To maintain your child’s oral health we expect to see them at least every six months for a checkup. Making these appointments in advance will increase the likelihood that your desired day and time will be available.
Delivery of Care
Our goal at Trailhead Pediatric Dentistry is to deliver efficient and quality care. We understand that your time is important and we will make every effort to stay on time. It is important that every caregiver understands that each child responds to dental treatment differently and thus may require more or less time to complete treatment. We attempt to schedule accordingly for every child’s needs, but sometimes due to emergency situations or unexpected behavioral problems this may not be possible. These situations require extra care and time. If this occurs we ask for your patience as your child will be given the same attention and care.
We understand that sometimes emergencies happen. If your child should require emergency treatment during office hours we will make every effort to treat them in a timely fashion. After hours the doctor can be reached using the emergency number given below.
At Trailhead Pediatric Dentistry, we focus on cavity prevention however in the event your child develops dental decay we offer a variety of in-office restorative procedures such as fillings, extractions, and crowns. We also offer limited early intervention orthodontic care including space maintenance and crossbite correction.
Cavity Prevention Therapy
Cavities are mostly preventable and as such the focus at Trailhead Pediatric Dentistry is prevention! Cavity prevention encompasses a wide range of information and tasks. Our job is to help you come up with a unique or individualized prevention plan for your child. Every child that comes in for a routine cleaning will receive the following in order to provide thorough and complete oral health care:
- Examination by a Pediatric Dentist
- Diet and oral health instruction for a healthy mouth
- Full cleaning with fluoride toothpaste and a rubber polishing cup
- Appropriate dental x-rays
- Fluoride application
When molars develop they form grooves and pits. These grooves and pits are ideal locations for food and bacteria to settle which then become difficult to remove as they become lodged deep within. If unable to be removed the bacteria will consume the food debris and a cavity will form. Grooves and pits of molar teeth are where most cavities in our mouths are found. Sealants can greatly reduce the risk of cavities forming in molars. A sealant is a resin material which is flowed into the grooves and pits filling and sealing them off so debris cannot enter them. Both primary or baby molars and adult molars and pre-molars can be sealed helping to reduce the risk of cavities.
Depending on the extent and depth of your child’s cavity several treatment options are available. Cavities that are small to moderate in size and depth can generally be restored with a filling. We offer both Composite or “white” fillings and Amalgam or “silver” fillings. Although Amalgam fillings have been regarded as a safe and effective restoration most fillings that we place are white. Composite fillings are tooth colored and can last for many years. If you would like your child’s fillings to be Amalgam we are happy to place them however they must be requested.
When cavities are very large, deep, or enter the pulp (nerve) of the tooth current and past studies recommend that a crown be placed over the tooth to both restore function and protect the tooth from further breakdown. For all front teeth including canines we offer white crowns that are both aesthetically pleasing and durable. Back teeth or molars are restored with stainless steel crowns. Both crown types are extremely durable and can last for many years. If your child’s cavity is deep and extends into the pulp or nerve of the tooth a procedure called a pulpotomy will be done. Some people like to refer to this procedure as a baby root canal. Although there are some similarities to root canal procedures that an adult may receive these are limited. A pulpotomy is a simple procedure which takes only a few minutes in which infected and inflamed tissue is removed from the crown of a baby tooth after which the void is filled with a medical paste or filler.
Sometimes children come to our office with a tooth that is either too sick to be restored or it is getting close to falling out. In these situations the cost or risk of saving the tooth simply does not make financial sense and extraction may be recommended. Extraction is a fancy word that means “pulling” or “wiggling” teeth. Baby teeth hold space for permanent teeth and if one is extracted early due to infection or another cause the risk of losing space needed for the adult tooth is high. Space loss can ultimately lead to tipping and crowding of permanent teeth which may lead to orthodontic or braces therapy in the future. If extraction is recommended the doctor may talk to you about placing a spacer. Spacers come in different shapes and sizes, but their main goal is to prevent the loss of space when missing key baby teeth.
Limited Early Intervention Orthodontics
Limited early intervention Orthodontics is performed on children who come to our office with very specific needs or complications. Although it is referred to as “orthodontics” this therapy only targets certain problems and is not a substitute for full braces when your child is older.
Limited early intervention orthodontics focuses on:
- Expanding narrow palates due to congenital or habit formed crossbites
- Crossbites found in the front teeth
- Space loss due to teeth falling out or being extracted early
- Molars impacted or stuck on baby teeth
- Strategically planned extraction of baby teeth
- Thumb sucking appliances
At Trailhead Pediatric Dentistry we prefer to complete dental procedures in the least invasive manner possible. Most children are able to complete treatment with nitrous oxide and local anesthetic, but some require higher levels of sedation. Generally, these patients are either very young, have a special need, or have extreme dental anxiety. In addition, some children simply require a lot of dental work and multiple visits may turn a cooperative child into a fearful or anxious one. For these children sedation dentistry provides a relatively safe and effective way to treat dental decay.
Trailhead Pediatric Dentistry offers several different methods of sedation in order to individualize treatment for each and every child. We utilize appropriately trained staff and healthcare professionals as well as current monitoring techniques designed to keep your child safe. The following methods of sedation are available to each patient dependent on their specific needs:
Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Our first sedation option is Nitrous Oxide or Mild sedation. In this process, we administer Nitrous Oxide, or “laughing gas.” Your child will be awake and able to respond, but in a state of mild to moderate relaxation. We believe that all children should have a pleasant experience at the dentist which is why we offer Nitrous Oxide to sooth the nerves and smooth the process.
Oral or Mild/Moderate Sedation
If your child is unable to have dental work completed using Nitrous Oxide and other treatment options are not available or advisable Oral or Mild/Moderate Sedation is available. Using this method your child will be given medication or “Silly Juice” orally to help relax and calm them. During this process your child will be monitored using pulse oximetry and blood pressure devices to assure that pertinent vital signs are at safe levels. They will be awake and responsive but very relaxed. Your child may experience blurry vision, loss of muscle coordination, say and do funny things and most likely forget what happened during the appointment. In most instances oral sedation works well and treatment can be completed in one to two visits.
Intravenous (IV) or Deep Sedation
When lower levels of Sedation are unsuccessful or it is decided that a higher of level of sedation would be more of a benefit to your child IV or Deep Sedation can be a useful tool. Whether your child experiences unsuccessful treatment appointments, is very young, battles high anxiety, or requires large amounts of treatment IV Sedation can be a good option. As with Oral Sedation your child will be given “Silly Juice” to help them relax. Once relaxed a trained anesthesia professional will place an IV and administer medications that help your child sleep while their dental work is completed. A nursing professional is also present to monitor your child before and after the IV sedation.
In rare instances, a child may not be able to be treated using one of the lighter forms of sedation. This can be for a variety of good reasons all of which will be discussed in greater detail with your dentist. For these patients we provide the option of general anesthesia at Northern Rockies Surgery Center. This is an outpatient facility very similar to a hospital but designed specifically for same day surgery. Your child will be under the direct supervision of a professional anesthesiologist throughout the entire procedure, not too unlike IV Sedation. If you have additional questions, please contact our office to speak directly with our sedation experts.
We’re always hear to listen to your concerns and provide you with all the info you need to make an informed decision regarding your child’s dental care.