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Regular Exams and Cleanings
Regular exams are an essential part of maintaining your child’s oral health. During your son or daughter’s regular exam, we will:
- Check for any problems that may not be seen or felt
- Look for cavities or other signs of tooth decay
- Inspect the teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease
- Perform a thorough teeth cleaning
Each regular exam includes a detailed teeth cleaning, during which we will clean, polish, and rinse the teeth to remove any tartar and plaque that have built up on the tooth’s surface.
Visiting our office every six months gives you the chance to ask Dr. Kramer and Dr. Bunin any questions you may have about your child’s oral health. Regular exams are offered by appointment only, so please contact our practice today to schedule your little one’s next dental exam and teeth cleaning.
Bonding is a conservative way to repair slightly chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. During dental bonding, a white filling is placed onto your child’s tooth to improve its appearance. The filling “bonds” with the tooth. Because it comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades, it closely matches the appearance of your child’s natural teeth.
Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and can usually be completed in one visit to our office. However, it can stain and is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments. If it does break or chip, let us know. The bonding can generally be easily patched or repaired in one visit.
Sometimes we find decay on a “baby” tooth that has been there a long time. The decay can destroy a significant amount of tooth structure. When this happens, a filling is not the best choice to restore the tooth. For these cases, we have preformed, stainless-steel crowns specially designed by 3M for “baby” teeth.
Stainless steel crowns have proven to be a very successful restoration for large cavities on primary teeth. They’ll last as long as the remaining time the primary tooth would have lasted, and their failure rate is very low.
If an anterior primary tooth needs a crown, we do have aesthetic alternatives.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt.
At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth at risk, so either Dr. Bunin or Dr. Kramer may recommend its removal. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.
When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, Dr. Kramer and Dr. Bunin may extract it during a regular checkup or request another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within the jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and the tooth is held in that socket by a ligament.
In order to extract a tooth, the dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament that holds it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is worthwhile to share with the doctor any concerns or preferences for sedation.
Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings placed by Dr. Kramer and Dr. Bunin, will be tooth-colored fillings called composites. Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are typically used on the front teeth or back teeth where a natural appearance is important. Direct fillings are placed directly into a prepared cavity in a single visit.
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay, and in preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface. A fluoride treatment in a dentist’s office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, your son or daughter will be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your child’s oral health or the doctor’s recommendation, a fluoride treatment may be required every three, six, or 12 months.
Whether your child wears braces or not, protecting his or her smile during sports is essential. Mouthguards help protect the teeth and gums from injury. If your child participates in any kind of full-contact sport, the American Dental Association recommends that he or she wear a mouthguard.
Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from a dentist. When you choose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well-fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent your child from breathing properly.
Dr. Kramer and Dr. Bunin can show your child how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard to protect his or her smile.
If your little one often wakes up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or you see your child clenching or grinding his or her teeth, your child may have a common condition called “bruxism”. Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth, since it often occurs when one is sleeping. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, or even tooth loss.
There is an easy, non-invasive treatment for bruxism: nightguards. Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding causes over time. Custom-made by Dr. Kramer and Dr. Bunin from soft material to fit the teeth, a nightguard is inserted over your child’s top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth.
In the past, if your son or daughter had a permanent tooth with a diseased nerve, he or she would probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called “root canal treatment”, your child’s tooth can be saved.
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your child’s jawbones, but it is also be detrimental to his or her overall health.
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, Dr. Kramer and Dr. Bunin will remove the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite.
If the tooth has extensive decay, your doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breaking. As long as your child continues to care for his or her teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, the restored tooth can last a lifetime.
Sometimes brushing is not enough, especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach spots in your child’s mouth. It is difficult for a toothbrush to get between the small cracks and grooves on your little one’s teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give your child’s teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.
Dental sealants consist of a plastic resin that bonds and hardens in the deep grooves on your child’s tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, brushing your child’s teeth becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.
Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth as a preventive measure against tooth decay after the permanent teeth have erupted. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and your child’s dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.
Sealants last from three to five years, but it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact, so if your youngster’s sealants come off, let us know, and schedule an appointment for your child’s teeth to be re-sealed.
Wisdom teeth are molars found in the very back of your child’s mouth. They usually appear in the late teens or early twenties, but they may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry.
When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, your child may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.
Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier as well as shorten the recovery time.
In order to remove a wisdom tooth, Dr. Kramer or Dr. Bunin first needs to numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Since the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and embedded in your jaw bone, the dentist will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth.
In order to minimize the amount of bone that is removed with the tooth, the dentist will often “section” the wisdom tooth so each piece can be removed through a small opening in the bone. Once your child’s wisdom teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction, healing time varies. Dr. Bunin and Dr. Kramer will share with you what to expect and provide instructions for a comfortable, efficient healing process.
Sometimes a primary tooth is lost before the permanent tooth beneath it is ready to erupt. The most common causes for this are cavities and injuries. If your child loses a tooth prematurely, we may recommend a space maintainer.
A maintainer is an appliance that holds open the space left by the lost tooth. The space maintainer helps prevent the nearby teeth from shifting into the vacant space.
If this happens, when the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, it may not have enough room or may erupt in a wrong position. Once the spacer is in place, the eruption of the permanent tooth is monitored and when the time is right, the spacer is removed.