Growth & Development
Every examination includes an assessment of your child’s developing teeth and any spacing/crowding of the jaw. This assessment is vital to determine if early braces (orthodontic intervention) will be needed to prevent crowding and appearance issues as your child’s teeth grow. Sometimes such interventions at a younger age will save you money in orthodontics and painful jaw problems for your teenager later on.
Your child’s teeth will be examined to determine the extent of tooth decay prior to recommending restorative treatment. We will always discuss your child’s treatment options with you beforehand in full detail. Depending on the extent of the decay, the treatments may include tooth-colored composite fillings for smaller cavities, full coverage restoration (tooth-colored or stainless steel) for teeth that have more advanced decay or, in severe cases, an extraction and appropriate space maintenance.
Behavior Management & Sedation/Anesthesia
At Tooth & Co Pediatric Dentistry we see many different children with many different challenges. While some children will accept dental treatment without complication, others have more anxiety and express more emotion during such procedures. Dr. Ellie will assess your child's anxiety level and recommend the appropriate behavior management technique. We all share the same goal: to complete your child's dental treatment in a safe, comfortable setting. These goals may be reached through the help of sedative materials to relax and comfort your child.
Tell. Show. Do.
We use this technique on virtually all young patients. We explain to our patients what we’re going to do. We show them what we’re going to do. And then we do it.
Nitrous Oxide (Happy Air)
Many children are calm, at ease, and secure in a pediatric dental office. Sometimes, however, a child feels anxious during treatment. Your child may need more than a gentle, caring manner to feel comfortable. We offer nitrous oxide/oxygen (sometimes called happy air) to make treatment easier for your child, who is mildly anxious. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes nitrous oxide/oxygen as safe and effective for treating children.
Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. When inhaled, it is absorbed by the body and has a calming effect. Normal breathing eliminates nitrous oxide/oxygen from the body. Your child will smell a sweet, pleasant aroma and experience a sense of well-being and relaxation. If your child is worried by the sights, sounds, or sensations of dental treatment, he or she may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen.
Nitrous oxide/oxygen is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is non addictive. It is mild, easily taken, and then quickly eliminated by the body. Your child remains fully conscious, keeps all natural reflexes, when breathing nitrous oxide/oxygen. Beneficial effects of nitrous oxide include the following:
- reduced anxiety
- pain reduction
- altered perception of time (appointments seem shorter)
- visual fear reduction (nose mask blocks child's view of dental instruments and other things that could potentially frighten the child)
Tell Dr. Ellie about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child. It may limit the effectiveness of nitrous oxide/oxygen. Also tell Dr. Ellie if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment. Dr. Ellie and her staff know that all children are not alike! Every service is tailored to your child as an individual. Nitrous oxide/oxygen may not be effective for some children, especially those who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion, extensive treatment needs, or discomfort wearing a nasal mask. Dr. Ellie has comprehensive training and can offer other sedation methods that are right for your child.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Sedation can help increase cooperation and reduce anxiety and/or discomfort associated with dental treatment. Various medications can be used to sedate a child; medicines will be selected based upon your child’s overall health, level of anxiety, and dental treatment recommendations. Once the medications have been administered, it may take up to an hour before your child shows signs of sedation and is ready for dental treatment. Most children become relaxed and/or drowsy and may drift into a light sleep from which they can be aroused easily. Unlike general anesthesia, sedation is not intended to make a patient unconscious or unresponsive. On rare occasions some children may not experience relaxation but an opposite reaction such as agitation or crying. In any case, Dr Ellie and her staff will observe your child’s response to the medications and provide assistance as needed. If you have any questions about the sedation process, please see Oral Conscious Sedation and ask to speak to Dr. Ellie Sakhi.
What Is It?
Anesthesia is defined as the loss of feeling or sensation with or without a loss of consciousness. In reality, anesthesia does more. In addition to keeping your child pain free during surgery, anesthesia controls the body’s reaction to stress and relieves the fear and anxiety almost always associated with surgery. One of the most important roles of an anesthesiologist is to evaluate your child’s medical status preoperatively. Dr. Ellie requires a pre-operative health history and physical prior to your child’s dental surgery. The physical would be scheduled with your current general practitioner or pediatrician.
Why would a child need general anesthesia just to have teeth fixed?
Unfortunately, many children suffer from serious, potentially painful dental diseases. Unlike such health conditions as colds and flu, dental diseases won’t go away on their own. When treatment is required for a serious dental condition, general anesthesia may be recommended to make delivery of that required treatment possible in a safe and comfortable manner. Without treatment dental caries can adversely affect learning, communication, nutrition, and other activities necessary for normal growth and development of your child. When a child with disabilities needs extensive dental treatment, general anesthesia is an accepted standard of care. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services support this standard. General Anesthesia is also an accepted standard of care for situations involving children who have limited comprehension or children who are extremely uncooperative and require dental care that is technically difficult or sensitive to deliver.
How safe is it to have general anesthesia?
Although there is some risk associated with general anesthesia, it can be used safely and effectively when administered by an appropriately-trained individual in an appropriately-equipped facility. Precautions are taken to protect your child during general anesthesia; personnel who are trained to manage complications will monitor your child closely. Dr. Ellie will discuss the benefits and risks of general anesthesia and why it is recommended for your child.