristleson the gums.

  • Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
  • Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.

Flossing

Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline.  Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

  1. Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
  2. Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
  3. Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline.  Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.

Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.

Rinsing

It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush.  If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.

Use other dental aids as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist: Interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, medicated rinses, etc., can all play a role in good dental home care.

How to Properly Brush & Floss

Brushing and flossing are of paramount importance to oral hygiene.  Though bi-annual professional dental cleanings remove plaque, tartar and debris, excellent homecare methods are equally valuable.  Proper brushing and flossing can enhance the health of the mouth, make the smile sparkle and prevent serious diseases.

Reasons why proper brushing and flossing are essential

Prevention of tooth decay – Tooth decay is one of the leading causes of tooth loss, and its treatment often requires complex dental procedures.  Tooth decay occurs when the acids found in plaque erode the natural enamel found on the teeth.  This phenomenon can easily be prevented by using proper home hygiene methods.

Prevention of periodontal disease – Periodontal disease is a serious, progressive condition which can cause tooth loss, gum recession and jawbone recession.  Periodontal disease is caused by the toxins found in plaque, and can lead to serious health problems in other parts of the body.  Removing plaque and calculus (tartar) from the surface of the tooth using a toothbrush, and from the interdental areas using dental floss, is an excellent way to stave off periodontal problems.

Prevention of halitosis – Bad breath or halitosis is usually caused by old food particles on or between the teeth.  These food particles can be removed with regular brushing and flossing; leaving the mouth healthier, and breath smelling fresher.

Prevention of staining – Staining or the yellowing of teeth can be caused by a wide variety of factors such as smoking, coffee and tea.  The more regularly these staining agents are removed from the teeth using brushing and flossing techniques, the less likely it is that the stains will become permanent.

The Proper Way to Brush

The teeth should be brushed at least twice a day; ideally in the morning and before bed.  The perfect toothbrush is small in size with soft, rounded-end bristles and no more than three months old.  The head of the brush needs to be small enough to access all areas of the mouth, and the bristles should be soft enough so as not to cause undue damage to the gum tissue.  The American Dental Association (ADA) has given electric toothbrushes their seal of approval; stating that those with rotating or oscillating heads are more effective than other toothbrushes.

Here is a basic guide to proper brushing:

  1. Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where the gums and teeth meet.
  2. Use small circular motions to gently brush the gumline and teeth.
  3. Do not scrub or apply too much pressure to the teeth, as this can damage the gums and tooth enamel.
  4. Brush every surface of every tooth, cheek-side, tongue-side, and chewing surfaces. Place special emphasis on the surfaces of the back teeth.
  5. Use back and forth strokes to brush the chewing surfaces.
  6. Brush the tongue to remove fungi, food and debris.
The Proper Way to Floss

Flossing is a great way to remove plaque from the interdental regions (between the teeth). Flossing is an especially important tool for preventing periodontal disease and limiting the depth of the gum pockets. The interdental regions are difficult to reach with a toothbrush and should be cleansed with dental floss on a daily basis. The flavor and type of floss are unimportant; choose floss that will be easy and pleasant to use.

Here is a basic guide to proper flossing:

  1. Cut a piece of floss to around 18 inches long.
  2. Wrap one end of the floss around the middle finger of the left hand and the other end around the middle finger of the right hand until the hands are 2-3 inches apart.
  3. Work the floss gently between the teeth toward the gum line.
  4. Curve the floss in a U-shape around each individual tooth and carefully slide it beneath the gum line.
  5. Carefully move the floss up and down several times to remove interdental plaque and debris.
  6. Do not pop the floss in and out between the teeth as this will inflame and cut the gums.

If you have any questions about the correct way to brush or floss, please ask your dentist or dental hygienist.

Oral Hygiene Aids

Regular dental check ups are essential for maintaining excellent oral hygiene and diagnosing potential problems, but they are not a “fix-all” solution. Thorough oral homecare routines should be practiced on a daily basis to avoid future dental problems.

Periodontal disease (also called gum disease and periodontitis) is the leading cause of tooth loss in the developed world, and is completely preventable in the vast majority of cases. Professional cleanings twice a year combined with daily self-cleaning can remove a high percentage of disease-causing bacteria and plaque. In addition, teeth that are well cared for make for a sparkling white smile.

There are numerous types of oral hygiene aids on the supermarket shelves, and it can be difficult to determine which will provide the best benefit to your teeth.

Here are some of the most common oral hygiene aids for homecare:

Dental Flosses

Dental floss is the most common interdental and subgingival (below the gum) cleaner and comes in a variety of types and flavors. The floss itself is made from either thin nylon filaments or polyethylene ribbons, and can help remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth. Vigorous flossing with a floss holder can cause soft tissue damage and bleeding, so great care should be taken. Floss should normally be used twice daily after brushing.

Interdental Cleaners

Many hygienist & periodontists recommend interdental brushes in addition to dental floss. These tiny brushes are gentle on the gums and very effective in cleaning the contours of teeth in between the gums. Interdental brushes come in various shapes and sizes.

Mouth Rinses

There are two basic types of mouth rinse available: Cosmetic rinses which are sold over the counter and temporarily suppress bad breath, and therapeutic rinses which may or may not require a prescription. Most dentists are skeptical about the benefits of cosmetic rinses because several studies have shown that their effectiveness against plaque is minimal. Therapeutic rinses however, are regulated by the FDA and contain active ingredients that can help reduce bad breath, plaque, and cavities. Mouth rinses should generally be used after brushing.

Oral Irrigators

Oral irrigators, like Water Jets and Waterpiks have been created to clean debris from below the gum line. Water is continuously sprayed from tiny jets into the gum pockets which can help remove harmful bacteria and food particles. Overall, oral irrigators have proven effective in lowering the risk of gum disease and should not be used instead of brushing and flossing. Professional cleanings are recommended at least twice annually to remove deeper debris.

Rubber Tip Stimulators

The rubber tip stimulator is an excellent tool for removing plaque from around the gum line and also for stimulating blood flow to the gums. The rubber tip stimulator should be traced gently along the outer and inner gum line at least once each day. Any plaque on the tip can be rinsed off with tap water. It is important to replace the tip as soon as it starts to appear worn, and to store the stimulator in a cool, dry place.

Tongue Cleaners

Tongue cleaners are special devices which have been designed to remove the buildup of bacteria, fungi and food debris from the tongue surface. The fungi and bacteria that colonize on the tongue have been related to halitosis (bad breath) and a great many systemic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease and stroke. Tongue cleaners can be made from metal, wood or plastic and shaped in accordance with the contours of the tongue. Tongue cleaning should be done prior to brushing to prevent the ingestion of fungi and bacteria.

Toothbrushes

There are a great many toothbrush types available. Electric toothbrushes are generally recommended by dentists because electric brushes are much more effective than manual brushes. The vibrating or rotary motion helps to easily dislodge plaque and remove food particles from around the gums and teeth. The same results can be obtained using a manual brush, but much more effort is needed to do so.

Manual toothbrushes should be replaced every three months because worn bristles become ineffective over time. Soft bristle toothbrushes are far less damaging to gum tissue than the medium and hard bristle varieties. In addition, an appropriate sized ADA approved toothbrush should be chosen to allow proper cleaning to all the teeth. Teeth should ideally be brushed after each meal, or minimally twice each day.

Cosmetic Dentistry

In the past decade there has been a dramatic interest in cosmetic dentistry. We all realize that having a healthy, bright, beautiful smile enhances our appearance and allows us to smile with confidence. Thanks to the advances in modern cosmetic dentistry, we are able to improve our teeth and smiles with quick, painless and surprisingly affordable treatments.

Cosmetic dental treatments can:

  • Change the size, shape, and alignment of certain teeth.
  • Fill in unattractive spaces between teeth.
  • Improve or correct bites.
  • Lighten or brighten the color of teeth.
  • Repair decayed, broken, cracked, or chipped teeth.
  • Replace missing teeth.
  • Replace old, unattractive dental treatments.
  • Remember, your smile speaks before you even say a word!

Zoom!®

A pearly-white smile is beautiful to look at and can greatly improve self-confidence. Many people are opting for the Zoom!® Chairside Whitening System (Zoom!®) for fast, safe and effective teeth whitening. Zoom!® combines the newest advances in dental technology with proven chemical formulas. This ensures that the results are satisfying.

There are many reasons why teeth become stained or discolored, including tobacco use, and drinking dark liquids such as red wine, coffee, tea and cola. However, the natural aging process and prescription medication use can also cause yellowing and graying.

There are literally hundreds of whitening treatments available in the marketplace, including take-home strips, bleaching toothpastes and take-home whitening gels.

Zoom!® has many advantages over these other treatments, including:

  • All teeth treated simultaneously.
  • Faster treatment times.
  • Longer lasting results.
  • Reduced sensitivity.
  • Removal of stains on crowns, veneers and other restorations.
  • Safe procedure and treatment.
  • Treatments are performed by an experienced professional.

It is important to seek advice from the dentist prior to beginning a bleaching regime. Women who are pregnant or lactating should not seek bleaching treatment.

How does Zoom!® whiten the teeth?

