Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Do if My Child is in an Accident?
If an accident occurs, call our office as soon as you can. We will see your child right away. For after-hours emergencies, our answering machine will give a pager number.
The first half-hour after an accident is the most crucial for dental trauma. If a permanent tooth gets knocked out, you can gently rinse the area, but do not scrub the tooth. You can replace the tooth in the socket if possible, otherwise, put it in a glass of milk or clean wet cloth. Come to the office immediately with the tooth and any pieces of it if it’s fractured.
Our schedule may get delayed if we need to accommodate emergency situations. We apologize in advance if an emergency appointment occurs during your child’s visit.
What if My Child Has Special Needs?
Most special children also have special dental needs. We’ve found that children with special needs may be more susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease, and oral trauma. Some may require medications or diets that are essential for their dental health. Luckily, dental disease can be prevented! So, by starting early and staying consistent, all children can enjoy a healthy smile.
To prevent dental problems for special children, set them up for their first dental visit by the time they turn one year old. We will look at their medical history and gently examine their teeth and gums. Then, we’ll plan preventative care catered specifically to your child’s needs.
What Should I Know About Early Orthodontics?
As kids grow, their teeth may not grow into normal positions and biting relationships. We can spot these issues early on and suggest orthodontic treatment for your child when their permanent teeth have come in fully.
Interceptive orthodontic treatment (also known as Phase I) consists of minor tooth movement early in a kid’s life. It involves attaching braces to a few permanent teeth at a time. It usually covers the front four incisors or the permanent molars in the back.
What are the Benefits and Limitations of Phase I Ortho?
Benefits – Minor orthodontic procedures can prevent bigger problems from developing later in life. They cause less discomfort, and they’ll save you money.
Limitations – It adds costs and inconveniences to your family earlier in your child’s life. The final result of the procedure can’t be guaranteed before it’s completed, but that risk is also true for full orthodontic therapy, only lower.
Are There Alternatives to Early Orthodontics?
As an alternative, you can wait to see if your kid’s dentition (jaws and teeth) develops normally without any orthodontics. Yet, most indicators of orthodontic problems are very clear, so there’s an added risk involved if you don’t correct them.
How Much Does Interceptive Orthodontics Cost?
Early orthodontics costs less than full orthodontic therapy because it’s not as extensive. Our team will offer Phase I Ortho to patients who could benefit from it, and they’ll discuss the specific fees with you based on your child’s situation.
What is the Result of Non-Treatment?
If you choose to wait, your child will eventually need full orthodontic treatment, which can be more pricey. The treatment may also be more difficult since early problems were not fixed.
Should I Get a Mouth Protector/Mouthguard for My Child?
What are Athletic Mouth Protectors?
Athletic mouth protectors, also known as mouthguards made of soft plastic and adjusted to fit the shape of your child’s upper teeth.
Why are Mouth Protectors Important?
Mouthguards are essential sports equipment because they protect your child’s teeth, lips, cheeks, and tongue. They can prevent head and neck injuries like concussions and jaw fractures. Many sports teams require mouthguards to reduce the risk of injury in athletes. The majority of oral injuries in sports happen when athletes don’t have mouth protection.
When Should a Child Wear a Mouthguard?
We suggest that patients wear mouthguards any time they partake in an activity that has a risk of falling or head contact with players and equipment. Football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, skateboarding, rollerblading, and gymnastics can all be safer with a mouth protector.
Football and hockey are known for being dangerous, but most mouth injuries in sports happen while playing basketball and baseball.
How Do I Choose a Mouthguard for My Child?
Any mouthguard is more effective than not using one. Choose a product that feels comfortable for your child. Mouthguards that are bulky or interfere with a child’s speech are likely to be left in the locker room during games.
The comfort, protection, and cost of mouth protectors will vary based on the brand. Some mouthguards at sports stores are pre-formed, but our team can make customized mouth protectors for patients. We can determine what type of mouthguard will work best for each child. Custom-made mouthguards will cost more, but they’ll be comfortable and better at protecting children from injuries.
What are Nerve Treatments (Pulpotomy)?
