Pediatric Dentistry: Starting Good Oral Habits
At Sonata Dental, we know how important it is for your child to develop a healthy relationship with the dentist. That's why we welcome our youngest patients in a comfortable environment that helps them feel at ease. We are proud to offer an Educational Kids Corner that takes a fun and engaging approach to helping children learn about the importance of going to the dentist. We also have televisions on the ceilings of our operatories to help distract them while they learn to care for their teeth.
Our standard menu of pediatric dentistry services also includes Silver Diamine Fluoride, a new treatment that can help arrest tooth decay and avoid the need for more invasive treatment. We help your child get off to a good start with the dentist through our emphasis on home routines and dental education.
Are you wondering when to schedule your child's first dental appointment? The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends taking your infant to the dentist within 6 months of his or her first tooth eruption, or by age 1. At Sonata Dental, we begin to see pediatric patients when they turn 3.
Dr. Lai understands that you want the best for your child. At Sonata Dental, we focus on providing comforting, patient-centred pediatric dental care. It’s normal for a child to be unsure or nervous about their first dental visit, but at Sonata Dental, they don’t have to be! Our practice is designed to make your child relaxed, interested and excited to visit the dentist.
Pediatric Dentistry Services:
Children's Dental Checkups
The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) advises that children be seen for a checkup every 6 months. These visits allow Dr. Lai to closely monitor new changes in your child’s mouth and ensure that you, as a parent, have the information you need to promote continued oral health in your child. Dr. Lai may suggest additional checkups if your child is more susceptible to cavities, or if your child is showing signs of orthodontic problems.
Silver Diamine Fluoride
Sonata Dental is proud to offer Silver Diamine Fluoride, a non-invasive tooth decay treatment that offers an alternative to the drill-and-fill method. In many cases, Silver Diamine Fluoride can successfully arrest and even reverse active cavities, bypassing the need for traditional fillings and sedation (including anesthesia). Silver Diamine Fluoride can stain oral structures and will not eliminate the need for future restorative or cosmetic work, but it can be especially helpful for special needs children and children too young to sit still.
Protective Dental Sealants
Protective dental sealants are thin coats of special plastic painted onto your child’s back teeth to protect their deep grooves and depressions from accumulating bacteria and food particles. Studies show that 88% of cavities in American school-aged children are caused by food and bacteria being caught in rear molars.
At Sonata Dental, we typically apply a protective sealant to your child’s back teeth, premolars, and molars. The sealant will last for several years, but we will continue to check it during your child’s regular dental appointments.
Tooth Coloured Tooth Fillings
Treatment for cavities in children depends on how severe the decay is as well as each child’s age and risk of future cavities. At Sonata Dental in Airdrie, we typically treat cavities with discreet, effective tooth-coloured fillings. We also offer Silver Diamine Fluoride as a potential alternative for some children.
Dental fluoride treatments are safe and tend to be effective in decreasing the amount of cavities in children. Dr. Lai often recommends fluoride treatments along with dental sealants to protect your child’s teeth. Fluoride acts as a shield for the tooth’s outer enamel and has the potential to reverse early dental decay in some cases.
Dental Crowns and Bridges
Dental crowns are tooth-shaped coverings cemented to a badly damaged tooth to restore the shape and functionality of the tooth. Dr. Lai may recommend a crown for your child’s tooth if it has a large cavity, was broken or chipped due to trauma, or if the tooth hasn’t developed correctly. A dental bridge is a restoration typically appropriate for use when multiple missing teeth leave a gap in your child's smile. It is anchored between two crowns, which are placed over healthy teeth on either side of the gap. The bridge helps from a cosmetic perspective, and provides a stable chewing surface.
Baby teeth are not as strong as adult teeth. If your child’s tooth suffers a large cavity, the bacteria can damage the pulp inside the tooth, causing pain and inflammation. When the soft tissue inside the pulp chamber becomes infected or inflamed, Dr. Lai might recommend a pulpotomy. Instead of removing the entire tooth, Dr. Lai will put a medicated filling into the pulp chamber to try to keep the remaining pulp inside the tooth alive and healthy.
Unfortunately, sometimes a child’s tooth may be too badly decayed to save. In this case, Dr. Lai will perform an extraction. An extraction may also be recommended if the tooth is severely fractured or is crowding other healthy teeth. Dr. Lai also performs many complicated tooth extractions without having to refer you out to another practice.
Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas)
If your child is anxious, has special needs, or just needs extra help staying calm and comfortable, Dr. Lai may recommend nitrous oxide. Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a safe way to help children receive the dental care they need without anxiety or fear. Once the dental treatment is over, the gas will be completely out of their system after just a few minutes. Nitrous oxide is widely considered to be low risk. At Sonata Dental in Airdrie, our goal is to always care for your child’s dental health in the safest way possible.
Your child might need a space maintainer if they lose a tooth early or have a baby tooth extracted. If your child needs a space maintainer, Dr. Lai will custom make it to fit your child’s mouth. Its purpose is to keep the space where the baby tooth was lost open in order to allow the permanent tooth to come into place.
Baby teeth are vital to the healthy development of adult teeth, jawbones and muscles. Often, if a space maintainer is not used, your child’s other teeth can shift into the open space and future, more invasive orthodontic treatment might be needed down the road.
Children's Dental Emergencies
If your child is experiencing a dental emergency, don't hesitate to call Sonata Dental in Airdrie right away. Dr. Lawrence Lai will address your child's emergency as promptly as possible. Examples of dental emergencies include tooth fracture, tooth decay, or tooth loss from an injury or accident.
For a broken or fractured tooth, rinse your child's mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to the affected area until we can see him or her. For a knocked out tooth, first gently rinse it off in water. For older children, place the tooth back in its socket or have your child hold it in his or her inner cheek. Do not attempt to place a knocked out tooth back into a younger child's mouth, as they may swallow it. Instead, submerge the tooth in a cup of saliva or milk. The tooth must be kept wet if it has any chance of being saved. If your child also experienced head trauma during the accident, proceed directly to the nearest emergency room.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be extracted – but some do. In many situations, it’s best to pull the wisdom teeth before they jeopardize your smile as a whole. If your wisdom tooth’s growth can cause damage to neighboring teeth, or cannot fully erupt, we may consider extraction.
We will take a panoramic radiograph of your entire jaw, so we can see the size, location, and developmental stage of the wisdom teeth in consideration. At the earliest, wisdom teeth are removed in the mid-teen years, but we may have to wait for them to develop into the 20's.
At Sonata Dental in Airdrie, we value our young patients and seek to give them a positive foundation for their oral health with our pediatric dentistry menu of services. Call us today to schedule an appointment for your child.
For patients who would like a straighter smile, Dr. Lawrence Lai, General Dentist, is proud to offer Invisalign Braces for both teens and adults.