Zoom!® is a bleaching process that lightens the dentin and enamel of the teeth. Zoom!® contains a hydrogen peroxide component (25%), which is the active ingredient in the gel. When hydrogen peroxide is applied to the teeth, the peroxide component breaks down into tiny oxygen bubbles. It is these bubbles that eliminate yellowing and staining.

A mercury metal halide light is used to activate the gel and expedite the whitening process. This specialized light contains a unique infrared filter that works to reduce the amount of heat (and therefore sensitivity) on the surface of the teeth during the procedure. The internal structure of the teeth remains completely healthy and intact during and after the treatment.

As with any whitening system, the post-treatment results can vary according to the degree of staining and the condition of the teeth. A consultation with the dentist prior to treatment will provide information as to what kind of results Zoom!® can provide in specific instances. Zoom!® is only applied to healthy teeth and gums. If tooth decay or gum disease is an issue, these need to be controlled before the bleaching treatment is performed.

How is the Zoom!® treatment performed?

Prior to treatment, there will be a consultation where the dentist will outline the exact procedure. On treatment day, a deep cleaning (prophylaxis) will be performed to rid the teeth of any debris and plaque. Then, special eyewear will be provided to protect the eyes from the halide light, and splashguards to protect the clothing from the bleaching agent.

Here is a brief overview of the Zoom!® procedure:

  • Cheek retractors will be placed to expose the entire surface of the teeth.
  • The gums will be painted or covered to reduce sensitivity.
  • The dentist will apply the whitening gel to the teeth.
  • The halide light will then be applied to activate the gel. This specialized Zoom!® light can be positioned to work on all the teeth simultaneously.
  • After 15 minutes, gel will be removed from the teeth and the mouth will be rinsed.
  • More gel will be applied for another 15 minutes.
  • Again, the gel will be removed and the mouth will be thoroughly cleansed.
  • The final treatment of gel will be applied for 15 minutes.
  • The gel will be removed for the final time.
What happens after treatment?

The same external factors that caused the discoloration in the first place can quickly work their way back onto the teeth. For this reason, the dentist recommends flossing once a day, thorough cleaning with anti-sensitivity toothpaste twice a day, and occasional retreatment with Zoom!® Weekender. These post-treatment measures will ensure that the smile stays at its whitest for a long time.

If you have questions about the Zoom!® Chairside System, please ask your dentist.

LUMINEERS®

LUMINEERS® are an excellent option for people who are unhappy with the cosmetic appearance of their teeth. These ultra-thin porcelain slips fit perfectly over the teeth making them look cosmetically perfect, white and completely beautiful. An off-white or crooked smile can cause serious confidence problems. LUMINEERS® are a fantastic alternative for patients wanting a beautiful smile without surgery, harsh chemicals or painful treatments.

For LUMINEERS® to be applied, the underlying teeth, bone and gums must be healthy. Patients with gum disease or tooth decay must be treated prior to LUMINEERS® placement. Unlike dental veneers, LUMINEERS® can be left in place for over 20 years or removed upon request to expose the intact original teeth. LUMINEERS® can be fitted in just two appointments, and instantly add pizzazz to the smile.

Here are some of the problems that LUMINEERS® can solve:

  • Large gaps between the teeth.
    Misaligned teeth.
    Misshapen teeth.
    Stained teeth.
    Uneven gums and teeth.
    Unnatural looking bridges and crowns.
How can LUMINEERS® benefit me?

LUMINEERS® provide a wide range of advantages over similar treatments. The most meaningful advantage to anxious patients is that no painful alterations of the teeth are required prior to the LUMINEERS® application. The covers themselves are so thin and unobtrusive that speech and eating are seldom affected.

Here are some of the other advantages of LUMINEERS®:

  • Last over 20 years.
  • No harsh drilling of inner tooth mechanisms.
  • No injections.
  • No pain or discomfort.
  • Only two dental visits required.
  • Option to place multiple LUMINEERS® at one time.
  • Perfect, pearly-white teeth.
  • Thickness of a contact lens.
  • Totally reversible treatment.
Are LUMINEERS® strong enough?

LUMINEERS® are constructed from Cerinate® porcelain, which is known for its exceptional strength. Even though LUMINEERS® are thinner than dental veneers, they are less likely to break or chip. Additionally, Cerinate® porcelain can be color-modified and balanced. This means that different levels of opaqueness and translucency can be utilized.

How are LUMINEERS® applied to the teeth?

One of the main reasons LUMINEERS® are so easy to fit is that little etching has to be done beforehand. With veneers, many teeth might have to be permanently altered or drilled to ensure the best fit. However, LUMINEERS® offer a beautiful end product without any drilling, anesthesia or extensive etching. This factor alone can reduce the time in the dental chair by almost half, when compared to traditional veneers.

During the initial visit, bite impressions and X-rays are taken to determine the exact way the teeth fit together. The dentist also thoroughly examines the teeth to ensure that no tooth decay and no signs of gum disease are present. Together, the dentist and patient choose the color of the LUMINEERS® and the desired level of transparency. The bite impressions are sent to the laboratory to be custom-crafted.

The LUMINEERS® are bonded to the teeth at the second appointment. If bonding substance has oozed out from beneath the LUMINEERS®, this is carefully removed using a beveled featheredge margin. Once the LUMINEERS® are in place, the dentist polishes them until they are completely smooth. The advantage of this smoothness is that bacteria and staining agents cannot easily adhere to the surface of the LUMINEERS®.

The LUMINEERS® are finally separated. Up until this point, they are still attached where the bite impressions suggest teeth would naturally join. The treatment is finished, leaving a beautiful white smile, and perfect, healthy teeth.

If you have questions or concerns about LUMINEERS®, please ask your dentist.

*LUMINEERS® and Cerinate® are registered trademarks of Den-Mat Holdings LLC.

Composite Fillings

A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.

There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth.

As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.

Reasons for composite fillings
  • Chipped teeth.
  • Closing space between two teeth.
  • Cracked or broken teeth.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Worn teeth.
How are composite fillings placed?

Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.

You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.

What happens after treatment?

The same external factors that caused the discoloration in the first place can quickly work their way back onto the teeth. For this reason, the dentist recommends flossing once a day, thorough cleaning with anti-sensitivity toothpaste twice a day, and occasional retreatment with Zoom!® Weekender. These post-treatment measures will ensure that the smile stays at its whitest for a long time.

If you have questions about the Zoom!® Chairside System, please ask your dentist.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.

Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dentist or Periodontist – a specialist of the gums and supporting bone. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient’s smile!

Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable and will last many years, but on occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear.

Reasons for dental implants
  • Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
  • Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into missing tooth space.
  • Restore a patient’s confident smile.
  • Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
  • Restore or enhance facial tissues.
  • Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable.
What does getting dental implants involve?

The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.

X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself onto the bone for up to six months. Depending on the type of implant, a second surgery may be required in order to place the “post” that will hold the artificial tooth in place. With other implants the post and anchor are already attached and placed at the same time.

After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.

You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.

Porcelain Crowns (Caps)

A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.

Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain (tooth colored crown) are the most popular, because they resemble your natural teeth. They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile.

Reasons for crowns
  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.
  • Tooth has a root canal.
What does getting a crown involve?

A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate molds (or impressions) that will be used to create your custom crown. A mold will also be used to create a temporary crown which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.

At your second appointment your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.

You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown.

Porcelain Fixed Bridges

A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.

There are several types of bridges. You and your dentist will discuss the best options for your particular case. The “traditional bridge” is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. Porcelain fixed bridges are most popular because they resemble your natural teeth. This type of bridge consists to two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.

Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, however they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear.

Reasons for a fixed bridge
  • Fill space of missing teeth.
  • Maintain facial shape.
  • Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
  • Restore chewing and speaking ability.
  • Restore your smile.
  • Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance.
What does getting a fixed bridge involve?

Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.

At the second visit, you permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally your dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge, allowing your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge. The new bridge will be permanently cemented at a later time.

You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new permanent bridge.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.

Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using a home teeth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.

Teeth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up may be needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.

Reasons for teeth whitening
  • Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development).
  • Normal wear of outer tooth layer.
  • Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.).
  • Yellow, brown stained teeth.
What does teeth whitening involve?

This type of teeth whitening usually requires two visits. At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom, clear plastic, trays.

At your second appointment, the kit with the trays will be given to you. The trays are worn with special whitening solution once a day for 1 to 2 hours for 14 days depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.

You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, and be encouraged to visit your dentist regularly to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.

Restorations

It’s great news that the incidence of tooth decay has significantly diminished over the years due to the use of fluorides and an increase in patient awareness. However, teeth are still susceptible to decay, infection, and breakage and sometimes need to be restored back to health. Through improved techniques and modern technology, we are now able to offer more options for restoring a tooth back to its normal shape, appearance and function.

Should your teeth ever require a restorative treatment, you can rest assured knowing we will always discuss with you the available options, and recommend what we believe to be the most comfortable and least invasive treatment. Providing you with excellent care is our number one priority when creating your beautiful smile.

Reasons for restorative dentistry:

  • Enhance your smile.
  • Fill in unattractive spaces between teeth.
  • Improve or correct an improper bite.
  • Prevent the loss of a tooth.
  • Relieve dental pain.
  • Repair damaged and decayed teeth.
  • Replace missing teeth.
  • Replace old, unattractive dental treatments.
  • Restore normal eating and chewing.

