Pediatric Dental Care
Keeping Young Smiles Whiter, Brighter, and Healthy
Your Child’s Dental Health Starts with a Checkup
Just like you, your child needs to see the dentist for a regular check up to ensure optimal dental health. The more familiar your child becomes with dental visits and the importance of preventative care, the more likely they are to have fewer dental related problems as they progress through adulthood. Pediatric dental care is incredibly important and paramount for living a truly healthy life.
Checkups are essential for even the youngest of children because:
- Your child’s baby, or primary teeth are placeholders for their permanent teeth – detecting problems early saves a lot of time and money down the road.
- If a baby tooth has to come out early because of decay, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to reopen the space for the permanent tooth to emerge properly.
- Infected baby teeth can cause weakness or stains in permanent teeth below.
- Healthy baby teeth are essential for teaching young children how to properly chew food.
- Teeth have a significant impact on proper speech development in small children.
It’s easy for parents to miss problems in their children’s teeth. Your child can suffer from cavities, gingivitis, tooth sensitivity, and other conditions without you knowing it. When detected early, most conditions can be treated using less invasive methods.
What to Expect During Your Child’s Checkup
During your child’s initial visit, we will review your child’s medical and dental history and discuss any concerns you may have about your child’s teeth. We recommend X-rays around age five to determine the health and structure of your child’s teeth and jaw. We look for signs of cavities, infection, or other abnormalities when reviewing your child’s X-rays.
If your child is ready, we will clean the teeth, remove any calculus and apply a topical fluoride treatment. Dr. Hemphill will perform a thorough oral examination and discuss the findings with you along with any necessary treatment recommendations. If your child is in need of comprehensive orthodontic care, Dr. Hemphill will discuss the appropriate steps.
Tips for Calming Your Child
We know every child is unique, and we treat every one of our little patients with the utmost care, compassion, and empathy. We want your child to have the most positive experience possible. Some children may have elevated anxiety and fear about visiting the dentist. This often is a result of the anxiety of the parent. There are a few things you can do to make it go smoother:
- Be Positive – If you’re fearful or have anxiety about the dentist don’t let your child know that.
- Be a Good Role Model – Let your child regularly see you practice good dental habits at home. Talk to your children about how you go to the dentist and get them excited about having their turn to see the dentist.
- Be Careful with Your Explanations – Let us explain to your child what is going on. We use child-friendly words and have special, non-scary ways of explaining the treatment to your child. Avoid comments like “Don’t worry, the doctor won’t hurt you.” These comments actually make your child more anxious.
- Be a Silent Partner – We recommend allowing your child to receive treatment without you in the treatment area because often times the child relaxes more without the parent present. However, you certainly can accompany them, and sometimes this is helpful too. We just ask if you do come into the treatment area that you sit by quietly in order to allow us an opportunity to establish communication and trust directly with your child.
Nitrous Oxide for Children
Children need dental care, but some children are just too fearful to receive the necessary dental treatment. In these situations, we may recommend sedation with nitrous oxide to help your child relax and have a positive, stress-free experience. Some children have been traumatized during early childhood dental visits and carry a psychological fear with them well into adulthood. We want your child to get off on the right foot and never have fear of dental care.
Nitrous oxide is a colorless gas with a slightly sweet odor. It has been used in medicine for over a century. It’s an extremely safe and effective method of administering sedation and allows a child (or adult) to stay awake during the procedure, but feel completely relaxed. All bodily functions remain normal while receiving nitrous oxide, and the effects wear off immediately after the gas is turned off.
How is Nitrous Oxide Administered?
Nitrous oxide is inhaled through a small mask the fits comfortably over your child’s nose. The gas is mixed with oxygen and both gases are kept at safe levels for your child’s body. In a matter of minutes, patients may start to experience a floating sensation. Sometimes patients feel a little tingling in the hands and feet. That means the sedation is working. Once your child is calm and comfortable we begin the dental procedure.
Nitrous oxide is not a substitute for a local anesthetic in children or adults. Nitrous oxide is considered an anxiolytic, which means it makes anxiety disappear. With that said, some children receiving nitrous oxide may not need an anesthetic injection. If they do need a numbing injection, they won’t mind while under nitrous oxide sedation. Although they will be completely relaxed they will be able to speak, be aware of what’s going on, and will remain in control during the procedure. The dose is fine-tuned to a level that ensures that they are comfortable, yet alert.
What Our Patients Say
West Hill Family Dental has been serving my entire family for 10 years. They have always been great and treat us like family. I will continue to use them because of the high level of care and comfortable atmosphere.
Today was my first visit with West Hill Family dental. The staff was awesome! So warm and welcoming! I felt at home the moment I walked in the door. Melissa (hygienist) was awesome and very sweet. Dr. Hemphill was very personable. I am a nervous Nelly with the dentist but they really helped me feel comfortable.
"Going to the Dentist," isn't something most folks look forward to. Fortunately, the Team at West Hill Family Dental makes that experience an enjoyable event with a friendly, thoughtful and genuinely concerned approach to both routine care and one-off emergencies. The atmosphere is relaxed and positive; everything from scheduling to changes is accommodated with little fuss and a genuine enthusiasm to see you at the next opportunity. And the overall quality of care, execution and attention to customer needs are unmatched by most practices, and certainly by the cookie-cutter pop-ups that abound elsewhere. Highly recommended, family-oriented and very professional in every aspect of care and delivery - they're definitely on the list of recommendations to new residents and neighbors!
In the past I have had bad experiences with dentist and I have switch many times and I think I have finally found my forever home. Kim and Monica at the front desk are amazing they make sure that if you have any concerns, they will accommodate you in any way they can. They also socialize with you which makes visiting the dentist feel like visiting family. This is by far the best dentist I've ever been to and would recommend them to anyone.
Dr.Robert Hemphill and his staff are so friendly.I was very nervous to get my treatment done,doctor made me understand and kept me calm.I always walk out happy, feeling I have seen the BEST doctor who took care of my dental treatment.Kinga the dental assistant is so kind and helpful,Kim such a lovely person always smiling and happy,Monica is superb too, she calls and double confirms the appointment so that I don’t forget. Thank you once again.