Common Pediatric Dental Treatments
When you book an appointment with Snodgrass-King, every child receives certain treatments in addition to their regular cleanings. For some children, this may just be once a year, but for others, it could be every 6 months or every 4 months – every child has different needs. In addition to these regular cleanings and treatments, there are several pediatric dental treatments and procedures that are common among young patients.
Before we continue, we would also like to address that you may be wondering how safe it is to bring your child in to the dentist right now. As we continue to navigate a COVID world, we understand your concerns and reservations about visiting, but we can ensure that at Snodgrass-King we are following all state and local health regulations. Furthermore, there is no evidence that routine dental care has contributed to the spread of this virus (Forbes). If you or your child is overdue for a visit, we highly advise that you don’t wait any longer.
Regular Cleanings & Preventative Treatments
Whether your child goes to the dentist once a year, twice a year, or more – each time they will receive regular dental cleaning and exam. The cleaning consists of removing any tartar or plaque from the surface of the teeth, flossing between teeth, and polishing the teeth. The dentist will also provide a thorough exam, checking for any signs of cavities, tooth decay, or gum disease. They will ask you or your child if you’ve noticed any problems or have been experiencing any tenderness or pain as well.
Preventative treatments that may not occur every visit, but frequently, include:
- X-rays: As your child grows, their teeth will tend to shift. X-rays allow dentists to be proactive in their treatments. They are often used to help identify cavities, check for familial dental anomalies, and give dentists a better visual for patients with crowded or impacted teeth.
- Fluoride: Depending on the needs of your child, fluoride treatments may be recommended every 3, 6, or 12 months. It has been proven to be effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay and is generally included in your child’s regular visits.
- Sealants: Applying sealants is a great way to protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay. They are generally applied to permanent teeth rather than baby teeth and last about three years. Sealants are not recommended for every child but are especially helpful for those with naturally deep grooves on their teeth.
Treatments for Cavities & Damaged Teeth From Tooth Decay
Instilling oral hygiene habits from a young age, visiting the dentist regularly, and choosing healthier foods over sugary ones are all great measures to ensure healthy teeth and a healthy mouth. However, cavities can still form. In fact, about 20% of children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated cavity. The key is catching them early on and treating them before they can cause some serious damage.
The recommended treatment option is going to heavily depend on the severity of your child’s tooth decay, among other factors.
- Fillings: When a portion of a tooth has been damaged or a hole has been formed from tooth decay, a filling is highly recommended. Fillings aesthetically make the tooth appear natural and undamaged, but also prevent any further decaying. There are different types of fillings and our dentists at Snodgrass-King are more than happy to discuss your options.
- Crowns: Should a cavity go untreated and worsen enough to cause severe damage to a tooth, a crown is the next step in treatment. Crowns or onlays (partial crowns) are needed when there is insufficient tooth strength remaining to hold a filling. They are placed on top of an existing tooth and similar to fillings can be made from several different materials.
- Root Canal: If a cavity runs deep enough, it can begin to cause nerve damage and have negative effects on your overall health. Root canal treatment involves one to three visits, in which the dentist will remove the affected tissue, clean and seal the inside of the tooth, and fill the tooth with a dental composite. Your dentist may even suggest placing a crown to further strengthen and protect the tooth from breaking.
Pediatric Dental Extractions
Another procedure that is not uncommon for children is extractions – most commonly baby teeth and wisdom teeth. There are several reasons why a tooth may need to be extracted including:
- Tooth Decay: Revisiting the topic of cavities and tooth decay, a tooth may need to be extracted if the damage is severe and the patient decides to opt out of the treatments discussed above. For whatever reason, extracting a decayed tooth is going to be better for your overall health and quality of life than keeping it intact and untreated.
- Long Roots: (Specific to baby teeth) Some children have baby teeth with naturally long roots, making it difficult to fall out. Most baby teeth fall out on their own with time, but sometimes dental assistance is needed for those with long-rooted teeth.
- Overcrowding: The most common reason why extraction is recommended by dentists is because of overcrowding. Many people, kids and adults, have smaller mouths. A dentist may recommend extracting baby teeth early so that the permanent teeth can come in properly. And thousands of people have their wisdom teeth removed each year, simply because there is not enough space in their mouth.
Visit Us Today
Don’t let yourself or your child go too long without visiting the dentist. Remember, your oral health has a large impact on your overall health. So whether you are in need of a cleaning or a treatment for a much more serious problem, visit us at Snodgrass-King today.
Our facilities have been sanitized from floor to ceiling, and we will continue to follow all ADA, CDC, and local health department guidelines. We understand the concern you may have regarding COVID-19 and want you to know that we share those concerns and are ensuring your safety in our offices.
Snodgrass-King Dental Associates has 5 locations across Middle Tennessee (Mt. Juliet, Murfreesboro, Franklin, and Cool Springs). Contact us today to see if we can help jump-start and be a resource in you or your child’s healthy, dental lifestyle. We offer a variety of services for both children and adults. We can also address any orthodontic needs for children, teens, and adults. If you have any questions, call us today at (615) 771-1111.