Remember to give your teeth the attention they need today!

Dentures & Partial Dentures

A denture is a removable dental appliance replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They are made to closely resemble your natural teeth and may even enhance your smile.

There are two types of dentures – complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain. A Partial denture not only fills in the spaces created by missing teeth, it prevents other teeth from shifting.

A Complete denture may be either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional type is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed, usually taking 4 to 6 weeks. During this time the patient will go without teeth. Immediate dentures are made in advance and immediately placed after the teeth are removed, thus preventing the patient from having to be without teeth during the healing process. Once the tissues shrink and heal, adjustments will have to be made.

Dentures are very durable appliances and will last many years, but may have to be remade, repaired, or readjusted due to normal wear.

Reasons for dentures
  • Complete Denture – Loss of all teeth in an arch.
  • Partial Denture – Loss of several teeth in an arch.
  • Enhancing smile and facial tissues.
  • Improving chewing, speech, and digestion.
What does getting dentures involve?

The process of getting dentures requires several appointments, usually over several weeks. Highly accurate impressions (molds) and measurements are taken and used to create your custom denture. Several “try-in” appointments may be necessary to ensure proper shape, color, and fit. At the final appointment, your dentist will precisely adjust and place the completed denture, ensuring a natural and comfortable fit.

It is normal to experience increased saliva flow, some soreness, and possible speech and chewing difficulty, however this will subside as your muscles and tissues get used to the new dentures.

You will be given care instructions for your new dentures. Proper cleaning of your new dental appliance, good oral hygiene, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new dentures.

Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.

Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.

Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.

Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy
  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold.
  • Severe toothache pain.
  • Sometimes no symptoms are present.
  • Swelling and/or tenderness.
Reasons for root canal therapy
  • Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
  • Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
  • Injury or trauma to the tooth.
What does root canal therapy involve?

A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).

While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.

Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.

At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.

After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.

You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.

Dental Implants

Improved Quality of Life

Implant-supported replacement teeth look, feel and function like natural teeth.

For patients, dental implants provide comfort, convenience and confidence. For dentists, dental implants provide patient satisfaction.

Besides featuring ‘The Original’ dental implant system, the Brånemark® System, which has provided us and our customers with outstanding knowledge and understanding, Nobel Biocare’s implant solution offering also includes the brands NobelPerfect™, NobelDirect™ and Replace® Select to cater to all levels of experience and all indications.

We are the market leader and we are driving the development of new dental implant standards and protocols.

Full Arch Replacement

All Teeth Missing

Benefits of a fixed bridge on implants
When all teeth are missing or in such condition that they need to be replaced, a fixed bridge anchored to dental implants is the best permanent solution

Before dental implants, there were no fixed solution available for people who lost all their teeth. Today, it is possible to replace a full jaw with dental implants and a fixed bridge that results in a permanent, stable and high esthetic solution.

Lets you eat and function like having natural teeth
A solid, stable solution that will serve you for life
Preserves your facial appearance and prevents bone loss
Treatment:
The treatment procedure and number of visits is largely dependent on the specific conditions. But all in all, 8-10 visits should be enough to have a fixed bridge installed. Most patients report that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they had anticipated.

Course Of Treatment

Installing The Fixed Bridge– Step-By-Step

The course of treatment described here is one of several options available. Consult your dentist to find out what the best solution is for you, given your specific condition.

1: Before the procedure
The dentist determines what needs to be done and prepares both himself and the patient for the coming treatment procedure.

2: Installing the implants
The first step is installing dental implants to replace the lost tooth roots. In this case, five implants are used. Temporary teeth are attached that enable you to eat and function like normal while waiting for the permanent bridge to be installed.

3: Attaching the bridge
The final bridge is securely installed on top of the implants. With a full jaw replacement like this, it normally takes 2-3 visits to have the bridge completely attached.

4: End result
Your new teeth should be hard to tell from natural – both for you and others. People who have had traditional dentures before getting a fixed bridge often describe this as an overwhelming and very positive experience.

Alternatives To A Fixed Bridge

An alternative to a fixed bridge is a removable overdenture, which is anchored on implants. The old fashioned denture has many disadvantages and should be avoided if possible.

Removable, implant anchored overdenture
A removable full denture that is connected to either a ball or bar attachment, which in turn is anchored on two or more implants in the front part of the jaw.

The implants help keep the denture in place and provide better function and comfort. Cost is usually the reason why this solution is chosen over a fixed bridge – although the end result can’t be compared.

Removable full denture
A denture that is loosely placed on top of the gum to cover the lost teeth. This alternative has no real advantages – except for its low price and easy installation.

The disadvantages are many: discomfort in eating, poor esthetics, affected speech, and sore gums from denture movement. Moreover, a full denture placed in the upper jaw severely reduces the sense of taste.

Multiple Teeth Replacement

Several Teeth Missing

Benefits with fixed bridge on implants:
In this case, when replacing three teeth in the far back of the mouth, a fixed bridge anchored to dental implants is the only fixed alternative. Traditional dentures can’t offer the same stability or function.

Having dental implants replacing your lost back teeth will give you new, unparalleled strength and stability that allows you to eat what you want. It will also preserve your jawbone and facial appearance.

  • The only fixed alternative in this situation.
  • A stable, secure solution that lets you eat what you want
  • Preserves your facial appearance and prevents bone loss

Treatment:
After the initial examination, you can expect 4-5 additional visits until the final fixed bridge is permanently attached. It is normal to experience some minor bruising and swelling in the gum and soft tissue afterwards. Any discomfort is usually treated with an ordinary painkiller. You should expect to be able to work the next day.

Course Of Treatment

Installing The Fixed Bridge– Step-By-Step

The course of treatment described here is one of several options available. Consult your dentist to find out what the best solution is for you, given your specific condition.

1: Before the procedure
Three teeth at back end of the mouth are missing. The only real replacement alternative is installing a fixed bridge. The bridge contains all teeth in one piece and is anchored on dental implants.

2: Installing the implant
First, the implants are installed. This is normally done in a single session. A temporary bridge may be placed at the same time, making it possible for you to function like normal almost immediately after leaving the dentist.

3: Attaching the bridge
The implants need to integrate with the jawbone before the permanent bridge is attached. This is normally done 1-2 months after the implant installation. The time will vary, depending on the teeth affected and the esthetical demands.

4: End result
The new bridge will handle all the pressure that your strong, natural back teeth did. You will have a stable and secure solution that allows you to eat what you want.

Alternatives To Fixed Bridge

Removable partial denture
This alternative is often perceived as uncomfortable and a bit complicated to use. Function can’t be compared to that of a bridge. This denture is made of plastic and metal, which affects its look. It is quite expensive to fabricate due to its many parts. However, the installation process is simple, and natural teeth are spared.

Single Tooth Replacement

Single Tooth Missing

Benefits of an all-ceramic crown on implant:
When both the tooth and root are damaged, the best permanent replacement is a dental implant in conjunction with a ceramic crown. This solution both looks and functions just like a natural tooth.

In this case, a so-called one-piece implant is used. This means that all components are installed as a single unit, resulting in immediately full functioning teeth, shorter treatment time and minimized pain.

  • Immediately functioning teeth
  • Excellent esthetic result
  • Life long, stable solution

Treatment:
This procedure normally includes four visits to the dentist. You should expect to be able to work the day after having the implant installed.

Course Of Treatment

Installing The New Tooth – Step-By-Step

The course of treatment described here is one of several options available. Consult your dentist to find out what the best solution is for you, given your specific condition.

1: Before the procedure
The dentist makes a first examination and takes one or more x-rays of the area to prepare for the procedure.

2: Installing the implant
The implant is installed. At this time, a temporary tooth is provided that allows you eat and function like normal almost immediately.  The implant will need a few months to integrate with the jawbone before the next step is taken.

3: Attaching the new crown
The final step is the placement of the permanent ceramic tooth. The new tooth is installed for life. No additional treatment is needed.

4: End result
You should expect the new tooth to fit and function just like a natural tooth. Do your usual dental hygiene to keep the tooth and gum around it clean and healthy.

Alternatives To An All-Ceramic Crown On Implant

Tooth-supported fixed bridge
A traditional bridge involves grinding down adjacent teeth to support the bridge. It is a stable solution with good esthetics and function that is fairly easy to install. However, this alternative has two main disadvantages: continuous bone resorbtion in the edentulous area, and sacrificing healthy teeth on behalf of the bridge.

Removable partial denture
This is not a permanent alternative to a lost tooth. It is unstable and loosely attached, which affects both function and comfort. A removable partial denture is made of plastic – a material that can’t create the same esthetic result as a ceramic crown. The benefits are few but do exist: adjacent teeth aren’t affected. It is easily and quickly installed and relatively inexpensive.

Resin-bonded bridge
This alternative has some clear advantages: it is quickly installed, functions well and, since it is made of ceramic, it gives a high esthetic result. Moreover, natural healthy teeth aren’t affected. But it is not very permanent. The resin-bonded bridge will eventually come off – probably after just a couple of years – and will then have to be reinstalled.

