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Children’s Dentistry

Healthy Smiles that Last a Lifetime in Grand Rapids, MI

Pediatric dentistry focuses on the dental health of children from their infancy up to their teenage years. Common pediatric treatments include cleanings, dental sealants, and restoration of damaged teeth. Children who receive good dental care throughout their childhood have a great chance of enjoying a straight, healthy smile as adults.
Pediatric dentistry, also known as pedodontics, is a specialty in dentistry that gives your child a chance to enjoy healthy teeth and a beautiful smile for life. A children’s dentist can accommodate the dental needs of infants, children, and teenagers. By taking your child to a specialist, you are assured that your child is under the hands of a trained professional who can identify, treat, and prevent dental problems among pediatric patients. Protecting your child’s developing teeth and providing early training in proper oral hygiene can go a long way in preventing serious damage to tooth and gums. Furthermore, keeping your baby’s teeth healthy gives him or her a better chance of avoiding speech development problems and maintaining proper nutrition.

What procedures are covered in pediatric dentistry?

Dennis W. Nagel, DDS, PC in Grand Rapids offers several pediatric dentistry procedures, including the following:

Exams and Preventive Cleaning

Children need to see their dentist as soon as they turn a year old or when the first tooth erupts. These initial visits are important as this is when an oral care routine is established. It is also a time for the dentist to determine any risk factors that could cause early dental caries. Children and teens generally need to see their dentist every six months for regular cleanings. If a child has a tendency to get cavities or has dental problems that need monitoring, x-rays may be needed frequently. Pediatric dentistry also involves the identification of children who need advanced treatment from a prosthodontist or an orthodontist.

Gingivitis Treatment

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and is characterized by the irritation and inflammation of the gums. It is common in teenagers due to their changing hormone levels, which causes the gums to be extra sensitive. Gingivitis is treated by removing tartar that has built up below the gum line and proper brushing and flossing at home.

Fluoride Treatment

The application of fluoride gel to teeth is recommended for children who live in areas where drinking water is not fluorinated and those who are likely to get cavities. Fluoride treatments are available in various flavors, and kids can choose which flavor they would like to receive.

Dental Sealants

The chewing surfaces of the molars have small grooves and pits that may not be reached by a toothbrush. This makes the area prone to cavity and bacteria accumulation. By applying a thin coat of clear resin material to the chewing surfaces of permanent molars, bacteria are kept out. The procedure is painless and can spare your child a lot of pain caused by dental cavities.

Fillings and Crowns

A lot of children still get cavities in their baby teeth and permanent teeth. If the decay covers a large area, metal amalgam fillings are used. However, tooth-colored fillings are becoming more popular. Small chips and cracks in front teeth can be repaired using tooth-colored fillings. If the back teeth have large cavities, they may be repaired using metal fillings or dental crowns. Teeth that are fractured are decayed may need stainless steel crowns. Permanent teeth usually require ceramic crowns.

Pulpotomy

A pulpotomy is similar to a root canal procedure. During a pulpotomy, the infected tooth pulp is removed from a baby tooth. By doing so, toothache is alleviated without removing the infected tooth. Restoring a tooth instead of pulling it out is a good way to keep remaining teeth spaced properly and prevents teeth from crowding later on.

Extractions

Although some children can wiggle out a tooth by themselves, some baby teeth fragment when they begin to come out. Through dental extraction, all pieces are removed safely. In case a tooth needs to be removed early, a tooth spacer is placed to prevent remaining teeth from shifting to another position and ensure proper jaw alignment. Older kids may be candidates for wisdom tooth removal. Removing wisdom teeth may minimize chances of tooth crowding, gum inflammation, and other dental problems.

Why pick a pediatric dentistry specialist?

Children’s dentists are experts in the field and have gone through advanced training. However, this is not the only reason why you should pick a pediatric dentistry specialist for your child. These experts also have the appropriate “chairside manner” to make dental appointments as comfortable as possible. It is common for kids to get nervous when taken to the dentist. They usually get startled with the sound of instruments and they dislike the taste of cleaning agents in their mouths. The discomfort during dental procedures can be tough for kids to deal with.Children also need to know the reason why they are receiving treatment. Children’s dentists can explain this in a manner that kids can understand. Children who need to undergo more extensive procedures may also need sedation while those with special needs (kids with ADHD or autism) may need additional assistance.Here at Dennis W. Nagel, DDS PC’s office in Grand Rapids, you can count on your child to have a positive experience. Taking your child to our office for an initial visit even before they need their first cleaning is an excellent way to acquaint them with the soothing environment of our office. As a parent, it is a joy to know that your child is not afraid of the dentist, allowing the dentist to provide your child the dental care he or she deserves.

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