Dental Cleaning

Preventive dental care is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. We see no shortage of tooth decay in our practice; in fact, it is overwhelming at times. We feel it is necessary to see children regularly for preventive care.

We also feel it is important to educate both children and their parents as to the importance of oral health care, and the sooner you start the better. At our dental hygiene appointments, it is our goal to accomplish that.

If your child is scheduled for a hygiene appointment, one of our hygienists will check for tartar and plaque; then clean and polish your child’s teeth. During this time she will also review age-appropriate brushing and flossing and answer any questions you may have about cavity prevention or dental hygiene. The hygienist may ask to take x-rays of your child’s teeth.

Dr. Fishbaugh, Dr. McCrea, or Dr. Kilgore will perform a thorough exam checking for cavities, evaluating growth and development and any other concerns. Their findings and recommendations will be discussed and they will gladly answer your questions about the recommended treatment or dental health in general.

Fluoride

Fluoride helps to strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay. It is naturally found in water in small amounts, as well as in some foods such as meat, eggs, tea and fish. In our office, fluoride is applied after the teeth are cleaned.

We typically use a gluten-free fluoride gel that is brushed on the teeth. For children who are at a high risk for cavities, we sometimes use a fluoride varnish that sticks to the teeth a bit longer. For some patients, we will recommend supplemental fluorides when appropriate. Numerous clinical studies have been done that have reported the safety and efficacy of topical fluoride, but it is very important to remember that fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay. It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.


Dental Sealants

Dental Sealants are mainly used to protect the chewing surfaces of the permanent back teeth (molars).

The first of these molars grow when children are about six years old. Another set comes about six years later. Sealants are used as a preventive measure against tooth decay. They fill in the nooks, crannies and crevices on the chewing surface where cavities can begin. They lower the risk of tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of molars.

Digital X-Rays

Dental x-rays, (radiographs) provide us with information we cannot visibly see. Primarily they help diagnose dental decay but also reveal dental problems or anomalies like cysts, bone loss or other dental abnormalities.

A panographic x-ray (panorex) is taken to provide information regarding the growth, development and position of developing teeth and supporting tissues. Patients often ask if dental x-rays are safe. When using precautions as outlined by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association, x-rays are safe. Furthermore, we use digital x-rays that use even less radiation than traditional x-rays. Dental x-rays are not taken on every visit—we regularly review each patient’s unique situation and request x-rays only when necessary based on medical and dental history, regular screenings, age considerations, and risk for cavities.


White Fillings

White fillings, unlike silver fillings, are bonded (glued) onto your teeth.

The vast majority of fillings we place in our office are white. White fillings, unlike silver fillings, are bonded (glued) onto your teeth. They are best for small cavity restorations and ideal for stained or irregular front teeth. There are still a limited number of situations where a silver filling may be a better alternative. If this is the case with your child, we will discuss our recommendations in detail with you prior to any treatment.

Crowns

When cavities are very large, they cannot always support a filling. In these cases, we cover the tooth with a stainless steel or white crown.

In our opinion, we feel this is one of the best restorations in pediatric dentistry. Baby teeth are at greater risk of decay on all surfaces of the teeth and because they are smaller than permanent teeth fillings can be at a great risk of fracture. By covering the tooth with a cap, it will protect the tooth until it is ready to fall out. If this is the case with your child, we will discuss our recommendations in detail with you prior to any treatment.


Tooth Extractions

We routinely extract primary teeth in our office. Extractions are usually needed for infected/abscessed teeth, over-retained baby teeth and for orthodontics.

Extraction of primary (baby) teeth do not usually present the risks and challenges that are associated with permanent (adult) teeth. We certainly understand that needing a “tooth pulled” can be an anxious time for both the child AND the parent. Be assured that if this is a procedure necessary for your child, we will review it detail with you.

SPACE MAINTAINERS

Space maintainers are custom-made, metal appliances cemented (glued) to the teeth. Properly used space maintainers will keep teeth from “shifting” and can help reduce the risk for orthodontic correction later.

Primary (baby) teeth usually stay in place until the permanent tooth comes in to replace it. Ideally, baby teeth should be preserved until the adult teeth push them out naturally. Unfortunately, some children lose baby teeth too early. In these situations a space maintainer is placed to save room in the mouth for the adult teeth. Space maintainers are custom-made, metal appliances cemented (glued) to the teeth. Properly used space maintainers will keep teeth from “shifting” and can help reduce the risk for orthodontic correction later.


Dental Emergencies

If your child has a dental emergency during our office hours please call and we will see your child promptly. Our office also provides emergency coverage after hours and over the weekend.

Accidents happen. If your child has a dental emergency during our office hours please call and we will see your child promptly. Our office also provides emergency coverage after hours and over the weekend. If you have a dental emergency after hours, please call our office at 574-273-8393. Contact information for the dentist on call is on our recorded message.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation

Nitrous Oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas, is a mild form of sedation we use quite frequently for children who visit our office. Nitrous Oxide is used to help our patients relax during their visit, and to receive dental treatment in a comfortable and safe manner.

Nitrous oxide induces a feeling of relaxation. Some kids will become giddy or get a big smile on their face, thus, the term, “laughing gas.” Nitrous Oxide is perhaps the safest sedative in dentistry. It is well tolerated, having a rapid onset, and is reversible, can be adjusted in various concentrations and is non-allergenic.

Nitrous oxide is mixed directly with oxygen and breathed in through the nose and as the gas begins to take effect, we use colorful adjectives to describe the relaxed feeling, like “Floating in the chair,” or “Felling squishy like a marshmallow.” Children sometimes state their arms and legs may feel “tingly” as well. The gas has a sweet smell and we often offer a variety of “flavors” (like root beer and watermelon) that help make for a very pleasant experience.

The effects of nitrous oxide are very good and well-received by our patients. It raises the pain threshold and may even make the time appear to more pass more quickly. If your child is worried about having dental treatment, most always he or she may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide. In addition, it reduces the gag reflex which can interfere with effective dental treatment.

When used at appropriate dosages nitrous oxide is very safe to use during treatment and has no lingering side effects. It is eliminated from the body quickly after the gas is turned off. It will not put your child to sleep—he/she will remain awake during the entire procedure. When we are finished, the nitrous oxide gas will be turned off and typically let the patient breath oxygen for a few minutes.

It is important to note that nitrous oxide is not a replacement for local anesthesia (“novocaine”). It does, however, significantly minimize anything that a child would perceive as noxious or uncomfortable. With nitrous oxide, most children don’t even realize that we “numbed their tooth.”

In a very small percentage of children Nitrous oxide may not be effective, especially those children who have severe anxiety, nasal congestion or discomfort wearing a nasal mask. We will review your child’s medical history, level of anxiety, and treatment needs and inform you if nitrous oxide is recommended for your child.



General Anesthesia

The vast majority of children in our practice can be managed very well by Dr. Fishbaugh, Dr. McCrea, and Dr. Kilgore. They are both very experience in managing children’s behavior. However, some children present unique treatment challenges that required a different approach. Children with acute anxiety, extensive treatment needs, pre-cooperative behavior, or special health care needs are often candidates for treatment under general anesthesia. 

Have Questions?

If you have specific questions regarding any treatments, products, or services provided and would like additional information, please fill out the form below and we will respond within two business days.