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Pediatric Dentistry Puts Smiles on Children’s Faces

Pediatric dentistry covers the health of children’s teeth from infancy through adolescence. Common treatments include cleanings, dental sealant and restoration of damaged or decayed teeth. Kids who receive good dental care throughout childhood have a better chance of enjoying a straight, white and healthy smile as adults.

Pediatric dentistry or pedodontics is the dental specialty that gives your child a head start at enjoying healthy teeth and a brilliant smile for life. Infants, children and teens can all benefit from seeing a specialist with the right training to identify, prevent and treat pediatric dental problems. Protecting developing teeth and providing early, consistent training in proper oral hygiene can help children avoid serious tooth and gum damage down the road. Keeping baby teeth healthy also gives kids a better shot at maintaining good nutrition and avoiding problems with speech development.

What Procedures Does Pediatric Dentistry Cover?

Dr. Meyers and Dr. Sullivan offers the following pediatric procedures:

Exams and Preventive Cleanings

Babies should have their first dental visit by age one or as soon as their first tooth comes in. These initial visits are mostly to establish an oral care routine and identify any risk factors (such as bottle feeding with fruit juice) that could lead to early dental caries (cavities). Children and teens are generally seen every 6 months for cleanings. The frequency of x-rays depends on whether a child has a tendency to get cavities or if they have other dental issues that need careful monitoring. Pediatric dentistry also involves identifying children who may need advanced intervention from an orthodontist or prosthodontist.

Gingivitis Treatment

Gingivitis (gum irritation and inflammation) is the earliest stage of gum disease. It is very common in teens since changing hormone levels can make gums extra-sensitive. Pediatric treatment of gingivitis involves removing dental calculus (tartar) that has built up below the gum line and offering instruction on proper at-home brushing and flossing to keep gingivitis in check.

Fluoride Treatment

Some children can benefit from the direct application of fluoride gel to limit the risk of dental cavities. This treatment is often recommended for kids in areas where drinking water is not fluoridated and for children who have a tendency to get cavities. Fluoride treatments come in many different flavors so kids have a choice about which one they receive.

Dental Sealants

The chewing surfaces of molars are especially cavity-prone. This is because the small pits and grooves can be too small for a toothbrush bristle to clean. Bacteria and food debris can accumulate here and lead to decay. A thin coat of clear resin material is painted onto the chewing surfaces of permanent molars where it hardens into a protective film and keeps bacteria out. Getting dental sealant is a pain-free procedure and may spare your child a lot of grief from cavities.

Fillings and Crowns

Unfortunately, many kids do still get cavities in their baby teeth and in their permanent teeth. Metal amalgam fillings are one option for restoring large areas of decay. However, tooth colored fillings made of dental composite are becoming more popular. Small cavities and small chips in front teeth are usually the best candidates for repair with dental composite. Large cavities in the back teeth may need metal fillings or restoration with crowns. Stainless steel crowns are typically used for repairing decayed or fractured baby teeth. Ceramic crowns are often used for permanent teeth.


This is a procedure similar to a root canal. It involves the removal of infected tooth pulp from a baby tooth. This technique stops the pain of toothache without removing the affected tooth. Restoring a tooth instead of pulling it helps keep the remaining teeth spaced properly. This can prevent problems like gaps and crowding when adult teeth start to come in later.


Children can often wiggle a loose tooth free on their own without much discomfort. But some baby teeth fragment when they start to come out (especially molars). Dental extraction ensures that all the pieces are safely removed. If a tooth has to be pulled early, a pediatric dentist can place a tooth spacer to ensure proper jaw growth and prevent the rest of your child’s teeth from moving out of alignment. Older kids are candidates for wisdom tooth removal. Preventive removal of wisdom teeth may reduce the chances of tooth crowding, gum inflammation and other oral health problems later.

Why Choose a Pediatric Dentistry Specialist?

Expertise and advanced training in childhood dental care is only part of the reason to see a pediatric dentist. “Chairside manner” is also a critical factor. Even many adults get nervous when they go to the dentist. Anxiety is often much more severe in children. They may be startled by the noise of instruments or strongly dislike the taste and feel of instruments and dental cleaning agents in their mouth. Dealing with discomfort or sitting still during a lengthy procedure is tough for many kids.

Children need the purpose of treatment and each step involved explained using non-frightening terms that they can understand. Some children may also need carefully administered sedation during more extensive procedures. Kids with special needs (such as autism or ADHD) may require additional assistance during treatment.

The staff members at Dr. Meyers and Dr. Sullivan’s office have the skills, experience and tools to help children have a positive experience. Bringing your child in for a visit even before they need their first cleaning is a good way to familiarize them with the comfortable and soothing environment of a pediatric dentist’s office. As a parent, knowing that your child doesn’t dread the dentist makes it much easier to provide the dental care they need and deserve.

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