1. When should my child first see a dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your
child see a pediatric dentist by their first birthday. As dental
problems can start early, the earlier the dental visit the better.
2. How often should my child or I see the dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American
Dental Association recommend a dental check-up at least twice a year
for most children and adults. However, some children and adults
require more frequent visits due to increased risk of tooth decay or
a need for more frequent dental cleanings due to braces, poor oral
hygiene and increased risk of periodontal disease. Your dentist will
evaluate you or your child's specific needs and recommend a dental
3. What are dental sealants? How long do they last?
A sealant is a hardened plastic material that helps protect the
grooves and pits on the chewing surface of the teeth from getting
decayed. Sealants can last anywhere from one to five years depending
on the patient's eating habits. Avoidance of sticky, sugary foods,
which can "pull" at the sealants will help them last longer.
4. What is nitrous oxide? Is it safe?
Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous
oxide. When it is inhaled, it has a calming effect on the patient.
The relaxed state it produces in the patient allows him to respond
more favorably to treatment. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is very safe. You
or your child remain fully awake and alert and can respond easily to
stimuli. It is eliminated quickly from the body with normal
breathing, however, for adult patients it is recommended that you do
not drive for one-half hour after treatment.
5. Why fill a baby tooth if it will only fall out eventually?
A baby tooth saves space for the permanent teeth and helps guide
them into position. If the baby tooth is lost too soon due to decay
or trauma, the teeth beside it may tilt or shift into the empty
space. Permanent teeth will not have room to come in properly,
creating a crowded condition or crooked teeth. This condition can
lead to extensive and costly orthodontic treatment if a space
maintainer is not put in to hold the space. It is less expensive to
restore a tooth than replace it with a space maintainer. Remember:
some baby teeth are not replaced until a child is 10 or 12 years
6. What type of sterilization techniques does your office
Our philosophy is to use as many disposable items as possible.
Prophy cups, water sprayers, suction tips and the like are
single-use only and thrown out after each patient. The chair and
other areas in the treatment room are cleaned with a sterilant/disinfectant
that kills bacteria and viruses. All items that cannot be disposed
of, such as handpieces and instruments are rinsed, scrubbed with a
brush and placed in an ultrasonic cleaner to remove debris. After
the debris has been removed, they are placed in one of our two steam
autoclaves that sterilize using extremely high temperatures and
pressure. We also use a gas (ethylene oxide) sterilizer for items
that cannot be sterilized with heat (i.e. plastic instruments,
rubber items, and the like.)