Pediatric Dentists – What We Do

Pediatric Dentists – What We Do

Personalized Treatment Plans and Consultations

Every child is unique and requires a personalized approach to oral health.  This begins with getting to know your child and introducing him, or her, to the office.  We know that this is a new environment for your child and we realize that it can be a lot to take in.  That is why we take slow steps using the “tell-show-do” technique.  By doing this, we can make their first, and subsequent visits as fun and exciting as possible.

Introducing the office to your child is only part of what we do.  More importantly we are learning what your child is all about and what we need to do to win their trust and attention.  Then together, we can meet their specific emotional and dental needs.

When developing a plan to care for your child, we consider almost every detail of their medical and dental health as well as their emotional well being.  We often communicate with physicians and pediatricians prior to generating a plan.  Once a treatment plan is in place, Dr. Knight or Dr. Seman will always personally sit down with you and review your child’s care and answer any questions.  They pride themselves in educating parents and children about their teeth, focusing on prevention to avoiding future problems.

Behavior Management

It requires a great deal of trust to allow somebody to look into your mouth.  Every child differs in the amount of trust that they will initially give a dentist, as well as the manner in which they can learn to give that trust.  Dr. Seman, Dr. Knight, and their team have the natural ability to communicate with children.  They use kind words and friendly terms that children can understand and relate to.  Through this empathic approach, trust naturally follows.

Many of our rooms have televisions mounted in the ceiling and that way your children can watch their favorite program while their teeth are cared for.  If your child has a particular movie or television show that they would like to watch, we welcome you to bring it along.  A little distraction can go along way for any of us.

For over 25 years, our office has been treated thousands of children successfully with this trust.  We as a practice have chosen not to resort to oral conscious sedation, general anesthesia or putting children to sleep.  Due to the risks involved, we avoid such sedation procedures.  In addition to avoiding the risks of sedation, we find that by treating conscious children, we can help them become much more accepting of dentistry in general.

Special Needs Care and Patience

We treat every child based on their specific needs, and there are no exceptions.  Sometime, children require special care based on their medical condition.  This might mean that a child needs special attention due to a heart defect, or they have a genetic disorder.  Perhaps there are several complicating factors.  Dr. Seman and Dr. Knight have undergone extensive education and training that allows them to safely work with any child.  Over the years we have helped hundreds of special needs children and continue to welcome them into our office.

Dental Development and Orthodontics

Dr. Seman and Dr.Knight have both undergone training in orthodontics that allows them to recognize and treat many issues dealing with dental growth and alignment.  Early identification of specific orthodontic problems can prevent more serious problems later in life.  Early treatment can include:

  • correcting harmful habits (i.e. thumb sucking)
  • monitoring and guiding jaw growth
  • Guiding permanent teeth into the correct position
  • Creating a more pleasing arrangement of the teeth, lips, and face to improve the patient appearance and dental health.

Sometimes, a child or teenager requires an orthodontic specialist to correct their bite.  If that is the case, then we will be able refer to an orthodontist that will best meet the needs of you and your child.

Nutritional Guidance

A balanced diet supplies all the nutrients your child needs to grow.  It is also needed to develop and maintain healthy teeth and gums.  Equally important, a diet high in certain kinds of carbohydrates, such as sugars and starches, may place your child at extra risk for tooth decay.

A food with sugar or starch is safer to teeth if it is served with a meal, not as a snack.  Sticky foods, such as dried fruit or toffee, are not easily washed away from the teeth by saliva, water, or milk.  Therefore, they have more cavity-causing potential than foods that are more rapidly cleared from the teeth.  In addition, constantly eating, or “grazing” throughout the day can be just as damaging to teeth as a diet high in sugar.  Dr. Seman and Dr. Knight make it a point to review diet regularly with you and your children.  It is just as important to maintain a healthy diet as it is to brush and floss.

Nutritional tips to avoid cavities:

  1. Ask Dr. Seman or Dr. Knight to assess your child’s diet.
  2. Shop Smart! Do not routinely stock your pantry with sugary or starchy snacks.  Buy “fun foods” for special occasions.
  3. Limit the number of snack times; choose nutritious snacks.
  4. Provide a balanced diet, and save foods with sugar or starch for meal time.
  5. Do not put your child to bed with a bottle containing anything other than just water.  (even adding a touch of juice to the water for flavor can be enough to cause cavities)
  6. Choose sugar-free treats whenever possible.