The dentist may discuss a treatment option called pulpotomy, which removes the unhealthy part of a nerve in your kid’s tooth.
When removing diseased parts of the dental pulp (nerve), the baby teeth will respond well by leaving the healthy part unharmed. We will remove the cavity from the tooth, along with the portion of the pulp that the cavity’s bacteria infected. To seal the remaining pulp, we place a disinfectant and a crown/cap on the child’s tooth to keep the tooth alive and intact.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Pulpotomies?
Of course, the biggest advantage is that the tooth is maintained, allowing space for a permanent tooth to form underneath it. The downside is that the tooth usually requires a crown (silver cap) to keep it strong. In rare cases, the bacteria from the cavity could invade the entire nerve, causing the pulpotomy to fail. While the risk is low, the tooth would need to be removed in that instance.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Removing the tooth with the diseased nerve is the most common alternative. A space maintainer will be inserted in the tooth’s place to keep an open spot for the permanent tooth when it appears at 10 or 11 years old.
How Do Cost Differences Compare?
Costs for a pulpotomy and crown are moderate, but they are about the same for a tooth remover and space maintainer. The costs of both treatments ensure that the space for the adult tooth will remain open for several years.
What Happens if it’s Not Treated?
If not treated, the tooth will cause pain and infection in your child’s mouth. The emerging permanent tooth could also suffer damage from the infected baby tooth. If you ignore a nerve infection for too long, an abscess may appear, requiring the tooth to be removed.
What are Tooth Sealants? Does My Child Need Them?
Sealants are commonly placed on the grooves and chewing surfaces of back teeth, where cavities are most common. They’re made with tooth-colored plastic, and they’re used to protect your child’s teeth from cavities.
How Do Sealants Work?
Certain teeth, especially the ones furthest back, are difficult or impossible to clean thoroughly. Even children who brush and floss regularly may have a difficult time reaching the grooves and pits of their back teeth. Toothbrush bristles are often too thick to reach into the tiny indents of certain teeth.
Food and bacteria may easily gather in these hard-to-reach places. So, sealants are used to reduce the risk of decay by “sealing out” unwanted materials like food and plaque.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Sealants can last for many years, allowing your child to get through their cavity-prone years with ease. They’ll last longer if the child has good oral hygiene and avoids chewing on ice cubes, crunchy candy, or sticky foods.
Luckily, our experienced team can replace and repair sealants without hassle. We even offer a sealant warranty to guarantee the longevity of the procedure. Click here to view this limited warranty.
What is the Treatment Like?
Our staff can apply the sealant quickly without disturbing your child’s comfort. We only need one visit to get your kid’s cavity-prone teeth sealed. Our team will condition and dry the tooth, paint the sealant on, and use a blue light to harden it. It’s simple and painless!
What Teeth Should Be Sealed?
Six-year and twelve-year molars are the most at risk of decay, so they need sealants the most. Yet, any teeth with grooves and pits can benefit from having sealants.
If My Child Has Sealants, Are Brushing and Flossing Still Important?
Of course! Sealants can prevent cavities, but they’re most effective with proper dental care. No matter how many teeth have sealants, brushing, flossing, and regular dentist visits are still crucial for keeping your child’s smile bright and healthy!
What are Space Maintainers and What Do They Do?
Why Do Children Lose Baby Teeth?
Kids have smaller teeth known as baby teeth until larger, permanent teeth grow in and push the baby teeth out of the way. In some instances, a child may knock out a baby tooth on accident, leaving an empty space until the adult tooth grows in. Baby teeth could also be removed due to dental disease.
We recommend that children get a space maintainer if a tooth is lost too early. Inserting a space maintainer saves space for the permanent tooth to come in, preventing future dental problems.
Why Be Concerned? Baby Teeth Fall Out On Their Own!
