Checkups and cleanings
Children receive checkups and cleanings every 6 months. This includes a thorough exam of the mouth, teeth and the face. Preschoolers get digital radiographs (X rays) as needed. A fluoride varnish is applied after the teeth are cleaned. Speech, growth, diet and tooth brushing are reviewed.
Children are screened for growth and dental development at every check up appointment. In some cases children do not have enough space for their jaws to fit their permanent teeth or their jaws development requires evaluation. At Sparkles our tween and teens have the advantage of early intervention orthodontics if needed. We are able to modify facial growth when needed, redirect growth and undertake a variety of orthodontic treatment.
Minimally Invasive Techniques
For children who are very young, apprehensive or in cases where cavities are incipient we offer treatments like Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF), to halt decay. In some cases we are able to treat without the use of a needle or drill using a special technique called SMART(Silver Modified Atraumatic Restorative Technique)
Sealants are a preventative treatment, where a material is placed in the pits and fissures or chewing surfaces of primary or permanent teeth. Molar teeth are considered the most susceptible teeth to cavities due to the anatomy of the chewing surfaces, which unfortunately is not protected by fluoride or saliva and instead favors the accumilation of plaque bacteria. This is a simple procedure that affords protection to the teeth and lasts up to 5 years or more.
Nitrous Oxide or Laughing Gas
When a child is scared or anxious about dental treatment, laughing gas can reduce anxiety and gagging in children and make long appointments easier. The child breathes the gas through a mask placed on the nose and remains fully conscious during treatment. Recovery after treatment is quick and complete as soon as the mask is removed. The doctor administers the proper amount to keep the child comfortable, awake and responding positively.
Sedation is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children and children with special healthcare needs who would not be able to receive necessary dental care in a safe and comfortable manner without it. At Sparkles, we have a board certified anesthesiologist and all guidelines are strictly adhered to by using special monitoring and emergency equipment and trained support personnel.
Dr Mathias believes that it is important that the oral structures such as the teeth, tongue and cheeks function in harmony to produce a perfect smile. She will assess various aspects of growth as well as your child’s function including eating, sleep, speech, etc. At various intervals she will as growth and development and make recommendations based on need. It is important to have a global perspective that extends beyond teeth.
In some cases when a child is too young to cooperate or cannot cooperate due to fear or developmental disability, Dr Mathias will use Minimally Invasive measures such as SDF and closely monitor until the child (usually toddlers) is able to cooperate for curative treatment.
We use digital radiography that reduces exposure to Xray radiation to a minute fraction. With 4 Digital films, radiation is only about 0.005 mSv (millisieverts,) which is less than an average daily dose of radiation in everyday life.(Compare this to airport security scanner 80 times is the equivalent to a single day of casual radiation exposure). Dr Mathias recommends them only typically once every 18 months or when cavity risk is high.
WHY FILL BABY TEETH WHEN THEY FALL OUT ANYWAY?
While it is true that baby teeth do eventually come out, it is also true that they are important to a child in the meantime.
Primary or baby teeth hold space for the permanent teeth to grow in. If one is lost, the others can shift into the empty space and prevent the permanent tooth from erupting. This often means a crooked smile in a child’s future. In addition, a decayed tooth can become abscessed and cause discomfort for a child, and can spread to other teeth and surrounding tissue. Left untreated, dental caries can result in a broad range of functional impairments that have far-reaching implications for growth, development, school performance, and peer relationships.
Sparkles is a mercury free dental practice. White fillings are used and our filling materials are BPA free.