What is a pediatric dentist?
After 4 years of dental school, Dr. Dixon chose to specialize in treating children and patients with special needs. This specialization requires completing a 2 year residency program accredited by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. In his residency, Dr. Dixon had extensive training in behavior management, sedation dentistry, hospital dentistry, orthodontics, and growth and development, which allows him to offer the most up-to date and thorough treatment for a wide variety of pediatric dental problems.
When should I bring my child in for their first dental visit?
Age 1. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you should bring your child to the dentist for their first visit 6 months after the eruption of their first tooth which can be anywhere from 12-18 months old.
What should I expect on the first visit?
We will take necessary x-rays in order to determine your child’s present dental condition. (We usually do not take x-rays on children under the age of 3.) Your child’s teeth will be thoroughly cleaned and then examined by Dr. Dixon. Any necessary treatment will be scheduled for a later visit.
What are my options for sedation?
Small procedures in cooperative or slightly nervous children can often be performed with local anesthesia (numbing) with nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide (a.k.a. “laughing gas”) is a very common form of sedation we routinely use in our office. This is given through a small breathing mask placed over the child’s nose while they watch a movie on a ceiling-mounted TV. At the end of the procedure, your child will breathe 100% oxygen for a few minutes which flushes the gas out of their system and allows them to feel normal when they leave. The AAPD recognizes this technique as a very safe, effective way to help a child relax during treatment.
Slightly more involved procedures in certain children will require the use of an oral medication along with nitrous oxide to help relax your child and help them be more cooperative for the procedure. These procedures are scheduled at specific times, require your child to be fasting the morning of the appointment, and be free of respiratory problems for two weeks leading up to the visit. When possible, we also ask that two adults be present so one can sit in the back seat with your child on the drive home.
Some children require an extensive amount of dental work. In these situations, it is often not possible for a child to cooperate for multiple or lengthy appointments to allow the treatment to be done properly. In cases like this, we may recommend your child be treated in an operating room (surgical center or hospital) under general anesthesia. Dr. Dixon will be happy to discuss any and all of these options with you should the need arise.
Can I be with my child during appointments?
Of course you can. We will never restrict you from coming back for routine visits. However, many children may behave better with parents waiting in the reception area. Just the same, some children will have a better experience if their parents are with them throughout their visit. Where you wait, is up to you. One exception is during deep sedation appointments. Similar to a hospital that does not allow family into the operating room during surgery, only having the child in the back while deeply sedated allows us to fully concentrate on them and provide the safest care possible. Feel free to discuss with Dr. Dixon any concerns you may have and options that are available.
Why are baby teeth important?
Primary teeth (Baby teeth) are just as important as permanent teeth. They are necessary for proper chewing and eating, speaking. Primary teeth hold space for permanent teeth and help to guide them into a proper position. They permit normal development of jaw bones and muscles. Decay in baby teeth can cause pain for your child, and damage to the permanent teeth and can also cause problems with spacing.
Does my child need fluoride?
Fluoride is one of the most effective elements for preventing tooth decay. Southern Oregon does not have fluoride in the city water, which puts your child at higher risk for tooth decay. After evaluating your child’s oral condition, we can determine the appropriate frequency for in office fluoride treatment and prescribe a fluoride supplement as necessary.
What can I do about my child’s toothache?
Clean (brush and rinse) around the sore tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth with salt water or use dental floss to dislodge impacted food. DO NOT ever place aspirin on the gums or aching tooth, and do not give aspirin to your child. If the face is swollen, or the pain is spontaneous and interferes with sleep, contact our office as soon as possible.
My child knocked out his/her permanent tooth – what should I do?
Find the tooth. Only handle the tooth by the crown (part that normally shows in the mouth), not by the root. You may rinse the tooth if it is dirty, but DO NOT wipe or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Inspect the tooth for fractures – if none are visible, try to reinsert it into the socket. Have the child hold it in place by biting on gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup of milk. If milk is not available, place it in a cup of the child’s saliva. DO NOT store the tooth in water. Call the office immediately. The most critical factor is time when it comes to saving a tooth that is out of the mouth.
My child fractured (broke) his/her tooth – what should I do?
Rinse the debris from injured area with warm water. Place a cold compress over the face in the area of injury. Locate and save any broken tooth fragments in milk. Contact our office as soon as possible.
How do I prevent cavities?
By helping your child brush and floss 2 times a day you can help prevent cavities. Have your child stay away from milk and juice unless it is at meal times. Between meals, stick with water. Sipping on juice or soda and snacking throughout the day causes a constant amount of sugar on your teeth, which eventually will cause decay.