Orthodontics

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry specializing in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of jaw, face and bite irregularities (malocclusions*). Orthodontic treatment is provided by an oral health care provider known as an Orthodontist, who has typically completed two to three years of additional training beyond dental school.

Recent years have brought about many changes within the dental industry, specifically with regards to orthodontic treatment and care. Now more than ever patients are experiencing fewer incidences of cavities and missing teeth due to the heightened awareness of fluoride use and preventative dentistry. This increasing awareness on the health and look of a patient’s smile has fueled the desire for many to seek out orthodontia not only as a medical necessity, but for cosmetic reasons as well.

Whether it’s traditional braces or custom made removable appliances, orthodontics can help you have the healthy, straight, beautiful smile you’ve been waiting for!

*Malocclusion is the technical term for teeth that don’t fit together correctly. Malocclusions not only affect the teeth, but also the appearance of the face. Most malocclusions are inherited; however some are due to acquired habits such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. The spacing left from an adult tooth being extracted or an early loss of a baby tooth can also contribute to a malocclusion.

Give us a call today & schedule your orthodontic consultation!
(306) 665 – 8414

Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric dentistry (formerly Pedodontics/Paedodontics) primarily focuses on children from birth through adolescence. The American Dental Association (ADA), recognizes pediatric dentistry as a specialty, and therefore requires dentists to undertake two or three years of additional training after completing a general dentistry degree. At the end of this training, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry issues a unique diploma (Diplomate ABPD). Some pediatric dentists (pedodontists) opt to specialize in oral care for children with special needs; specifically children with autism, varying levels of mental retardation, or cerebral palsy.

What Does a Pediatric Dentist Do?

One of the most important components of pediatric dentistry is child psychology. Pediatric dentists are trained to create a friendly, fun, social atmosphere for visiting children, and always avoid threatening words like “drill,” “needle,” and “injection.” Dental phobias beginning in childhood often continue into adulthood, so it is of paramount importance that children have positive experiences and find their “dental home” as early as possible.

Pediatric dentists fulfill many important functions pertaining to the child’s overall oral health and hygiene.  They place particular emphasis on the proper maintenance and care of deciduous (baby) teeth, which are instrumental in facilitating good chewing habits, proper speech production, and also hold space for permanent teeth.

Other important functions include:

Education – Pediatric dentists educate the child using models, computer technology, and child-friendly terminology; thus emphasizing the importance of keeping teeth strong and healthy.  In addition, they advise parents on disease prevention, trauma prevention, good eating habits, and other aspects of the home hygiene routine.

Monitoring growth – By continuously tracking growth and development, pediatric dentists are able to anticipate dental issues and quickly intervene before they worsen.  Also, working towards earlier corrective treatment preserves the child’s self-esteem and fosters a more positive self-image.

Prevention – Helping parents and children establish sound eating and oral care habits reduces the chances of later tooth decay.  In addition to providing check ups and dental cleanings, pediatric dentists are also able to apply dental sealants and topical fluoride to young teeth, advise parents on thumb-sucking/pacifier/smoking cessation, and provide good demonstrations of brushing and flossing.

Intervention – In some cases, pediatric dentists may discuss the possibility of early oral treatments with parents.  In the case of oral injury, malocclusion (bad bite), or bruxism (grinding), space maintainers may be fitted, a nighttime mouth guard may be recommended, or reconstructive surgery may be scheduled.

If you have questions or concerns about pediatric dentistry, please contact our office.

Care for Your Child’s Teeth

Pediatric oral care has two main components: preventative care at the pediatric dentist’s office and preventative care at home. Though infant and toddler caries (cavities) and tooth decay have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, a good dental strategy will eradicate the risk of both.

The goal of preventative oral care is to evaluate and preserve the health of the child’s teeth. Beginning at the age of twelve months, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children begin to visit the pediatric dentist for “well baby” checkups. In general, most children should continue to visit the dentist every six months, unless instructed otherwise.

How can a pediatric dentist care for my child’s teeth?

The pediatric dentist examines the teeth for signs of early decay, monitors orthodontic concerns, tracks jaw and tooth development, and provides a good resource for parents. In addition, the pediatric dentist has several tools at hand to further reduce the child’s risk for dental problems, such as topical fluoride and dental sealants.

During a routine visit to the dentist, the child’s mouth will be fully examined, the teeth will be professionally cleaned, topical fluoride may be coated onto the teeth to protect tooth enamel, and any parental concerns can be addressed. The pediatric dentist can demonstrate good brushing and flossing techniques, advise parents on dietary issues, provide strategies for thumb sucking and pacifier cessation, and communicate with the child on his or her level.

When molars emerge (usually between the ages of two and three), the pediatric dentist may coat them with dental sealant. This sealant covers the hard-to-reach fissures on the molars, sealing out bacteria, food particles and acid. Dental sealant may last for many months or many years, depending on the oral habits of the child. Dental sealant provides an important tool in the fight against tooth decay.

How can I help at home?

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:

Diet – Parents should provide children with a nourishing, well-balanced diet. Very sugary diets should be modified and continuous snacking should be discouraged. Oral bacteria ingest leftover sugar particles in the child’s mouth after each helping of food – emitting harmful acids that erode tooth enamel, gum tissue, and bone if left unchecked. Space out snacks where possible, and provide the child with non-sugary alternatives like celery sticks, carrot sticks, and low-fat yogurt.

Oral habits – Though pacifier use and thumb sucking generally cease over time, both can cause the teeth to misalign. If the child must use a pacifier, choose an “orthodontically” correct model. This will minimize the risk of developmental problems like narrow roof arches and crowding. The pediatric dentist can suggest a strategy (or provide a dental appliance) for thumb sucking cessation.

General oral hygiene – Sometimes, parents cleanse pacifiers and teething toys by sucking them. Parents may also share eating utensils with the child. Harmful oral bacteria are transmitted from parent-to-child in these ways, increasing the risk of early cavities and tooth decay. Instead, rinse toys and pacifiers with warm water and avoid spoon-sharing wherever possible.

Sippy cup use – Sippy cups are an excellent transitional aid for the baby bottle-to-adult drinking glass period. However, sippy cups filled with milk, breast milk, soda, juice, and sweetened water cause small amounts of sugary fluid to continually swill around young teeth – meaning continuous acid attacks on tooth enamel. Sippy cup use should be terminated between the ages of twelve and fourteen months – or whenever the child has the motor capabilities to hold a drinking glass.

Brushing – Children’s teeth should be brushed a minimum of two times per day using a soft bristled brush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Parents should help with the brushing process until the child reaches the age of seven and is capable of reaching all areas of the mouth. Parents should always opt for ADA approved toothpaste (non-fluoridated before the age of two, and fluoridated thereafter). For babies, parents should rub the gum area with a clean cloth after each feeding.

Flossing – Cavities and tooth decay form more easily between teeth. Therefore, the child is at risk for between-teeth cavities wherever two teeth grow adjacent to each other. The pediatric dentist can help demonstrate correct head positioning during the flossing process, and suggest tips for making flossing more fun!

Fluoride – Fluoride helps prevent mineral loss and simultaneously promotes the remineralization of tooth enamel. Too much fluoride can result in fluorosis, a condition where white specks appear on the permanent teeth, and too little can result in tooth decay. It is important to get the fluoride balance correct. The pediatric dentist can evaluate how much the child is currently receiving and prescribe supplements if necessary.

If you have questions or concerns about how to care for your child’s teeth, please ask your pediatric dentist.

Eruption of Your Child’s Teeth

The eruption of primary teeth (also known as deciduous or baby teeth) follows a similar developmental timeline for most children.  A full set of primary teeth begins to grow beneath the gums during the fourth month of pregnancy. For this reason, a nourishing prenatal diet is of paramount importance to the infant’s teeth, gums, and bones.

Generally, the first primary tooth breaks through the gums between the ages of six months and one year.  By the age of three years old most children have a “full” set of twenty primary teeth.  The American Dental Association (ADA) encourages parents to make a “well-baby” appointment with a pediatric dentist approximately six months after the first tooth emerges.  Pediatric dentists communicate with parents and children about prevention strategies, emphasizing the importance of a sound, “no tears” daily home care plan.

Although primary teeth are deciduous, they facilitate speech production, proper jaw development, good chewing habits – and the proper spacing and alignment of adult teeth.  Caring properly for primary teeth helps defend against painful tooth decay, premature tooth loss, malnutrition, and childhood periodontal disease.

In what order do primary teeth emerge?

As a general rule-of-thumb, the first teeth to emerge are the central incisors (very front teeth) on the lower and upper jaws (6-12 months). These (and any other primary teeth) can be cleaned gently with a soft, clean cloth to reduce the risk of bacterial infection. The central incisors are the first teeth to be lost, usually between 6 and 7 years of age.

Next, the lateral incisors (immediately adjacent to the central incisors) emerge on the upper and lower jaws (9-16 months). These teeth are lost next, usually between 7 and 8 years of age. First molars, the large flat teeth towards the rear of the mouth then emerge on the upper and lower jaws (13-19 months). The eruption of molars can be painful. Clean fingers, cool gauzes, and teething rings are all useful in soothing discomfort and soreness. First molars are generally lost between 9 and 11 years of age.

