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Regular Exams and Cleanings
Regular exams are a vital part of maintaining your child’s oral health. During your son or daughter’s regular exam, we will:
- Check for any problems that may not be seen or felt
- Look for cavities or other signs of tooth decay
- Inspect the teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease
- Perform a thorough teeth cleaning
The exam will take about 45 minutes. Each regular exam includes a detailed teeth cleaning, during which we will clean, polish, and rinse the teeth to remove any tartar and plaque that have built up on the tooth’s surface.
Visiting our office every six months gives you the chance to ask Dr. Aaron or Dr. Matt any questions you may have about your youngster’s oral health. Regular exams are offered by appointment only, so please contact our practice today to schedule your child’s next dental exam and teeth cleaning.
Bonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. During dental bonding, a white filling is placed onto your child’s tooth to improve its appearance.
The filling “bonds” with the tooth. Because it comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades, it closely matches the appearance of your little one’s natural teeth.
Tooth bonding can also be used for fillings instead of amalgam. Many patients prefer bonded fillings because the white color is much less noticeable than silver. Bonding fillings can be used on front or back teeth, depending on the location and extent of tooth decay.
Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and can usually be completed in one visit to our office. However, it can stain and is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments, such as porcelain veneers.
If it does break or chip, let us know. The bonding can generally be easily patched or repaired in one visit.
Crowns are a restorative procedure used to improve a tooth’s shape or to strengthen it. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay.
A crown is a “cap” cemented onto an existing tooth that usually covers the portion of the tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes the tooth’s new outer surface.
Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are preferred because they mimic the translucency of natural teeth and are very strong.
Crowns or onlays (partial crowns) are needed when there is insufficient tooth strength to hold a filling. Unlike fillings, which apply the restorative material directly into the mouth, a crown is fabricated away from the mouth.
A crown is created in a lab from your child’s unique tooth impression, which allows a dental laboratory technician to examine all aspects of bite and jaw movements. The crown is then sculpted just for your youngster so his or her bite and jaw movements function normally once the crown is placed.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt.
At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth at risk, so the doctor may recommend its removal. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.
When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, Dr. Matt or Dr. Aaron may extract it during a regular checkup or request another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within the jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and the tooth is held in that socket by a ligament.
In order to extract a tooth, the dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is critical to share with us any concerns or preferences for sedation.
Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, may include gold, porcelain, or composite. Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth.
These compounds, often called composite resins, are typically used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important. There are two different kinds of fillings: direct and indirect.
Direct fillings are placed directly into a prepared cavity during a single visit. Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. They include inlays, and veneers fabricated with ceramics or composites.
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay. It also prevents plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface. A fluoride treatment in our office takes just a few minutes.
After the treatment, your child may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your youngster’s oral health or the doctor’s recommendation, a fluoride treatment may be required every three, six, or 12 months.
Whether your youngster wears braces or not, protecting his or her smile while playing sports is essential. Mouthguards help protect the teeth and gums from injury. If your child participates in any kind of full-contact sport, the American Dental Association recommends that he or she wear a mouthguard.
Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from a dentist.
When you choose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well-fitted for the mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent your child from breathing properly. We can show your athlete how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right one to protect his or her smile.
If your child often wakes up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or if you see him or her clenching or grinding teeth, your youngster may have a common condition called “bruxism.” Many people do not even know they grind their teeth, because it often occurs when one is sleeping. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, or even tooth loss.
There is an easy, non-invasive treatment for bruxism. Nightguards prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding causes over time. Custom-made by our office from soft material to fit the teeth, a nightguard is inserted over your child’s top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth.
In the past, if your child had a permanent tooth with a diseased nerve, he or she would probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called “root canal treatment,” your little one’s tooth can be saved.
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your youngster’s jawbones, but it is also detrimental to his or her overall health.
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, the dentist will remove the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite.
If the tooth has extensive decay, we may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect it from breaking. As long as your youngster continues to care for his or her teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, the restored tooth can last a lifetime.
Sometimes, brushing is not enough, especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach spots in your child’s mouth. It is difficult for a toothbrush to get between the small cracks and grooves in the teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give your child’s teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.
Dental sealants are a plastic resin that bonds and hardens in the deep grooves on the tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, brushing your little one's teeth becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.
Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth as a preventive measure against tooth decay after the permanent teeth have erupted. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and our team will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.
Sealants last from three to five years, but it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact, so if your child’s sealants come off, let us know, and schedule an appointment for your son or daughter’s teeth to be re-sealed.
Your little one no longer needs to hide his or her smile because of gaps, chips, stains, or misshapen teeth. With veneers, you can easily correct the imperfections in your child’s teeth to help him or her have a more confident, beautiful smile.
Veneers are natural in appearance, and a perfect option for patients who want to make minor adjustments to the look and feel of their smile.
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells made from tooth-colored materials, such as porcelain. They are designed to cover the front side of your child’s teeth. To prepare for veneers, Dr. Aaron or Dr. Matt will create a unique model of your child’s teeth.
This model is sent to the dental technician to create the veneers. Before placing the new veneer, the doctor may need to prepare the tooth conservatively to achieve the desired aesthetic result.
When placed, you’ll be pleased to see that veneers look like your child’s natural teeth. Although they are stain resistant, the doctor may recommend that your son or daughter avoid juices, tea, and other staining food and drinks to maintain the beauty of that new smile.
Wisdom teeth are molars found in the very back of your child’s mouth. These teeth usually appear in late teens or early 20s, but they may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry.
When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may have to be removed. If it is not removed, your child may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.
Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier as well as shorten the recovery time.
In order to remove a wisdom tooth, we first need to numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Since the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and embedded in your jaw bone, our team may have to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth.
In order to minimize the amount of bone that is removed with the tooth, the dentist will often “section” the wisdom tooth so each piece can be removed through a small opening in the bone.
Once your child’s wisdom teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction, healing time varies. We will share with you what to expect and provide instructions for a comfortable, efficient healing process.