Good Snacks

Cavity-Promoting Snacks

Cheese

Raisins and dried fruit daily

Fresh fruit

Fruit roll-up or fruit snacks

Vegetables

Juice

Yogurt

Chips

Popcorn

Soda

Dried meat

Graham crackers and cookies

Sugarless chewing gum

Sports/energy drinks

Nuts and seeds

Chewy granola bars

Plain Milk

Gummy bears or sticky candy

Rice cakes

fruit canned in syrup

Cherios

presweetened cereals

Oral Hygiene Tips and Tricks

Keeping your child’s teeth clean is important even before their first teeth grow in.  Bacteria that cause cavities have been found in children’s mouth before teeth are present in the mouth and can have the opportunity to get a strong foothold.  Once you can see the teeth, the risk of getting cavities begins.  Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a one-year-old to develop cavities on their first teeth.  Of course, nobody wants this to happen. Dr. Seman and Dr. Knight can discuss the key element specific to your child to avoid tooth decay.

In general, here are some tips:

    1. Before your child gets his/her first teeth:

      1. After nursing or feeding your child, it is important to gently clean the gums with a soft wash cloth.
        1. Residual food or milk can contribute to the colonization of cavity causing bacteria.
        2. Specialty xylitol infant wipes can be used instead of a washcloth if desired.
      2. You do not need to use toothpaste if the teeth are not present. If you choose to, use an infant training toothpaste that does not have fluoride.
      3. Remember that keeping your infants’s mouth clean is as important as keeping the rest of their body clean. Sometimes a child may cry when their teeth and gums are wiped just as they might cry with a bath or diaper change.  With a gentle touch, you know that you are not hurting them.  Additionally, getting an infant accustomed to having their gums cleaned will make oral hygiene much easier in their toddler years.
    2. After you can see an infant’s first tooth until after the first permanent tooth grows in (approximately age 6-7):

      1. Parent participation is the key!
        1. In general, young children do not have the manual dexterity and the know-how to thoroughly clean their own teeth.
        2. We ask that you have you child brush and give positive reinforcement.  You can then follow-up and do the effective brushing especially after the day’s last meal.
      2. Brush for about two minutes on all surfaces of the teeth and next to the gums.
        1. At least twice a day (after breakfast and after dinner) and after eating sugary food.  After the night-time brushing, if your child decides to have anything other than water, the teeth will need to be brushed again.
        2. Remember to take your time focussing in one area at a time.  It is much more effective to spend the two minutes going around the mouth once that to repeat areas over and over again.
        3. Make sure the bristle on the toothbrush are straight and not flared out.  Flared bristles will not clean teeth.  If you notice your child’s toothbrush bristle flaring on a recently purchased toothbrush, they are most likely chewing the toothbrush or using to much pressure.  If you cannot stop your child from damaging their toothbrush, then keep a special toothbrush that only you use for the effective cleaning… It will save you from buying a new toothbrush every week.
        4. Use toothpaste. If your child cannot spit the toothpaste into the sink, then use fluoride-free “training” toothpaste unless otherwise directed by Dr. Seman or Dr. Knight.
      3. Floss between all teeth at least once a day (night-time is best).
        1. Flossing is most effective when the teeth are touching, but is also beneficial where there are large gaps between teeth.
        2. The old string and fingers are most effective when used correctly.  But Dr. Seman and Dr. Knight can show you various flossing aids if necessary.
    3. When permanent teeth start to erupt, to adulthood:

      1. Every child and adolescent will have different amounts of manual dexterity and self motivation.
      2. Dr. Seman and Dr. Knight will be able to help you decide how much involvement is necessary. We like to say that you should help until you feel that they can do as well as you do brushing them. For motivated kids its 6, others 7-8 and for some it can be 9-10. We can provide disclosing tablet for you to use to demonstrate the areas where the child or you are missing. They are a great tool to monitor the child’s performance as they help visualize where the plaque still remains.
    4. During Braces:

      1. Teeth with braces will take longer to clean, and can take a lot of effort at first. Talk with Dr. Seman, Dr. Knight, or their team to discuss the best way to clean around braces… Sometimes a demonstration is necessary to truly understand how to clean around braces.

