Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Pediatrics

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We want to make it easy for you to become an informed participant in your oral health care. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to help you feel comfortable asking us whenever you have a question. No question is ever silly, and we are here to help you with any concern you happen to have. 

We've gathered some of our most commonly heard questions here for you to look through. If your question isn't answered here or you'd like more information, don't hesitate to give us a call!

Pediatrics

A sealant is a term for a preventive procedure where the grooves in tooth’s surface are sealed with a resin dental material.  Most molars (back teeth) have grooves on the biting surfaces and sometimes these grooves extend to the sides of a tooth also.  These grooves can trap small bits of food and bacteria, and even perfect brushing techniques may not be able to remove and clean the deepest portions of these grooves.  Therefore, cavities frequently develop in these areas. 

It is recommended to have any susceptible grooves sealed to prevent cavities.  If there is stain or plaque in the grooves, they are first cleaned out with a tiny dental bur prior to being sealed in with dental material.  The procedure is quick, painless, and helps to prevent cavities from forming in these grooves. 

It is important to note that sealants are not as strong or long-lasting as fillings.  Sometimes a sealant may need to be re-applied if it wears down or comes loose over time.  It is also important to note that although sealants greatly reduce the incidence of cavities, nothing eliminates the possibility altogether.  A diet high in sugars and carbohydrates combined with poor brushing habits can always lead to cavities. 

While guidelines state that children should see a dentist by age one, the reality is that there is little that needs to be done for most one year olds, assuming that they are receiving proper care and nutrition at home. Of course, if a parent suspects that there may be a problem, a dentist should examine the child, regardless of age.

Dr. Wahlers’s children both received their first polish and ride in the chair at about the age of two and a half. Some parents prefer to wait until their child is three years old. It also depends a great deal on the temperament of the child.

We do encourage parents to bring their children with them to their cleanings. This is a great way to introduce children to the dental office so that they can see that it’s not a scary place and that getting their teeth cleaned is a normal thing to do. Plus, kids tend to have a lot of natural curiosity, and we can answer their questions using language they can understand and show them the instruments we use. By the time it’s their turn, they’ll often be quite eager to have their first cleaning!

If you have any questions about children’s dentistry, feel free to call our office and we’ll be happy to help!

We encourage parents to bring your young child with you for your check up and cleaning, and allowing them to color, read, or play on an electronic device during your visit (as long as they can sit still!)  This will introduce them to the dentist and the staff and make them comfortable and familiar with the office for when it is their turn.

  
At the child’s first visit, usually between the ages 2-4 (depending on their cooperation and enthusiasm), we keep it very brief and positive.  Young children are typically very cooperative, but for only a short period of time.  Allowing a stranger to look in their mouth is usually tolerated for a few minutes, but not too much longer.  We count the teeth, examine them for decay or problems, polish the teeth and give a prize to the child.  At successive visits, more and more can be completed.  It usually takes a few visits (therefore years) to work up to the full extent of a dental visit which may include X-rays, cleaning and polishing, fluoride treatment, and examination.

 
 Dr. Wahlers believes that positive dental experiences at a young age are extremely important.  Our youngest patients leave our office smiling, with a new brush and a prize.  Most of them are excited to return for their next visit!  If you have any questions about your child’s visit, feel free to call.

 

We see many children in our general dental office, providing very similar care to them that we provide to our adult patients.  Children should be seen at regular six month intervals for check-ups which include a cleaning, examination and fluoride treatment.  Dental X-rays are usually recommended with a typical interval of once every two years to check for cavities and the development of the adult dentition.  As with all of our patients, treatment is tailored to the individual, and not all patients receive exactly the same treatment.  Differences in treatment schedules may depend upon the age of the patient ( i.e. a 3 year-old may not be able tolerate having X-rays taken), other risk factors (i.e. children who have a history of developing cavities may benefit from more frequent X-rays or fluoride treatments), or personal preferences or medical conditions.  If needed, we also provide sealants and fillings for children.  In the event that more extensive work involving crowns or root canal treatment is needed, we occasionally refer to local pediatric dentists that are excellent.  Many of our adult patients first started coming to our practice as children, and remain patients to this day!

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Coronavirus Update: A Message to our Patients 

We are currently open (starting in June) for dentistry once again, with some modifications to our practice.  Please visit the link above or feel free to email us at [email protected] with any questions.