What is considered a dental emergency?
KNOCKED-OUT BABY TOOTH: Due to the risk of damage to the permanent tooth, primary teeth are not re-placed if knocked out. KNOCKED-OUT PERMANENT TOOTH: Time is of the essence. The goal is to replace the permanent tooth in the socket as soon as possible. Only handle the tooth from the crown; do not touch the root. If dirty, rinse briefly with water and replace immediately. After putting the tooth back in the socket, hold in place by biting on a paper towel or wash cloth, etc. If the tooth cannot be replaced, it must be kept moist to prevent the cells from dying. Place tooth in milk, saliva, or egg yolk and call us as soon as possible. After one hour, it is not advised to replace the tooth, so it’s vital to move quickly in a pediatric dental emergency like this.
BROKEN TOOTH: If possible, find the broken fragment and call us as soon as possible. Most of the time, the broken piece can be re-attached using safe adhesives.
TOOTHACHE: Rinse with warm salt water. Brush and floss the area to remove trapped food/bacteria. Call our Las Vegas children’s dentists as soon as possible for an evaluation. Over-the-counter pain medications can be effective until your child can be seen by one of our experienced pediatric dentists on staff.
Why fix baby teeth?
Dental decay affects more children in this country than any other chronic childhood disease, yet many parents assume that cavities can be left untreated because permanent teeth will eventually replace them. Unfortunately, this leads to progressing infections, premature tooth loss, growth and development problems, and needless suffering for the child to endure. Another important fact to keep in mind is that it is nearly impossible to have healthy adult teeth if there is decay present in the primary teeth. This is due to cross-over infection that results during the 6 years of mixed dentition (6 years old-12 years old). Primary teeth serve many functions, and it is critical that they remain intact until they are lost naturally. They serve to help maintain proper nutrition, allow for good pronunciation and speech habits, and guide the permanent teeth during eruption. Primary teeth also serve as “space holders” for the permanent teeth and this space can be lost with dental caries. Space loss results in crowding and misaligned teeth. Regular dental visits can prevent these complications or minimize the consequences by early recognition and treatment. As you can tell, ensuring the health of baby teeth is vital to your child’s long-term oral health. Visit Anthem Pediatric Dentistry in Charleston or Henderson for exceptional dental care for kids.
What is a Diplomate?
What should I know about my child’s first visit to the dentist in Las Vegas or elsewhere?
Parents have a big influence on how their child perceives a dental check-up. Prior to your first visit, try to be positive when talking with your child about what the dentist will do. Most parents find it helpful to explain that the dentist will simply count and brush his/her teeth, then provide instruction in proper tooth-brushing techniques and dental care. If there are older siblings, be careful to instruct the older siblings not to scare their younger siblings before their first dental visit. Our Las Vegas dental office has been specially designed to create a warm and friendly atmosphere for all our patients and their parents. We recognize that some children, especially younger (or new) patients, are more comfortable with a parent present during the first visit. The treatment areas, therefore, have been designed so that parents can accompany their children throughout the entirety of the appointment. This usually helps children acclimate to a new or unfamiliar setting. Do not be surprised if your child has to sit in your lap for the first few dental visits. As your child becomes comfortable with our office and staff, he or she will also become comfortable in the dental chair.
We will thoroughly explain each of our procedures in terms that your child can understand. Once your child is comfortable, a full examination of the teeth and supporting structures (gums, bones, etc.) can be performed. Their growth and development will be evaluated and the teeth will be polished and flossed. Radiographs (x-rays) will only be taken if necessary for diagnostic purposes. We are very conservative about taking x-rays of children and have selected x-ray equipment that provides maximum safety for our patients. See our X-Ray section for how we reduce the exposure of radiation our patients receive.
If needed, we will discuss treatment recommendations with you after the examination. Any questions you may have concerning the plan of treatment can be answered at this time. Please inform us of any special considerations that may help us to provide the best quality dental care for your child.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens tooth enamel. Eighty years of research have shown there are several ways by which fluoride makes teeth resistant to cavities. First and foremost, it strengthens tooth enamel by turning hydroxyapatite into fluorapatite. Hydroxyapatite is what teeth and bones are made of. Fluorapatite is stronger than hydroxyapatite, thus making the teeth stronger and more resistant to the acid that bacteria living in the mouth produce. An additional benefit of fluoride is it reduces the ability of bacteria to produce acid. As with any substance, moderation is key. Too much of anything is usually a bad thing, and fluoride is no exception. Our dentists will discuss with you how to ensure your child is receiving the optimal amount to prevent cavities.
X-rays are needed to detect cavities forming between the teeth and to monitor your child’s growth and development. Without x-rays, the first sign of a cavity is usually a toothache, requiring extensive treatment when compared to just placing a filling if found early. New technology has reduced the amount of radiation required (to expose X-rays) to a negligible amount. Radiation exposure is measured in what is called Millirem (mrem). Each year the average person, just through daily living, is exposed to an estimated 620 mrem of radiation. This radiation comes from many different sources: sunlight, airplanes, power cords, and some foods, etc. A standard dental x-ray will expose an individual to just 0.15 mrem.
Because an often-expressed parental concern is regarding radiation exposure and cancer, please note the comparison below, and be reassured your child is safe taking a standard x-ray.
100,000 mrem: Amount of radiation needed to cause cancer (equivalent to 650,000 x-rays)
Hence, you have nothing to worry about if your child happens to need a pediatric x-ray. Your child’s health is our top priority at our Las Vegas pediatric dental clinic.