Restorative Procedures

When you are proud of your teeth, you smile.  This is true for everyone, including our children.  We encourage regular cleanings and check ups to maintain healthy teeth and bright smiles.  However, even the most diligent of individuals may need to restore their teeth.  Dr. Seman and Dr. Knight offer a wide range of esthetic options to prevent tooth decay, repair damaged teeth, and even improve esthetics and stability of the teeth.  We strive to leave you and you child smiling proudly for years.

The list of services we provide goes far beyond that which is discussed here.  If Dr. Seman or Dr. Knight see that your child would benefit from a procedure, they with be sure to discuss it with you in person.  Likewise, you are always welcome to ask questions about treatment. One thing is for sure, they love to talk about dentistry.

Dental Sealants:

If you look at your child’s back permanent teeth, you may notice small groves and pits in the tooth.  This is normal, it’s just the way the tooth was formed.  Unfortunately, food can hide in these grooves and can be difficult to clean out with a toothbrush.  Sealants are a protective barrier that keep food out of these grooves.  Most children will benefit from sealants on the molars which tend to grow in at ages 6 and 12.  If your child is a candidate for sealants, we will be sure to offer this very effective and long-lasting preventative service.

Dr. Seman and Dr. Knight are very particular when they place a sealant.  They have seen far too many inadequate sealants placed in other offices or school sealant programs. To be sure a sealant performs as effectively as possible they avoid shortcuts and always follow these steps. They begin by thoroughly cleaning out the groove to make sure that there is no residual debris or decay within the groove. Then, they isolate the tooth being sealed to make sure that your child isn’t exposed to uncured, or un-set, sealant materials.  After placing the sealant, it is polished and checked for maximum esthetics and durability.

Fillings and Crowns:

When a tooth gets a cavity, or part of the tooth is chipped or damaged, we often need to “restore” the tooth to its original shape and beauty.  Our office does not use amalgam/silver fillings.  We provide white fillings that are strong, durable and highly esthetic.  Even when it involves a front tooth, our patients frequently comment on how they can’t even tell a filling was placed.

When caps are necessary, we will only use esthetic(white) crowns for front teeth.  We want our children to smile confidently without the worry of showing silver in the front of their mouth.  Likewise, when your child smiles, we want you to be just as happy.

For adolescents and young adults, we offer porcelain crowns for all teeth in the mouth.  Porcelain and similar material have become the standard of strength and esthetics in dentistry.  We even offer single-appointment porcelain crowns avoiding a return visit, a messy impression, and a temporary crown. This technology is called Cerec and is quickly becoming the new standard for all ceramic permanent restorations(Hyperlink to Cerec written by Dave)

Esthetic and optional procedures:

Often, we have patients who feel self conscious because of the color, shape, or position of their teeth.  From bleaching, to veneers/crowns/bridges, to simple tooth movement, there is very little that we cannot do.  We also offer a variety of sports-guards, night-guards, and appliances designed to stop habits such as thumb sucking.  If you are concerned about your child’s teeth, we have a solution.

Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) is an Option

The sights, sounds, and sensations of dental treatment can create concern for many people.  It is no surprise that a child may feel anxious before or during treatment. Your child may need more support than a gentle, caring manner to feel comfortable.  Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a safe, effective agent with no lingering effects.  It is used to calm a child’s fear of the dental visit and enhance effective communication.  Additionally, it works well for children whose gag reflex interferes with dental treatment and can even make time pass quickly.

If you have questions about the use of nitrous oxide in our office, Dr. Seman and Dr. Knight will be happy to discuss it with you.  They have both been comprehensively trained and have had extensive experience with the use of the gas in dentistry. It is always the case that any potential need for your child to utilize this gas is thoroughly discussed with you PRIOR to its use and only AFTER your approval. The ultimate goal is to assure a positive experience for you and your child.