Pediatric Dentistry: Building Good Habits for Life
At Dennis R. Lockney, DDS, PA, pediatric dentistry is about more than bright, healthy smiles. Dr. Lockney wants to make sure your child’s visit is rewarding and fun, so there’s no fear of “next time”. Dr. Lockney takes the extra time to earn the trust of both you and your child, to make sure each trip to the dentist is a pleasant, calm experience.
We encourage you and your child to ask questions and are always happy to address any concerns you have as a parent. We offer empathetic oral health education and use simple explanations to answer your child’s questions and reassure them. If your child is anxious, ask us about laughing gas that could make their appointment more relaxing.
Your Child's First Visit To The Dentist
As a parent himself, Dr. Lockney understands that you want the best for your child. At Dennis R. Lockney, DDS, PA, we focus on providing the highest quality pediatric dentistry care possible. It’s completely normal for a child to be unsure or nervous about their first dental visit, but at Dennis R. Lockney, DDS, PA, they don’t have to be! Our practice is designed to make your child comfortable and excited to visit the dentist.
Pediatric Dental Checkups
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) advises that children be seen for a checkup every 6 months. These visits allow Dr. Lockney to closely monitor new changes in your child’s mouth and ensure that you, as a parent, have the information you need to promote continued oral health in your child. Dr. Lockney may suggest additional checkups if your child is more susceptible to cavities, or if your child is showing signs of orthodontic problems.
Dental fluoride treatments are safe and effective in decreasing the amount of cavities in children. Dr. Lockney often recommends fluoride treatments along with dental sealants to protect your child’s teeth. Fluoride acts as a shield for the tooth’s outer enamel and can actually reverse early dental decay in some children.
Pediatric Dental Sealants
Protective dental sealants are thin coats of plastic painted onto your child’s back teeth to protect their deep grooves and depressions from accumulating bacteria and food particles. Studies show that 88% of cavities in American school-aged children are caused by food and bacteria being caught in rear molars.
At Dennis R. Lockney, DDS, PA, our kids dental team typically applies a pediatric dental sealant to your child’s back teeth, premolars and molars. The sealant will last for several years, but we will continue to check it during your child’s regular dental appointments.
Tooth Colored Dental Fillings
Treatment for cavities in children depends on how severe the decay is as well as each child’s age and risk of future cavities. At Dennis R. Lockney, DDS, PA, we typically treat cavities with discreet, effective tooth-colored fillings.
Baby teeth are not as strong as adult teeth. If your child’s tooth suffers a large cavity, the bacteria can damage the pulp inside the tooth, causing pain and inflammation. When the soft tissue inside the pulp chamber becomes infected or inflamed, Dr. Lockney might recommend a pulpotomy - sometimes called a "baby tooth root canal". Instead of removing the entire tooth, Dr. Lockney will put a medicated filling into the pulp chamber to try to keep the remaining pulp inside the tooth alive and healthy.
Dental crowns are tooth-shaped coverings cemented to a badly damaged tooth to restore the shape and functionality of the tooth. Dr. Lockney may recommend a crown for your child’s tooth if it has a large cavity, was broken or chipped due to trauma, or if the tooth hasn’t developed correctly.
Gentle Tooth Extractions
Unfortunately, sometimes a child’s tooth may be too badly decayed to save. In this case, Dr. Lockney will perform a gentle tooth extraction. An extraction may also be recommended if the tooth is severely fractured or is crowding other healthy teeth.
Your child might need a space maintainer if they lose a tooth early or have a baby tooth extracted. If your child needs a space maintainer, Dr. Lockney will custom make it to fit your child’s mouth. It will keep the space where the baby tooth was lost open in order to allow the permanent tooth to come into place.
Baby teeth are vital to the healthy development of adult teeth and facial structure. If a space maintainer is not used, your child’s other teeth can shift into the open space and more invasive orthodontic treatment might be needed.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be extracted – but some do. In many situations, it’s best to pull the wisdom teeth before they jeopardize your child's smile as a whole. If your child's wisdom tooth growth can cause damage to neighboring teeth, or cannot fully erupt, we may consider extraction.
We will take an x-ray of your child's entire jaw, so we can see the size, location, and developmental stage of the wisdom teeth in consideration. At the earliest, wisdom teeth are removed in the mid-teen years, but third molars do not completely finish developing until closer to about 30 years of age.
If your child is anxious, has special needs, or just needs extra help staying calm and comfortable, Dr. Lockney may recommend laughing gas.
Laughing gas is a completely safe way to help children receive the dental care they need without anxiety or fear. Once the dental treatment is over, the gas will be completely out of their system after just a few minutes. Laughing gas is widely considered to be low risk and ideal for anxious pediatric patients.
At Dennis R. Lockney, DDS, PA, our goal is to always care for your child’s dental health in the safest way possible.
Dr. Lockney offers general dentistry services to the whole family.