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132 New Britain Avenue, Rocky Hill, CT 06067
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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 with West Hill Family Dental, 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. Contact our pediatric dentists to schedule an appointment for your child or children.

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.

Little happy girl brushing her teeth.

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.
Smiling boy in a dental chair after pediatric dental treatment.

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.

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