The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) both recommend that your child’s first dental exam be by the age of one year. The first visit is usually an exam followed by prevention-based instructions with the goal of getting your child off to a cavity free start.
We recommend cleanings twice a year for our patients at Riverstone Pediatric Dentistry. Cleanings improve oral health by the removal of harmful plaque and calculus. During these preventive care appointments, we also apply a fluoride treatment and take digital dental radiographs if needed. Atthe end of this appointment, Dr. Pandya will complete a comprehensive exam to assess your child’s oral health.
Fluoride treatments help prevent tooth decay by strengthening the surface of the teeth, in turn making them less prone to cavities.
Dr. Pandya will request radiographs if needed for proper evaluation and diagnosis. Every child is different and the need for different types of radiographs will vary from child to child. Our office is equipped with the top of the line digital equipment, which further lowers exposure to well below recommended levels.
Dental sealants lower your child’s risk of developing cavities in the deep grooves of permanent molars. They consist of a thin, plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces your child’s teeth, creating a smoother surface that is easier to keep clean.
Our goal is to prevent cavities. However, if your child is diagnosed with cavities in baby teeth, filling them will prevent the spread of infection, maintain a healthy environment for the future adult teeth, and prevent pain. Catching decay early on is important, as primary (baby) teeth can have disease spread rapidly to other areas of the mouth. At Riverstone Pediatric Dentistry, we are able to fill small to medium sized cavities using white filling material (composite) that is typically not noticeable.
Crowns cover the entire surface of the tooth, and are used for teeth with large decay or following nerve therapy. This allows for the tooth to be protected and allows for a normal eruption pattern of the future adult teeth. On the back teeth, these crowns are stainless steel for durability and silver in color, and in the front, white colored crowns are used.
When decay progresses into an infection, or if teeth are not falling out normally and blocking permanent tooth eruption, extractions are recommended. Dr. Pandya “wiggles” these teeth out for the tooth fairy in these situations.
When decay is large or progresses without treatment, it can extend into the nerve of the tooth, therefore requiring nerve treatment. In an adult tooth, this treatment would be a root canal, but in baby teeth it is a simpler version of a root canal called a pulpotomy (“baby root canal”). The pulpotomy involves removing part of the nerve of the tooth and placing a soothing medication in the area. The tooth will be covered with a stainless steel crown to prevent fracture or any bacterial contamination.
Baby teeth have a very important role. In addition to providing daily function, they save the space for the permanent teeth and serve as a guide for proper eruption. When a tooth is lost prematurely, the surrounding baby teeth will begin to shift and can close the space. This could prevent permanent teeth from erupting, leading to more complicated orthodontic needs. If a tooth is lost early, a small, custom-made appliance called a space maintainer can be put in its place. The spacer remains seated until the adult tooth is near eruption and then is removed.
Nitrous oxide, more commonly known as “laughing gas”, is available during all treatment procedures beyond regular preventive care. Nitrous oxide helps most children feel more relaxed during their dental visit. The gas is inhaled through a nose mask, works very quickly, and then reverses just as quickly.
Some children need dental care with the use of IV sedation or general anesthesia either due to young age, special needs, or other special circumstances that do not allow for the cooperation needed for treatment. Dr. Pandya will work closely with a board certified anesthesiologist to provide treatment in a safe manner.
Our team is available and ready to help you in the event of your child experiencing a dental emergency. Any after hours calls will be directed to Dr. Pandya.