Baby teeth are a crucial part of your child’s current and future dental health. They set the mouth up for normal development among teeth, jawbones, and muscles. They are placeholders for permanent teeth, so they can help lead adult teeth into the correct positions. Some baby teeth aren’t replaced until 12 to 14 years old, so early removal could affect the
Space maintainers can keep the remaining teeth steady to keep the empty space big enough for the new tooth. They allow the adult tooth to end up in a natural position in your child’s mouth. Using a space maintainer to prevent future problems is more affordable than getting orthodontic treatment when your child is older.
How Does a Lost Baby Tooth Cause Problems For Permanent Teeth?
Losing a baby tooth early could pose a problem for the teeth beside it. The nearby teeth may tilt or squish into the empty space, blocking the permanent tooth from coming in. If that occurs, your child’s adult teeth will come in crowded and crooked. If this problem isn’t addressed early on, your child may need extensive orthodontic treatments later in life.
Do Space Maintainers Need Special Care?
Our rules for kids with space maintainers are:
- Avoid eating sticky snacks and chewing gum.
- Prevent your tongue and fingers from pushing on the space maintainer.
- Clean the space maintainer with regular brushing.
- Keep going to regular dental visits.
What is a Posterior Crossbite?
Posterior crossbites can be defined as reversed bites in the back teeth of your child’s mouth. They can occur on one or both sides. In an ideal bite, the top teeth should rest outside of the bottom teeth, but a crossbite is the opposite.
This formation occurs if the upper jaw is constricted. The origin of the constriction isn’t always known, but it may be caused by a child’s thumb-sucking habit.
Correcting a crossbite will give your child a proper alignment and bite. If not fixed, their bite could wear down spots in their mouth or they could have a crooked smile. In some cases, there might not be enough room for permanent teeth to come in with a crossbite.
We can fix the crossbite by expanding your child’s upper jaw. Your child will wear an appliance called a W-Arch, which is named after its unique shape. It’s attached with small wires on the back teeth, but it’s also glued in place. A W-Arch appliance cannot be removed by the patient.
Every 4 to 6 weeks, our team will gradually expand the appliance to slowly correct the crossbite. Most crossbites take about 6 to 8 months to correct with a 4 to 6 month retention period after that. The expansion process is easy and provides no discomfort to patients.
What is General Anesthesia for?
General anesthesia can be used to successfully complete dental treatments when the child is unconscious.
Who Should General Anesthesia Be Used For?
If your child has severe anxiety or is unable to relax during dental visits, they’re a good candidate for general anesthesia. Most kids who fall into this category are young or have compromised health conditions. We can use general anesthesia if there’s no other way to safely calm them down.
Is General Anesthesia Safe?
Yes, general anesthesia is very safe! Our team always ensures that your child receives the best care possible, so general anesthesia is always handled by a pediatric anesthesiologist. They will give your child general anesthesia and also monitor their care.
We take many precautions to ensure your child stays safe. During general anesthesia care, your child will be monitored by anesthesia personnel who are experienced and able to handle any complications. Before your child undergoes general anesthesia treatment, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks involved, along with why they recommend it for your child’s appointment.
What Should Be Considered When Scheduling a General Anesthesia Appointment?
Most child surgeries are done on an “outpatient” basis, meaning your kid will have their treatment in the morning so they can go home in the afternoon. Here are some things to consider before, during, and after the procedure.
- The Physical Examination – All patients must have a physical examination before a general anesthesia appointment. The examination ensures that your child will be safe during the procedure. We will alert you if an evaluation appointment needs to be scheduled.
- Before Surgery – Avoid talking about the surgery as much as possible with your child to reduce anxiety. Talk to them about it in a way that’s not intimidating, such as using phrases like, “you’re going to go to sleep while the dentist fixes your teeth.”
- Eating and Drinking – Do not give your child a meal the night before their general anesthesia appointment. We will discuss the food and fluid intake rules in advance.
- Changes in Your Child’s Health – Contact us right away if your child has a fever. We may need to reschedule their appointment to keep everyone safe.
Most children are tired after anesthesia, so plan accordingly. Avoid scheduling activities for your child until the next day. After the first day, they can resume their normal activities.
ISLAND KIDS DENTISTRY
Dr. Andrew Tomash and Associates
Dr. Andrew Tomash and Associates