Canine (cuspid) teeth then tend to emerge on the upper and lower jaws (16-23 months). Canine teeth can be found next to the lateral incisors, and are lost during preadolescence (10-12 years old). Finally, second molars complete the primary set on the lower and upper jaw (23-33 months). Second molars can be found at the very back of the mouth, and are lost between the ages of 10 and 12 years old.

What else is known about primary teeth?

Though each child is unique, baby girls generally have a head start on baby boys when it comes to primary tooth eruption. Lower teeth usually erupt before opposing upper teeth in both sexes.

Teeth usually erupt in pairs – meaning that there may be months with no new activity and months where two or more teeth emerge at once. Due to smaller jaw size, primary teeth are smaller than permanent teeth, and appear to have a whiter tone. Finally, an interesting mixture of primary and permanent teeth is the norm for most school-age children.

If you have questions or concerns about primary teeth, please contact your pediatric dentist.

First Visit

According to AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) guidelines, infants should initially visit the pediatric dentist around the time of their first birthday. First visits can be stressful for parents, especially for parents who have dental phobias themselves.

It is imperative for parents to continually communicate positive messages about dental visits (especially the first one), and to help the child feel as happy as possible about visiting the dentist.

How can I prepare for my child’s first dental visit?

Pediatric dentists are required to undergo extensive training in child psychology. Their dental offices are generally colorful, child-friendly, and boast a selection of games, toys, and educational tools. Pediatric dentists (and all dental staff) aim to make the child feel as welcome as possible during all visits.

There are several things parents can do to make the first visit enjoyable. Some helpful tips are listed below:

Take another adult along for the visit – Sometimes infants become fussy when having their mouths examined. Having another adult along to soothe the infant allows the parent to ask questions and to attend to any advice the dentist may have.

Leave other children at home – Other children can distract the parent and cause the infant to fuss. Leaving other children at home (when possible) makes the first visit less stressful for all concerned.

Avoid threatening language – Pediatric dentists and staff are trained to avoid the use of threatening language, like drills, needles, injections, and bleeding. It is imperative for parents to use positive language when speaking about dental treatment with their child.

Provide positive explanations – It is important to explain the purposes of the dental visit in a positive way. Explaining that the dentist “helps to keep teeth healthy” is far better than explaining that the dentist “is checking for tooth decay, and may have to drill the tooth if decay is found.”

Explain what will happen – Anxiety can be vastly reduced if the child knows what to expect. Age-appropriate books about visiting the dentist can be very helpful in making the visit seem fun. Here is a list of parent and dentist-approved books:

  • The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist – by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
  • Show Me Your Smile: A Visit to the Dentist – Part of the “Dora the Explorer” Series.
  • Going to the Dentist – by Anne Civardi.
  • Elmo Visits the Dentist – Part of the “Sesame Street” Series.

What will happen during the first visit?

There are several goals for the first dental visit. First, the pediatric dentist and the child need to get properly acquainted. Second, the dentist needs to monitor tooth and jaw development to get an idea of the child’s overall health history. Third, the dentist needs to evaluate the health of the existing teeth and gums. Finally, the dentist aims to answer questions and advise parents on how to implement a good oral care regimen.

The following sequence of events is typical of an initial “well baby checkup”:

  1. Dental staff will greet the child and parents.
  2. The infant/family health history will be reviewed (this may include questionnaires).
  3. The pediatric dentist will address parental questions and concerns.
  4. More questions will be asked, generally pertaining to the child’s oral habits, pacifier use, general development, tooth alignment, tooth development, and diet.
  5. The dentist will provide advice on good oral care, how to prevent oral injury, fluoride intake, and sippy cup use.
  6. The infant’s teeth will be examined. Generally, the dentist and parent sit facing each other. The infant is positioned so that his or her head is cradled in the dentist’s lap. This position allows the infant to look at the parent during the examination.
  7. Good brushing and flossing demonstrations will be provided.
  8. The state of the child’s oral health will be described in detail, and specific recommendations will be made. Recommendations usually relate to oral habits, appropriate toothpastes and toothbrushes for the child, orthodontically correct pacifiers, and diet.
  9. The dentist will detail which teeth may appear in the following months.
  10. The dentist will outline an appointment schedule and describe what will happen during the next appointment.

if you have questions or concerns about your child’s first dental visit, please contact the pediatric dentist.

Flouride

Fluorine, a natural element in the fluoride compound, has proven to be effective in minimizing childhood cavities and tooth decay. Fluoride is a key ingredient in many popular brands of toothpaste, oral gel, and mouthwash, and can also be found in most community water supplies. Though fluoride is an important part of any good oral care routine, overconsumption can result in a condition known as fluorosis. The pediatric dentist is able to monitor fluoride levels, and check that children are receiving the appropriate amount.

How can fluoride prevent tooth decay?

Fluoride fulfills two important dental functions. First, it helps to staunch mineral loss from tooth enamel, and second, it promotes the remineralization of tooth enamel.

When carbohydrates (sugars) are consumed, oral bacteria feed on them and produce harmful acids. These acids attack tooth enamel – especially in children who take medications or produce less saliva. Repeated acid attacks result in cavities, tooth decay, and childhood periodontal disease. Fluoride protects tooth enamel from acid attacks and reduces the risk of childhood tooth decay.

Fluoride is especially effective when used as part of a good oral hygiene regimen. Reducing the consumption of sugary foods, brushing and flossing regularly, and visiting the pediatric dentist biannually, all supplement the work of fluoride and keep young teeth healthy.

How much fluoride is enough?

Since community water supplies and toothpastes usually contain fluoride, it is essential that children do not ingest too much. For this reason, children under the age of two should use an ADA-approved, non-fluoridated brand of toothpaste. Children between the ages of two and five years old should use a pea-sized amount of ADA-approved fluoridated toothpaste on a clean toothbrush twice each day. They should be encouraged to spit out any extra fluid after brushing. This part might take time, encouragement, and practice.

The amount of fluoride children ingest between the ages of one and four years old determines whether or not fluorosis occurs later. The most common symptom of fluorosis is white specks on the permanent teeth. Children over the age of eight years old are not considered to be at-risk for fluorosis, but should still use an ADA-approved brand of toothpaste.

Does my child need fluoride supplements?

The pediatric dentist is the best person to decide whether a child needs fluoride supplements. First, the dentist will ask questions in order to determine how much fluoride the child is currently receiving, gain a general health history, and evaluate the sugar content in the child’s diet. If a child is not receiving enough fluoride and is determined to be at high-risk for tooth decay, an at-home fluoride supplement may be recommended.

Topical fluoride can also be applied to the tooth enamel quickly and painlessly during a regular office visit. There are many convenient forms of topical fluoride, including foam, liquids, varnishes, and gels. Depending on the age of the child and their willingness to cooperate, topical fluoride can either be held on the teeth for several minutes in specialized trays or painted on with a brush.

If you have questions or concerns about fluoride or fluorosis, please contact your pediatric dentist.

Good Diet

A child’s general level of health often dictates his or her oral health, and vice versa. Therefore, supplying children with a well-balanced diet is more likely to lead to healthier teeth and gums. A good diet provides the child with the many different nutrients he or she needs to grow. These nutrients are necessary for gum tissue development, strong bones, and to protect the child against certain illnesses.

According to the food pyramid, children need vegetables, fruits, meat, grains, beans, and dairy products to grow properly. These different food groups should be eaten in balance for optimal results.

How does my child’s diet affect his or her teeth?

Almost every snack contains at least one type of sugar. Most often, parents are tempted to throw away candy and chocolate snacks – without realizing that many fruit snacks contain one (if not several) types of sugar or carbohydrate. When sugar-rich snacks are eaten, the sugar content attracts oral bacteria. The bacteria feast on food remnants left on or around the teeth. Eventually, feasting bacteria produce enamel-attacking acids.

When tooth enamel is constantly exposed to acid, it begins to erode – the result is childhood tooth decay. If tooth decay is left untreated for prolonged periods, acids begin to attack the soft tissue (gums) and even the underlying jawbone. Eventually, the teeth become prematurely loose or fall out, causing problems for emerging adult teeth – a condition known as childhood periodontal disease.

Regular checkups and cleanings at the pediatric dentist’s office are an important line of defense against tooth decay. However, implementing good dietary habits and minimizing sugary food and drink intake as part of the “home care routine” are equally important.

How can I alter my child’s diet?

The pediatric dentist is able to offer advice and dietary counseling for children and parents. Most often, parents are advised to opt for healthier snacks, for example, carrot sticks, reduced fat yoghurt, and cottage cheese. In addition, pediatric dentists may recommend a fluoride supplement to protect tooth enamel – especially if the child lives in an area where fluoride is not routinely added to community water.

Parents should also ensure that children are not continuously snacking – even in a healthy manner. Lots of snacking means that sugars are constantly attaching themselves to teeth, and tooth enamel is constantly under attack. It is also impractical to try to clean the teeth after every snack, if “every snack” means every ten minutes!

Finally, parents are advised to opt for faster snacks. Mints and hard candies remain in the mouth for a long period of time – meaning that sugar is coating the teeth for longer. If candy is necessary, opt for a sugar-free variety, or a variety that can be eaten expediently.

