Early Screening and Evaluation
Kids Grins wants to be your child’s dental home. Establishing a “dental home” for your child can begin as early as the child’s first birthday, or about 6 months after the first tooth erupts. The health of the primary teeth are essential for chewing properly to maintain good nutrition, saving space for permanent teeth, and developing good speech habits. Dr. Stollman and her team are experienced in making dental visits a positive experience to help your child develop life-long beneficial dental habits.
Our dental examination will include an evaluation of the teeth, gums, and the growth and development of the jaw. We use this information to evaluate your child’s susceptibility to oral health issues such as dental decay, gum disease and/or need for orthodontic treatment, to create a treatment plan that leads to a healthy smile.
Prevention and Oral Hygiene
Routine exams and cleanings are the most important part of maintaining a healthy mouth. At each routine checkup, teeth are cleaned to remove plaque (bacteria) and calculus (hard plaque) that can cause gum disease and tooth decay. Topical fluoride is applied to the teeth to make them stronger and more resistant to tooth decay. A thorough cleaning and fluoride treatment every six months has been shown to be extremely effective way in preventing dental disease.
Oral hygiene and decay prevention can start as soon as teeth have erupted. After feedings, briefly wipe the gums/teeth with a clean damp washcloth or gauze pad. One of the leading causes of early tooth decay is putting the child to bed with a bottle-it is best to avoid this practice. Breast milk, formula, milk, and juice all contain sugars, that collect around the developing teeth. The resulting plaque bacteria can produce acids which begin to harm tooth enamel. As you child grows, avoid soda and excess juice throughout the day, both of which can cause decay. Avoid overconsumption of snacks with added sugar or chewy sugary candies.
One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay is to build oral hygiene into your child’s daily routine – build that HEALTHY SMILE FOR LIFE! Starting at age 1, we encourage you to brush your child’s teeth twice daily with a rice-grain sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. This amount is safe for your child to swallow and provides a healthy amount of fluoride for proper tooth development. Once a child knows how to spit toothpaste out, you can use a small (“pea-sized”) amount of toothpaste on a soft bristle toothbrush; at least twice daily. We encourage parents to help brush kids’ teeth for them until proper manual dexterity develops. Usually once a child can tie their own shoes, they are ready to brush their own teeth. Once-daily floss should be introduced as kids’ teeth start to touch and the early spaces between teeth close-often this is around age four. Making tooth time fun and part of your daily routine is key to establishing good oral health. Here is a link to some fun brushing songs I like.
Dental sealants are highly effective in preventing tooth decay on the biting surfaces of your permanent chewing teeth.
Dental sealants are a simple procedure in which a tooth-colored acrylic “coating” is painted onto the surface of the tooth. This effectively “seals” the deep grooves, acting as a barrier and protecting enamel from plaque and acids.
Sealants protect the depressions and grooves of your teeth from food particles and plaque that brushing and flossing can’t reach.
Easy to apply, sealants take only a few minutes to seal each tooth. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and can last several years before a reapplication is needed. Typically, sealants are applied once a child’s four permanent 6 year molars have erupted into the mouth.
Comprehensive Restorative Treatment
Small and moderate cavities can be restored with fillings. We are a mercury-free practice and we do not place amalgam (silver) fillings. Composite (resin based, tooth colored) are aesthetically pleasing and very strong thanks to new bonding technologies.
Stainless steel crowns are used to restore back teeth that are too badly decayed to hold fillings or in teeth that require a pulpotomy (see below). Stainless steel crowns, although silver, contain no mercury. They are a strong and durable choice for teeth with extensive decay.
A Pulpotomy is sometimes called a “baby root canal” or nerve treatment. This procedure involves removing the top portion of the tooth’s nerve and treating the remaining nerve with a material that disinfects, soothes and protects. A pulpotomy is necessary when decay has spread to the nerve of the tooth. Once a tooth has received this treatment we recommend that the tooth be given full coverage with a Stainless steel crown.
Extraction involves removing a tooth that has become infected or badly broken down and cannot be restored. In some cases when a baby tooth is extracted the placement of a space maintainer is recommended.
See sealant information in the Prevention and Oral Hygiene section above.
Space maintainers are used when a primary tooth has been prematurely lost, to hold space for the permanent tooth. If space is not maintained, teeth on either side of the extraction site can drift into the space and prevent the permanent tooth from erupting.
We are available to treat all types of dental emergencies such as dental infections and chipped or broken teeth. Our front desk staff strives to make same day visits available for dental emergencies If your child faces a dental emergency, give us a call immediately. If it is serious enough, we may instruct you to visit an emergency room. If you need urgent treatment after hours, please call our office and follow the prompts. We are always here to assist when your child’s dental health is at risk.
The first thing to remember is to stay calm. Injuries to the mouth, face and teeth occur frequently in children. Remaining calm and taking prompt action will help minimize the damaging effects of the injury, and lessen your child’s discomfort.
Our approach is to introduce children, especially the youngest ones, very purposefully to our dental procedures and processes. We believe that this well-researched technique successfully acclimates children to new surroundings, technology, and treatment. We often employ a special vocabulary aimed specifically for the youngest patients, for example, an X-Ray machine might be called a “Tooth Camera”; a suction straw, “Mr. Thirsty”. Moreover, when we add a new Team member, we will be sure to introduce your child to this person. Our goal is to gain and to keep the trust of your child so that we can deliver the treatment they need in a comfortable setting. All of our operatories are equipped with overhead TV’s where patients can watch their choice of programming during treatment, or they can choose their favorite music playlist to distract them from the other noises that may be unfamiliar to them.
Special Needs Care
We are committed to providing all children with a healthy confident smile regardless of their developmental or other special healthcare needs. We realize that each patient requires an individualized approach to deliver that beautiful smile! Some children may have special needs including physical, medical, developmental, cognitive, sensory or emotional impairment that require specialized services or interventions. Dr. Stollman is trained to diagnose and to treat dental problems in patients with special needs with the utmost care.
We offer familiarization visits for children to desensitize them and to make them comfortable in our office. Please let us know if your child would benefit from treatment in one of our quiet rooms.
Dr. Stollman will work to address their care at a pace which works well for your child, your family, and our team.
Nitrous Oxide ("laughing gas")
Nitrous oxide is a wonderful and safe way to relax apprehensive patients and patients with gag reflexes. Nitrous oxide is given through a small breathing mask which is placed over the child’s nose, allowing them to relax, without putting them to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes this technique as a safe and effective technique for treating children. The gas is mild and easily inhaled with normal breathing and is quickly eliminated from the body. It is non-addictive. While inhaling nitrous oxide, your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes.
Dr. Stollman is experienced with the best guidelines for using Nitrous Oxide and will discuss using this for a child so that the care may be delivered in a more relaxed and comfortable setting.
There may be times when young children and/or toddlers have extensive decay and are very afraid of the dentist. At Kids Grins we understand this, and make every effort we can to be as conservative as possible in our treatment approach. However, there are times when general anesthesia may be recommended and discussed with the parents. During this conversation, if the parents and Dr. Stollman agree it may be determined that general anesthesia is the best route to ensuring the safety of the child and to providing the optimal situation to safely care for the child’s teeth.
We have developed a special relationship with Nemours duPont at Bryn Mawr, a Pediatric surgical center that specializes in providing anesthesia safely for children. Dr. Stollman will work together with the surgical center to deliver safe and efficient care for your child.
If general anesthesia is the route we do take, rest assured all necessary treatment is completed in that one visit.