Paul Gerber, DDS, MS and Grace Kwon, DDS Pediatric Dentistry
1300 University Dr. Ste 8 Menlo Park, CA 94025
Dental Radiographs (X-rays)
Radiographs (x-rays) are a vital and necessary part of your child’s dental diagnostic process. Without them, certain dental conditions can and will be missed.
X-rays detect much more than cavities. For example, X-rays may be needed to survey erupting teeth, evaluate an injury or plan orthodontic treatment. X-rays also allow dentists to diagnose and treat conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. When dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable and affordable.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends x-rays and examinations every 6 months for children with a high risk of tooth decay and less frequently for lower cavity risk children. Since every child is unique, the need for dental X-rays varies from child to child. Films are taken only after reviewing your child's medical and dental histories.
Pediatric dentists are very careful to minimize the exposure of their patients to radiation. Even though the risk of radiation is very small, lead aprons and shields are still used to protect your child.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your child has any of the following emergencies you may follow the instructions listed and then contact your pediatric dentist as soon as possible.
Toothache – Make sure the infected area is clean. This can be done by rinsing the mouth with water or using dental floss to dislodge any food particle that may be trapped causing the discomfort. If the face is swollen, contact your child’s dentist.
Primary (Baby) tooth knocked out-Contact your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. The baby tooth should not be replanted because of the potential for subsequent damage to the developing permanent tooth.
Permanent (Adult) tooth knocked out – Contact your pediatric dentist immediately. Find the tooth and if possible, replace the tooth in the socket immediately and hold it there with clean gauze or a wash cloth. If reinserting the tooth is not possible, put the tooth into a container of tooth saver (Hank's balanced salt solution) or milk and see your dentist immediately. When a permanent tooth is knocked out, time is very critical.
Permanent (Adult) tooth chipped or fractured - Contact your pediatric dentist immediately. If you can find the broken tooth fragment, place it in milk and bring it with you to the dental office.
Early Childhood Cavitiy (Decay)
Early childhood decay is very serious and can come from bottles and sippy cups. This situation comes from frequent and prolonged exposure of young teeth to sugary liquids such as milk, breast milk, formula, fruit juice and other sweet drinks. When a child is put to bed with a bottle of sugary liquid, the liquid sits on the teeth and gives plaque bacteria a chance to produce acids that attach to the tooth’s enamel. If a bottle is absolutely necessary for comfort at bedtime, it is best to fill it with only water.
Your child should visit a pediatric dnetist by age 1. This visit will establish a dental home for your child. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child's teeth.
Fluoride is a compound that contains fluorine, a natural element. Using small amounts of fluoride on a routine basis can help prevent tooth decay. Using too much or too little fluoride can damage the teeth, however. Too little fluoride will prevent the teeth from becoming strong and incapable of protecting against bacteria and cavities. Too much fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis which can cause white specks or streaks, pits or discoloration. It is very important to monitor the amount of fluoride that an infant and young child receives, especially during periods of important tooth growth. This can be done by only using smear layer of fluoride tooth paste.
Your child should use toothpaste with fluoride and the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. Parents should dispense toothpaste to prevent their young children from swallowing too much.
Our dental team is trained and committed to providing all children with the care they need and deserve, regardless of any disability or special health care need. It is very important that if an infant, child or adolescent visits our office and is unable to care for himself or herself, that the individual is accompanied by someone with whom he or she has daily contact. This person, whether it be a parent, grandparent or caregiver, must be involved in preventive care, oral health and a healthy diet.
Our team will provide you with the gentle and special attention that your special needs child deserves. We find it very rewarding to work with the special needs population and to play an integral part in their dental health.
Many young children suck their thumb, fingers and other objects because it is a natural comforting reflex. The act of sucking provides a sense of security and can be relaxing to children. Thumb sucking may appear innocent, but if it persists it can damage the eruption of permanent teeth. Teeth can come in crooked and overall proper growth of the mouth can be affected. Children generally outgrow thumb sucking, but it should be stopped by the time the permanent front teeth come in. Pacifiers are just as harmful to the teeth as sucking on thumbs, fingers or objects.
To help your child work through thumb sucking you can:
1.Reward your child when he/she does not suck during a difficult time.
2.Don’t scold your child for sucking, praise them for not doing it instead.
3.Talk with your pediatric dentist regarding other ways to stop your child from
General anesthesia may be indicated for children with extensive dental needs who are extremely uncooperative, fearful or anxious. It also can be helpful for children requiring significant surgical procedures or patients having special health care needs.
Although thre is some risk associated with general anesthesia, it can be used safely and effectively when administered by an appropriately-trained individual in an appropriately equipped facility. Precautions are taken to protect your child during general anesthesia; personnel who are trained to manage complications will monitor your child closely.
Sealants protect the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, especially the chewing surfaces of back teeth where most cavities in children are found. Sealants are BPA-free and are applied to the grooves of the teeth to reduce your child's risk of developinting dental cavities.
The application of sealants is quick and comfortable. It only takes one visit. The tooth is first cleaned. The tooth is then conditioned and dried. The sealant is then flowed onto the grooves of the tooth and allowed to harden with a special light. Your child will be able to eat right after the appointment.
Reference: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry <http://www.aapd.org>