Should my child eat starch-rich foods?

It is important for the child to eat a balanced diet, so some carbohydrates and starches are necessary. Starch-rich foods generally include pretzels, chips, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Since starches and carbohydrates break down to form sugar, it is best that they are eaten as part of a meal (when saliva production is higher), than as a standalone snack. Provide plenty of water at mealtimes (rather than soda) to help the child rinse sugary food particles off the teeth.

As a final dietary note, avoid feeding your child sticky foods if possible. It is incredibly difficult to remove stickiness from the teeth – especially in younger children who tend not to be as patient during brushing.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s general or oral health, please contact your pediatric dentist.

How Often Should Children Have Dental Checkups?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) advises parents to make biannual dental appointments for children, beginning approximately six months after the first tooth emerges.

These two important yearly visits allow the pediatric dentist to monitor new developments in the child’s mouth, evaluate changes in the condition of teeth and gums, and continue to advise parents on good oral care strategies.

The pediatric dentist may schedule additional visits for children who are particularly susceptible to tooth decay or who show early signs of orthodontic problems.

What is the purpose of dental checkups?

First, the pediatric dentist aims to provide a “good dental home” for the child. If a dental emergency does arise, parents can take the child for treatment at a familiar, comfortable location.

Second, the pediatric dentist keeps meticulous records of the child’s ongoing dental health and jaw development. In general, painful dental conditions do not arise overnight. If the pediatric dentist understands the child’s dental health history, it becomes easier to anticipate future issues and intervene before they arise.

Third, the pediatric dentist is able to educate parents and children during the visit. Sometimes the pediatric dentist wants to introduce one or several factors to enhance tooth health – for example, sealants, fluoride supplements, or xylitol. Other times, the pediatric dentist asks parents to change the child’s dietary or oral behavior – for example, reducing sugar in the child’s diet, removing an intraoral piercing, or even transitioning the child from sippy cups to adult-sized drinking glasses.

Finally, dental X-rays are often the only way to identify tiny cavities in primary (baby) teeth. Though the child may not be feeling any pain, left unchecked, these tiny cavities can rapidly turn into large cavities, tooth decay, and eventually, childhood periodontal disease. Dental X-rays are only used when the pediatric dentist suspects cavities or orthodontic irregularities.

Are checkups necessary if my child has healthy teeth?

The condition of a child’s teeth can change fairly rapidly. Even if the child’s teeth were evaluated as healthy just six months prior, changes in diet or oral habits (for example, thumb sucking) can quickly render them vulnerable to decay or misalignment.

In addition to visual examinations, the pediatric dentist provides thorough dental cleanings during each visit. These cleanings eradicate the plaque and debris that can build up between teeth and in other hard to reach places. Though a good homecare routine is especially important, these professional cleanings provide an additional tool to keep smiles healthy.

The pediatric dentist is also able to monitor the child’s fluoride levels during routine visits. Oftentimes, a topical fluoride gel or varnish is applied to teeth after the cleaning. Topical fluoride remineralizes the teeth and staunches mineral loss, protecting tooth enamel from oral acid attacks. Some children are also given take-home fluoride supplements (especially those residing in areas where fluoride is not routinely added to the community water supply).

Finally, the pediatric dentist may apply dental sealants to the child’s back teeth (molars). This impenetrable liquid plastic substance is brushed onto the molars to seal out harmful debris, bacteria, and acid.

If you have questions or concerns about when to schedule your child’s dental checkups please contact your pediatric dentist.

How much fluoride is enough?

Since community water supplies and toothpastes usually contain fluoride, it is essential that children do not ingest too much. For this reason, children under the age of two should use an ADA-approved, non-fluoridated brand of toothpaste. Children between the ages of two and five years old should use a pea-sized amount of ADA-approved fluoridated toothpaste on a clean toothbrush twice each day. They should be encouraged to spit out any extra fluid after brushing. This part might take time, encouragement, and practice.

The amount of fluoride children ingest between the ages of one and four years old determines whether or not fluorosis occurs later. The most common symptom of fluorosis is white specks on the permanent teeth. Children over the age of eight years old are not considered to be at-risk for fluorosis, but should still use an ADA-approved brand of toothpaste.

How to Prevent Cavities

Childhood cavities, also known as childhood tooth decay and childhood caries, are common in children all over the world. There are two main causes of cavities: poor dental hygiene and sugary diets.

Cavities can be incredibly painful, often leading to tooth decay and childhood periodontitis if left untreated. Ensuring that children eat a balanced diet, embarking on a sound home oral care routine, and visiting the pediatric dentist biannually, are all crucial factors for both cavity prevention and excellent oral health.

What causes cavities?

Cavities form when children’s teeth are exposed to sugary foods on a regular basis. Sugars and carbohydrates (like the ones found in white bread) collect on and around the teeth after eating. A sticky film (plaque) then forms on the tooth enamel. The oral bacteria within the plaque continually ingest sugar particles and emit acid. Initially, the acid attacks the tooth enamel, weakening it and leaving it vulnerable to tooth decay. If conditions are allowed to worsen, the acid begins to penetrate the tooth enamel and erodes the inner workings of the tooth.

Although primary (baby) teeth are eventually lost, they fulfill several important functions and should be protected. It is essential that children brush and floss twice per day (ideally more), and visit the dentist for biannual cleanings. Sometimes the pediatric dentist coats teeth with a sealant and provides fluoride supplements to further bolster the mouth’s defenses.

How will I know if my child has a cavity?

Large cavities can be excruciatingly painful, whereas tiny cavities may not be felt at all. Making matters even trickier, cavities sometimes form between the teeth, making them invisible to the naked eye. Dental X-rays and the dentist’s trained eyes help pinpoint even the tiniest of cavities so they can be treated before they worsen.

  • Some of the major symptoms of cavities include:
  • Heightened sensitivity to cool or warm foods
  • Nighttime waking and crying
  • Pain
  • Sensitivity to spicy foods
  • Toothache

If a child is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to visit the pediatric dentist. Failure to do so will make the problem worse, leave the child in pain, and could possibly jeopardize a tooth that could have been treated.

How can I prevent cavities at home?

Biannual visits with the pediatric dentist are only part of the battle against cavities. Here are some helpful guidelines for cavity prevention:

  1. Analyze the diet – Too many sugary or starchy snacks can expedite cavity formation. Replace sugary snacks like candy with natural foods where possible, and similarly replace soda with water.
  2. Cut the snacks – Snacking too frequently can unnecessarily expose teeth to sugars. Save the sugar and starch for mealtimes, when the child is producing more saliva, and drinking water. Make sure they consume enough water to cleanse the teeth.
  3. Lose the sippy cup – Sippy cups are thought to cause “baby bottle tooth decay” when they are used beyond the intended age (approximately twelve months). The small amount of liquid emitted with each sip causes sugary liquid to continually swill around the teeth.
  4. Avoid stickiness – Sticky foods (like toffee) form plaque quickly, and are extremely difficult to pry off the teeth. Avoid them where possible.
  5. Rinse the pacifier – Oral bacteria can be transmitted from mother or father to baby. Rinse a dirty pacifier with running water as opposed to sucking on it, to avoid contaminating the baby’s mouth.
  6. Drinks at bedtime – Sending a child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup is bad news. The milk, formula, juice, or sweetened water basically sits on the teeth all night – attacking enamel and maximizing the risk of cavities. Ensure the child has a last drink before bedtime, and then brush the teeth.
  7. Don’t sweeten the pacifier – Parents sometimes dip pacifiers in honey to calm a cranky child. Do not be tempted to do this. Use a blanket, toy, or hug to calm the child instead.
  8. Brush and floss – Parents should brush and floss their child’s teeth twice each day until the child reaches the age of seven years old. Before this time, children struggle to brush every area of the mouth effectively.
  9. Check on fluoride –When used correctly, fluoride can strengthen tooth enamel and help stave off cavities. Too much or too little fluoride can actually harm the teeth, so ask the pediatric dentist for a fluoride assessment.
  10. Keep to appointments – The child’s first dental visit should be scheduled around his or her first birthday, as per the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) guidelines. Keep to a regular appointment schedule to create healthy smiles!

If you have questions or concerns about cavity prevention, please contact your pediatric dentist.

Pediatric Dental Appliances

Though many parents think of “teenagers” when presented with the term “dental appliances,” the use of such appliances in young children is very common. Some dental appliances may be recommended for preventative purposes, while others may be recommended for treatment purposes.

It can be extremely difficult to encourage young children to wear removable dental appliances regularly, but there is some good news. Pediatric dental appliances can prevent injury to the teeth and may also reduce (or even eliminate) the need for extensive treatment later.

What types of pediatric dental appliance are most common?

There are many types of pediatric dental appliances – each one fulfilling a different dental function. The major categories of pediatric dental appliance are described below:

Mouth Guards

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and American Dental Association (ADA) recommend that children wear mouth guards when engaging in any potentially injurious activity, including sporting and recreational endeavors.

The pediatric dentist can craft a customized mouth guard for the child, or a thermoplastic “boil-and-bite” mouth guard can be purchased at a sporting goods store. Similar mouth guards are used for children who “brux” or grind their teeth at night.

