Why Should I Take My Child to a
A Pediatric Dentist is a dental specialist specifically trained
and dedicated to the oral health of children with an emphasis
on monitoring their facial growth and development. At Small Smiles we are designed to care for and treat children from infancy
through adolescence. We also specialize in the care for children
with special medical or physical needs.
Why does Small Smiles Treat Baby Teeth?
Primary or baby teeth are designed to function throughout the
childhood years. In fact, baby molars usually are not lost until
the pre-adolescent years (12-14 years of age) Baby teeth not only
help aid in proper digestion of food, they also are important
in the development of children's jaws and facial structures. Another
important function of baby teeth is to provide space in the jaws
to guide the permanent teeth into proper position. Baby teeth
have relatively thin enamel, and can become decayed or infected
faster than permanent teeth. These infections can affect the developing
permanent teeth. A healthy, disease-free mouth creates a strong
environment for permanent teeth and jaws to develop and grow.
What are Sealants?
Made from a tooth colored (white) plastic material, sealants are flowed into the deep grooves and pits on the chewing surface of a tooth. Sealants shield away harmful bacteria and food.
How do Sealants Work?
Even children who take good care of their teeth by proper brushing
and flossing are at risk for cavities. Toothbrush bristles are
often too thick to reach into pits and fissures of certain teeth. Bacteria, plaque and food build-up in these pits place those teeth
at risk of decay. Sealants work by "sealing" or covering the pits
so harmful food and bacteria cannot collect there, thus greatly
reducing the risk of cavities on the chewing surface of those
Which Teeth Should be Sealed?
Typically, the permanent six- and twelve-year molars are most
at risk for dental decay. However, any tooth (baby or permanent)
with deep pits may benefit from the protection of dental sealants.
What if My Child has a Thumb Sucking or Pacifier Habit?
Infants and young children will often use thumbs, fingers or
pacifiers to satisfy their sucking needs. Most children grow out
of their "oral phase" by the age of four. At this age, most dental
problems associated with oral habits will self correct. After
permanent teeth begin to erupt, the chances for tooth and jaw
correction from an oral habit decrease significantly.
At Small Smiles, we feel positive reinforcement is the best
way to motivate your child to quit their oral habit. If your child
is over the age of five and you are out of ideas to help them
stop their habits, please talk with Dr. Dave. A more aggressive
approach may be appropriate. There are many options, including
retainers or consulting with Oromyofacial Specialists that we
can recommend to help your child.
What are Nerve Treatments?
If a baby tooth is infected, Dr. Dave may recommend the procedure
of removing the unhealthy part of the nerve in that tooth. The
procedure is called a Pulpotomy. Baby teeth respond well to the
removal of the infected portion of the nerve while the healthy
portion of the nerve is preserved. The decay is removed and medicine
is placed over the healthy portion of the nerve. The tooth is
then lined with a temporary filling and a silver crown is usually
placed over the tooth to prevent it from fracturing. This procedure
allows the tooth to remain in the mouth until the permanent tooth
What if My Child has Special Needs?
At Small Smiles we welcome children with special needs. Dr. Dave completed two additional years of Pediatric Training
after graduating Dental School with an emphasis on children with
special needs. Some of these children are at a higher risk for
tooth decay, gum disease or dental malocclusions, while others
require special diets or medication, which can affect their oral
health. Children with physical impairments, which may affect their
ability to maintain good oral habits, will get extra attention
from Dr. Dave to ensure proper dental care is available. Our office
is architecturally designed to be physically accessible for any
physical challenge. Small Smiles prides itself on specialized
dental care so every child can enjoy a healthy smile.
What if My Child has a Dental Emergency?
If your child has a dental emergency, please call our office
as soon possible at 630.527.8686. We will always have time to
see your child in pain. If it is an after hours emergency, a pager
number will be given on the answering machine.
Our schedule may be delayed to accommodate an injured child.
Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause
at your child's scheduled appointment.
If your child knocks out a permanent tooth, the first hour is
the most critical for treatment and future long-term success.
Gently rinse the tooth in water but do not scrub the root or you
may damage the delicate living cells on its surface. If possible,
gently place the tooth back into its socket. If this is not possible,
place the tooth in a glass of milk, not water, and contact the
office immediately. If the knocked-out tooth is a baby tooth,
do not try to put it back in your child's mouth. Dr. Dave will
normally not attempt to re-implant the tooth, as this may cause
trauma to the underlying permanent tooth.
If your child's tooth is fractured, rinse their mouth with warm
water and place a cold compress on their face over the broken
tooth to reduce swelling. Call our office immediately.
Abscessed Tooth/Swollen Gums
If the swelling is small and well defined or a bump on the gums
is visible, call the office for antibiotics. Please inform us
if your child has any new drug allergies.