Silver Diamine Fluoride
Silver diamine fluoride, or SDF, is a colorless liquid that contains silver particles. SDF has been used for decades in many parts of the world to treat cavities. It is painless, inexpensive, easy to place, and works 75 percent of the time with just a single application. There is, however, one significant downside of placing SDF; it turns the cavity part of the tooth BLACK. There are many factors to consider when deciding if a child is a good candidate for SDF application including: child’s age and behavior, how long before the tooth will fall out, if the tooth is in the smile zone, and family finances. Your local pediatric dentist will discuss this option with you, and answer any questions you may have. Silver compounds have been used for their medical properties for centuries and, in dentistry, for more than a century. Clinical evidence has demonstrated that silver compounds are effective at stopping cavities by interfering with bacteria reproduction. Silver diamine fluoride is a colorless liquid made up of fluoride and silver ions that has been shown to be 70-90% effective in stopping cavities. One down side to treating cavities with Silver diamine fluoride is that it turns the cavity (not tooth) black. Therefore, if the cavities are in the front teeth, these black spots may be visible when you smile. This discoloration can be removed when the child is old enough to receive dental treatment in a cooperate manner from our Henderson or Las Vegas children’s dental office.
Large cavities weaken teeth and do not retain fillings well, especially in small baby teeth. When this happens, it is recommended to place a pediatric crown to restore the strength of the tooth. In turn, this permits the tooth to stay in the mouth until it falls out naturally. Placement of a dental crown involves reducing the size of the tooth to accommodate the crown fitting over the entire tooth. Once cemented in place, the crown will remain until the tooth is lost naturally. Crowns can be made of several different materials, including stainless-steel (silver), zirconia (white), and composite resin (white). Although white crowns are desirable, inherent disadvantages still make the stainless-steel crown the most successful and dependable option. Typically, white crowns are not an option on baby molars, although they work well on front baby teeth. We can discuss with you the white crown limitations and determine if they will work well for your child.
General anesthesia is typically delivered in a hospital or surgical center and involves a child being completely asleep for the entire dental procedure. General anesthesia is an accepted standard of pediatric dental care when the situation involves a child who has limited comprehension, extensive dental treatment needs, or is extremely uncooperative and requires dental care that is technically difficult. General anesthesia is recognized and supported by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the American Medical Association, and the US Department of Health and Human Services as a safe and effective way to provide children’s dental care to such patients.
What are some healthy snacks I can give my child?
Healthy snacks contain very low amounts of carbohydrate and little to no sugar. Frequency of snacking is also an important factor. Children that “graze” are at a much higher risk for developing cavities than a child that eats healthy meals and only snacks once or twice a day. Note: A child should also be reminded to brush their teeth after eating sticky, sweet foods. As part of our pediatric dentist resource, here are a few healthy snack ideas for you to consider.
- ORANGES (FRESH)
- CELERY STICKS – PLAIN OR WITH PEANUT BUTTER/CHEESE
- DAIRY PRODUCTS
- PEANUT BUTTER
- PEARS (FRESH)
- FROZEN UNSWEETENED FRUIT JUICES
- SUGARLESS CANDY AND GUM
- MIXED NUTS
What are some healthy dental habits for my child?
- NO JUICE BEFORE ONE YEAR OLD — AND NEVER IN A BOTTLE
- AVOID AD-HOC NURSING DURING THE NIGHT. BACTERIA QUICKLY CONVERT THE NATURAL SUGARS TO ACID, WHICH DECAYS THE TEETH THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT.
- DRINK LOTS OF WATER. THIS CONSTANT WASHING OF THE TEETH ENSURES THAT ACIDS PRODUCED BY BACTERIA WILL NOT STICK AROUND FOR LONG.
- FOR OLDER KIDS, CHEWING SUGARLESS GUM CAN STRENGTHEN THEIR TEETH. THE CHEWING PROCESS STIMULATES SALIVARY FLOW WHICH FIGHTS BACTERIA.
- ALLOW TWO HOURS BETWEEN SNACKS. FREQUENT “SNACKERS” HAVE HIGHER MOUTH ACID LEVELS RESULTING IN MORE CAVITIES.
- BRUSH TEETH, MORNING AND NIGHT, MOVING THE TOOTHBRUSH ALONG THE GUM LINE. ONLY A SMALL SMEAR OF TOOTHPASTE IS NEEDED, DEFINITELY NO MORE THAN A “PEA-SIZED” AMOUNT.
Floss nightly between any teeth that are in contact, usually the molars. Tight spots retain acids produced by bacteria for a longer amount of time. The more contacting of teeth, the more likely cavities can develop
What are some recommendations?
- VISIT ANTHEM PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY EVERY 6 MONTHS TO HAVE YOUR CHILD’S TEETH POLISHED AND RECEIVE A FLUORIDE TREATMENT. THIS ENSURES THAT THE TEETH ARE COMPLETELY CLEAN AND IT SIGNIFICANTLY HELPS TO STRENGTHEN THE ENAMEL ON YOUR TEETH. CHILDREN THAT RECEIVE REGULAR FLUORIDE TREATMENT EXPERIENCE FEWER CAVITIES.
- HAVE SEALANTS PLACED ON YOUR PERMANENT MOLARS AS SOON AS THEY ARE FULLY ERUPTED. THESE TEETH USUALLY ERUPT AROUND 6 YEARS OLD AND 12 YEARS OLD. THE PERMANENT MOLARS ARE THE MOST LIKELY TEETH TO ACQUIRE DECAY. THIS IS BECAUSE THEY ARE LARGE TEETH WITH LOTS OF GROOVES AND PITS. ONCE A CAVITY OCCURS, THE TOOTH WILL REQUIRE LIFELONG FOLLOW-UP AND TREATMENT (FILLINGS DON’T LAST FOREVER!).
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Anthem Pediatric Dentistry of Las Vegas!