Space Maintainers

Sometimes, primary (baby) teeth are lost prematurely due to trauma or decay. Adjacent teeth tend to shift to fill the space, causing spacing and alignment problems for permanent (adult) teeth. Space maintainers or “spacers” are inserted as placeholders until the permanent teeth are ready to erupt. There are two main types of space maintainer:

Fixed space maintainers – Depending on the position of the missing tooth and the condition of the surrounding teeth, the pediatric dentist may adhere a “band and loop,” a “crown and loop,” or a “distal shoe” type of spacer to fill the empty gap. All spacers fulfill the same function; just the nature of the attachment to the adjacent teeth differs. Fixed spacers are usually made of metal and are highly durable. If a highly visible tooth is missing, an acrylic button may be added to reduce the esthetic impact.
Removable space maintainers – Removable spacers are rarely used with young children. Working a little like orthodontic retainers, special plastic parts fit into the empty slot to prevent the “drifting” of adjacent teeth.
Thumb Sucking Appliances

The majority of children naturally outgrow their thumb-sucking habit. However, children who continue to thumb suck after the age of five or six (especially vigorously) risk oral complications. These complications include: narrowed arches, impacted teeth, and misaligned teeth. The “palatal crib” appliance usually stops thumb sucking immediately.

The “crib” is crafted and affixed to the teeth by the pediatric dentist, almost like a barely visible set of dental braces. Preventing the thumb from reaching the roof of the mouth reduces gratification – and breaks the habit very quickly. Removable variations of the “crib” are also available, and can be used depending on the age of the child and his or her willingness to cooperate.

Expansion Appliances

An overbite, where the upper front teeth protrude over the lower front teeth, can be corrected with an expansion appliance, as can a crossbite. The expansion appliance is used to stretch and widen the arch, providing enough space for the teeth to be realigned in a straight manner. Expansion appliances are custom-made, and can be affixed to the inside or the outside of the teeth. Children born with a cleft palate may be required to wear an expansion appliance to prepare the jaw for oral surgery.

Bionator

If the pediatric dentist suspects that the child’s jaws are not growing in proportion to one another, a bionator device may be recommended. In general, the bionator positions the lower jaw forward, helping the teeth to erupt and align properly. This dental appliance is successful in reducing extensive orthodontic treatments later on, and helps to promote natural-looking alignment.

If you have questions or concerns about dental appliances, please contact your pediatric dentist.

Sealing Out Tooth Decay

Tooth decay has become increasingly prevalent in preschoolers. Not only is tooth decay unpleasant and painful, it can also lead to more serious problems like premature tooth loss and childhood periodontal disease.

Dental sealants are an important tool in preventing childhood caries (cavities) and tooth decay. Especially when used in combination with other preventative measures, like biannual checkups and an excellent daily home care routine, sealants can bolster the mouth’s natural defenses, and keep smiles healthy.

How do sealants protect children’s teeth?

In general, dental sealants are used to protect molars from oral bacteria and harmful oral acids. These larger, flatter teeth reside toward the back of the mouth and can be difficult to clean. Molars mark the site of four out of five instances of tooth decay. Decay-causing bacteria often inhabit the nooks and crannies (pits and fissures) found on the chewing surfaces of the molars. These areas are extremely difficult to access with a regular toothbrush.

If the pediatric dentist evaluates a child to be at high risk for tooth decay, he or she may choose to coat additional teeth (for example, bicuspid teeth). The sealant acts as a barrier, ensuring that food particles and oral bacteria cannot access vulnerable tooth enamel.

Dental sealants do not enhance the health of the teeth directly, and should not be used as a substitute for fluoride supplements (if the dentist has recommended them) or general oral care. In general however, sealants are less costly, less uncomfortable, and more aesthetically pleasing than dental fillings.

How are sealants applied?

Though there are many different types of dental sealant, most are comprised of liquid plastic. Initially, the pediatric dentist must thoroughly clean and prepare the molars, before painting sealant on the targeted teeth. Some sealants are bright pink when wet and clear when dry. This bright pink coloring enables the dentist to see that all pits and fissures have been thoroughly coated.

When every targeted tooth is coated to the dentist’s satisfaction, the sealant is either left to self-harden or exposed to blue spectrum natural light for several seconds (depending on the chemical composition of the specific brand). This specialized light works to harden the sealant and cure the plastic. The final result is a clear (or whitish) layer of thin, hard, durable sealant.

It should be noted that the “sealing” procedure is easily completed in one office visit, and is entirely painless.

When should sealants be applied?

Sealants are usually applied when the primary (baby) molars first emerge. Depending on the oral habits of the child, the sealants may last for the life of the primary tooth, or need replacing several times. Essentially, sealant durability depends on the oral habits of the individual child.

Pediatric dentists recommend that permanent molars be sealed as soon as they emerge. In some cases, sealant can be applied before the permanent molar is full grown.

The health of the sealant must be monitored at biannual appointments. If the seal begins to lift off, food particles may become trapped against the tooth enamel, actually causing tooth decay.

What’s the Best Toothpaste for my Child?

Evaluating the many brands of oral products claiming to be “best for children” can be an overwhelming task. Selecting an appropriately sized toothbrush and a nourishing, cleansing brand of children’s toothpaste is of paramount importance for maintaining excellent oral health.

Why brush primary teeth?

The importance of maintaining the health of primary (baby) teeth is often understated. Primary teeth are essential for speech production, chewing, jaw development, and they also facilitate the proper alignment and spacing of permanent adult teeth. Brushing primary teeth prevents bad breath and tooth decay, and also removes the plaque bacteria associated with childhood periodontal disease.

What differences are there among toothpaste brands?

Though all toothpastes are not created equal, most brands generally contain abrasive ingredients to remove stains, soapy ingredients to eliminate plaque, fluorides to strengthen tooth enamel, and some type of pleasant-tasting flavoring.

The major differences between brands are the thickness of the paste, the level of fluoride content, and the type of flavoring. Although fluoride strengthens enamel and repels plaque bacteria, too much of it can actually harm young teeth – a condition known as dental fluorosis. Children between the ages of one and four years old are most at risk for this condition, so fluoride levels should be carefully monitored during this time.

Be aware that adult and non-ADA approved brands of toothpaste often contain harsher abrasives, which remove tooth enamel and weaken primary teeth. In addition, some popular toothpaste brands contain sodium lauryl sulfate (shown as “SLS” on the package), which cause painful mouth ulcers in some children.

So which toothpaste brand should I choose?

The most important considerations to make before implementing an oral care plan and choosing a toothpaste brand is the age of the child. Home oral care should begin before the emergence of the first tooth. A cool clean cloth should be gently rubbed along the gums after feeding to remove food particles and bacteria.

Prior to the age of two, the child will have many teeth and brushing should begin. Initially, select fluoride-free “baby” toothpaste and softly brush the teeth twice per day. Flavoring is largely unimportant, so the child can play an integral role in choosing whatever type of toothpaste tastes most pleasant.

Between the middle and the end of the third year, select an American Dental Association (ADA) accepted brand of toothpaste containing fluoride. The ADA logo is clear and present on toothpaste packaging, so be sure to check for it. Use only a tiny pea or rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, and encourage the child to spit out the excess after brushing. Eliminating the toothpaste takes practice, patience, and motivation – especially if the child finds the flavoring tasty. If the child does ingest tiny amounts of toothpaste, don’t worry; this is perfectly normal and will cease with time and encouragement.

Dental fluorosis is not a risk factor for children over the age of eight, but an ADA accepted toothpaste is always the recommended choice for children of any age.

If you have questions or concerns about choosing an appropriate brand of toothpaste for your child, your pediatric dentist will be happy to make recommendations.

When Should Children Have Their First Dental Visit?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that parents should make an initial “well-baby” appointment with a pediatric dentist approximately six months after the emergence of the first tooth, or no later than the child’s first birthday.

Although this may seem surprisingly early, the incidence of infant and toddler tooth decay has been rising in recent years. Tooth decay and early cavities can be exceptionally painful if they are not attended to immediately, and can also set the scene for poor oral health in later childhood.

The pediatric dentist is a specialist in child psychology and child behavior, and should be viewed as an important source of information, help, and guidance. Oftentimes, the pediatric dentist can provide strategies for eliminating unwanted oral habits (for example, pacifier use and thumb sucking) and can also help parents in establishing a sound daily oral routine for the child.

What potential dental problems can babies experience?

A baby is at risk for tooth decay as soon as the first tooth emerges. During the first visit, the pediatric dentist will help parents implement a preventative strategy to protect the teeth from harm, and also demonstrate how infant teeth should be brushed and flossed.

In particular, infants who drink breast milk, juice, baby formula, soda, or sweetened water from a baby bottle or sippy cup are at high-risk for early childhood caries (cavities). To counteract this threat, the pediatric dentist discourages parents from filling cups with sugary fluids, dipping pacifiers in honey, and transmitting oral bacteria to the child via shared spoons and/or cleaning pacifiers in their own mouths.

