Pediatric Dentist in Fort St. John
A child who cares for their teeth is more likely to have strong and healthy teeth in adulthood. We recommend scheduling your child's first visit for six months after their first tooth comes in to prevent decay. If you're worried about your children's dental health, our expert pediatric dentist will take care of it. Schedule an appointment at our Fort St. John location today.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends your child be seen for their first dental visit six months after their first tooth appears or at about one year of age. At the first visit, we will go over daily dental care instructions, discuss proper eating habits, and give tips for you to help your child have optimal oral health. Our goal is to make it a positive and informative experience for you and your child. It is also a great time to address any concerns of dental decay before there is an opportunity for it to progress further. Healthy baby teeth allow a child to eat properly, speak clearly, and guide adult teeth to grow correctly. Some baby teeth remain in the mouth until adolescence, making it extremely important to take good care of them. It is also essential to keep up with routine checks and treat any concerns as soon as they arise. If early childhood tooth decay is ignored or not treated quickly, it can lead to your child experiencing pain and infection.
A common childhood disease called "Baby Bottle Decay" can cause tooth decay to occur in infants and toddlers when put to sleep with a bottle of milk, juice or pop. Prolonged exposure to a bottle with these sugary substances can cause and speed up decay most noticed on the upper front teeth but may also affect teeth in other areas of the mouth. Bacteria that cause tooth decay can also be transmitted mouth to mouth. When a mother shares a feeding spoon or licks the soother before giving it to her child, she can pass on the harmful bacteria. If your child has no teeth, it is good to wipe the gums with a clean damp washcloth after feeding and begin daily brushing when the first tooth erupts. Encourage and teach your child to drink from a cup by the time they turn one year old. Fluoride is considered safe and effective against fighting tooth decay. Find out the recommended amount of fluoridated toothpaste to use depending on the age of your child. Children require a much smaller amount of fluoride toothpaste compared to adults.
There are several different dental procedures your child may require if dental decay is found at an exam appointment. In some cases, the decay may be small enough to not require any freezing for the filling. However, most often, freezing for a filling will be required to fill the tooth. Other times there may be more extensive treatment required, especially if there is gross decay or the decay has made its way into the nerve of the tooth. It may be necessary for a baby root canal, otherwise known as a pulpotomy, or worst-case scenario removal of the tooth if left with no other option. A stainless-steel crown or porcelain crown may be required if the tooth has had a pulpotomy, there is a large cavity close to the nerve, or more than half of the tooth surfaces require a filling.
Without even realizing it, parents inadvertently pass fear or anxiety onto their children by mentioning the needle, saying it will hurt, or telling their children they themselves are afraid of the dentist. When a child is seen for treatment in the dental chair, we like to guide the child step by step through the process using terminology a child can understand. We often count during parts of the treatment, so the child has a time frame of how long to keep their mouth open and breathe through their nose. Every child may feel differently about the dentist, and we do our best to take their needs into careful consideration. If your child is nervous, it may be better to distract your child by rubbing their leg instead of squeezing their hand. Sometimes squeezing a child’s hand can unconsciously provoke fear. Our staff will offer up words of encouragement and praise when we are in the midst of treatment. The TV, video games and asking your child questions are also great tools to help get their mind off the treatment they are receiving. When the appointment is finished, we like to reward children with a toy and an ice cream ticket. These are great at distracting the children from noticing the numbness of the freezing.
Many factors are taken into consideration when determining the best route of dental treatment. When your child is seen for their initial exam, it can indicate how we will approach their dental treatment. We offer different types of sedation to assist with dental treatment, which varies depending on the need. If the dental needs of a child are extensive for their age or they experience high anxiety, we may offer nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, to make it easier for them to tolerate treatment. If there is an extensive amount of treatment needed, the child has extreme anxiety or is unable to sit still in the dental chair; treatment will need to be completed in the Fort St. John Hospital and under general anesthesia. In cases of extensive and urgent care, it may be in your child’s best interest for a referral to a Pedodontist, a specialist dentist who has undergone an additional 2-3 years of schooling to specifically provide care for children. Travel to a major city will be required if this is the case.
When dental treatment is required to be completed in the hospital, children must be at least three years of age to be seen in the Fort St John Hospital. Treatment in the OR (hospital) can have over a three-month waitlist as we only receive a limited number of dates per month. Our goal is to complete the necessary treatment and prevent the child from having to return back to the hospital at a later date for more treatment. When there is a high cavity rate, as with the majority of cases being seen in the hospital, stainless steel crowns and/or porcelain crowns are often the best choice to seal off the tooth and prevent further decay from forming down the road. Prices of a stainless-steel crown generally compare to a three surface white filling on a molar. We offer porcelain zirconia crowns for front teeth for aesthetic reasons. Usually, we offer a prefabricated stainless-steel crown for back molars as they allow the dentist to remove less tooth structure, which leads to less likelihood of complications. Other treatments such as fillings, extractions, pulpotomies, frenectomies, and space holders may be required when having treatment in the hospital. Each child has a unique plan for treatment based on their individual dental needs.
Safe and Effective Sedation
If your child has cavities, we offer completely safe and effective nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to help them get through the procedure. This mild sedative helps manage pain and anxiety, and our experts know just how to administer it so that it is completely safe. You can trust our experienced staff with any pediatric dental work your child needs.
Call us at (250) 787-1918 if you have any questions or if you need to schedule an appointment for your child.