Importantly, the pediatric dentist can also assess and balance the infant’s fluoride intake. Too much fluoride ingestion between the ages of one and four years old may lead to a condition known as fluorosis in later childhood. Conversely, too little fluoride may render young tooth enamel susceptible to tooth decay.

What happens during the first visit?

Pediatric dentists have fun-filled, stimulating dental offices. All dental personnel are fully trained to communicate with infants and young children.

During the initial visit, the pediatric dentist will advise parents to implement a good oral care routine, ask questions about the child’s oral habits, and examine the child’s emerging teeth. The pediatric dentist and parent sit knee-to-knee for this examination to enable the child to view the parent at all times. If the infant’s teeth appear stained, the dentist may clean them. Oftentimes, a topical fluoride treatment will be applied to the teeth after this cleaning.

What questions may the pediatric dentist ask during the first visit?

The pediatric dentist will ask questions about current oral care, diet, the general health of the child, the child’s oral habits, and the child’s current fluoride intake.

Once answers to these questions have been established, the pediatric dentist can advise parents on the following issues:

  • Accident prevention.
  • Adding xylitol and fluoride to the infant’s diet.
  • Choosing an ADA approved, non-fluoridated brand of toothpaste for the infant.
  • Choosing an appropriate toothbrush.
  • Choosing an orthodontically correct pacifier.
  • Correct positioning of the head during tooth brushing.
  • Easing the transition from sippy cup to adult-sized drinking glasses (12-14 months).
  • Eliminating fussing during the oral care routine.
  • Establishing a drink-free bedtime routine.
  • Maintaining good dietary habits.
  • Minimizing the risk of tooth decay.
  • Reducing sugar and carbohydrate intake.
  • Teething and developmental milestones.

When Will My Baby Start Getting Teeth

The initial growth period for primary (baby) teeth begins in the second trimester of pregnancy (around 16-20 weeks).  During this time, it is especially important for expectant mothers to eat a healthy, nutritious diet, since nutrients are needed for bone and soft tissue development.

Though there are some individual differences in the timing of tooth eruption, primary teeth usually begin to emerge when the infant is between six and eight months old.  Altogether, a set of twenty primary teeth will emerge by the age of three.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends a first “well-baby” dental visit around the age of twelve months (or six months after the first tooth emerges).  This visit acquaints the infant with the dental office, allows the pediatric dentist to monitor development, and provides a great opportunity for parents to ask questions.

Which teeth emerge first?

In general, teeth emerge in pairs, starting at the front of the infant’s mouth. Between the ages of six and ten months, the two lower central incisors break through. Remember that cavities may develop between two adjacent teeth, so flossing should begin at this point.

Next (and sometimes simultaneously), the two upper central incisors emerge – usually between the ages of eight and twelve months. Teething can be quite an uncomfortable process for the infant. Clean teething rings and cold damp cloths can help ease the irritation and discomfort.

Between the ages of nine and sixteen months the upper lateral incisors emerge – one on either side of the central incisors. Around the same time, the lower lateral incisors emerge, meaning that the infant has four adjacent teeth on the lower and upper arches. Pediatric dentists suggest that sippy cup usage should end when the toddler reaches the age of fourteen months. This minimizes the risk of “baby bottle tooth decay.”

Eight more teeth break through between the ages of thirteen and twenty three months. On each arch, a cuspid or canine tooth will appear immediately adjacent to each lateral incisor. Immediately behind (looking towards the back of the child’s mouth), first molars will emerge on either side of the canine teeth on both jaws.

Finally, a second set of molars emerges on each arch – usually beginning on the lower arch. Most children have a complete set of twenty primary teeth before the age of thirty-three months. The pediatric dentist generally applies dental sealant to the molars, to lock out food particles, bacteria, and enamel-attacking acids.

How can I reduce the risk of early caries (cavities)?

Primary teeth preserve space for permanent teeth and guide their later alignment. In addition, primary teeth help with speech production, prevent the tongue from posturing abnormally, and play an important role in the chewing of food. For these reasons, it is critically important to learn how to care for the child’s emerging teeth.

Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Brush twice each day – The AAPD recommends a pea-sized amount of ADA approved (non-fluoridated) toothpaste for children under two years old, and the same amount of an ADA approved (fluoridated) toothpaste for children over this age. The toothbrush should be soft-bristled and appropriate for infants.
  2. Start flossing – Flossing an infant’s teeth can be difficult but the process should begin when two adjacent teeth emerge. The pediatric dentist will happily demonstrate good flossing techniques.
  3. Provide a balanced diet – Sugars and starches feed oral bacteria, which produce harmful acids and attack tooth enamel. Ensure that the child is eating a balanced diet and work to reduce sugary and starchy snacks.
  4. Set a good example – Children who see parents brushing and flossing are often more likely to follow suit. Explain the importance of good oral care to the child; age-appropriate books often help with this.
  5. Visit the dentist – The pediatric dentist monitors oral development, provides professional cleanings, applies topical fluoride to the teeth, and coats molars with sealants. Biannual trips to the dental office can help to prevent a wide range of painful conditions later.

If you have questions or concerns about the emergence of your child’s teeth, please contact your pediatric dentist.

Why Are Primary Teeth Important?

Primary teeth, also known as “baby teeth” or “deciduous teeth,” begin to develop beneath the gums during the second trimester of pregnancy. Teeth begin to emerge above the gums approximately six months to one year after birth. Typically, preschool children have a complete set of 20 baby teeth – including four molars on each arch.

One of the most common misconceptions about primary teeth is that they are irrelevant to the child’s future oral health. However, their importance is emphasized by the American Dental Association (ADA), which urges parents to schedule a “baby checkup” with a pediatric dentist within six months of the first tooth emerges.

What are the functions of primary teeth?

Primary teeth can be painful to acquire. To soothe tender gums, biting on chewing rings, wet gauze pads, and clean fingers can be helpful. Though most three-year-old children have a complete set of primary teeth, eruption happens gradually – usually starting at the front of the mouth.

The major functions of primary teeth are described below:

Speech production and development – Learning to speak clearly is crucial for cognitive, social, and emotional development. The proper positioning of primary teeth facilitates correct syllable pronunciation and prevents the tongue from straying during speech formation.

Eating and nutrition – Children with malformed or severely decayed primary teeth are more likely to experience dietary deficiencies, malnourishment, and to be underweight. Proper chewing motions are acquired over time and with extensive practice. Healthy primary teeth promote good chewing habits and facilitate nutritious eating.

Self-confidence – Even very young children can be quick to point out ugly teeth and crooked smiles. Taking good care of primary teeth can make social interactions more pleasant, reduce the risk of bad breath, and promote confident smiles and positive social interactions.

Straighter smiles – One of the major functions of primary teeth is to hold an appropriate amount of space for developing adult teeth. In addition, these spacers facilitate the proper alignment of adult teeth and also promote jaw development. Left untreated, missing primary teeth cause the remaining teeth to “shift” and fill spaces improperly. For this reason, pediatric dentists often recommend space-maintaining devices.

Excellent oral health – Badly decayed primary teeth can promote the onset of childhood periodontal disease. As a result of this condition, oral bacteria invade and erode gums, ligaments, and eventually bone. If left untreated, primary teeth can drop out completely – causing health and spacing problems for emerging permanent teeth. To avoid periodontal disease, children should practice an adult-guided oral care routine each day, and infant gums should be rubbed gently with a clean, damp cloth after meals.

If you have questions or concerns about primary teeth, please contact your pediatric dentist.

What happens during the first visit?

Pediatric dentists have fun-filled, stimulating dental offices. All dental personnel are fully trained to communicate with infants and young children.

During the initial visit, the pediatric dentist will advise parents to implement a good oral care routine, ask questions about the child’s oral habits, and examine the child’s emerging teeth. The pediatric dentist and parent sit knee-to-knee for this examination to enable the child to view the parent at all times. If the infant’s teeth appear stained, the dentist may clean them. Oftentimes, a topical fluoride treatment will be applied to the teeth after this cleaning.

What questions may the pediatric dentist ask during the first visit?

The pediatric dentist will ask questions about current oral care, diet, the general health of the child, the child’s oral habits, and the child’s current fluoride intake.

Once answers to these questions have been established, the pediatric dentist can advise parents on the following issues:

  • Accident prevention.
  • Adding xylitol and fluoride to the infant’s diet.
  • Choosing an ADA approved, non-fluoridated brand of toothpaste for the infant.
  • Choosing an appropriate toothbrush.
  • Choosing an orthodontically correct pacifier.
  • Correct positioning of the head during tooth brushing.
  • Easing the transition from sippy cup to adult-sized drinking glasses (12-14 months).
  • Eliminating fussing during the oral care routine.
  • Establishing a drink-free bedtime routine.
  • Maintaining good dietary habits.
  • Minimizing the risk of tooth decay.
  • Reducing sugar and carbohydrate intake.
  • Teething and developmental milestones.

At Neesh Dental Clinic in Saskatoon, we want to ensure that your dental procedure does not cause you stress.

We offer flexible financing and payment plans. 

START TODAY!

Get the procedure you want TODAY!

from 7.49%

WHY WAIT?

From $28/Week

Call us at 306.665.8414 to Book Your appointment with NEESH Dental the Saskatoon Dental Clinic

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This