It's never too early to get your child started on the path toward a lifetime of good oral health, and there are many services we provide to do exactly that. Monitoring your child's dental growth and development, and preventing and intercepting dental diseases along the way, is a primary focus of our practice. Learn more about Pediatric Dentistry.
Our services include:
Age One Dental Visit
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child's first checkup should occur by age 1. At this important visit we will check the baby teeth for early cavities, show you how to care for a young child's mouth properly, go over your child's developmental milestones, and discuss the importance of good oral hygiene. Learn more about the Age One Dental Visit.
Oral Hygiene Instruction
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being. Daily preventative care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop.
Our mission is to help you and your child prevent dental problems by focusing on prevention and patient education. We believe by following our recommendations at home and through regularly scheduled dental examinations/cleanings we can attain this goal. During these visits we will educate you and your child on healthy nutrition and proper oral hygiene practices and allow Dr. Byrne the opportunity to diagnose dental problems early which may minimize treatment.
In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems.
- Brush (teeth and toungue) thoroughly twice a day and floss daily
- Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks between meals
- If your child is able to spit out his/her toothpaste, (between 3 to 5 years old), us a "pea" sized amount of toothpaste which contains fluoride
- For younger children who may still swallow the toothpaste, using a "smear" sized amount of toothpaste which contains fluoride
- Make sure your children under 12 drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement if they live in a non-fluoridated area
- Visist your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 months or after illness
The following are indications of good oral hygiene:
- Your teeth are clean and free of debris
- Gums are pink and do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss
- Bad breath is not a constant problem
Fluoridated water has been called one of the most significant health achievements of the 20th century — but not every child gets enough fluoride. That's one reason why a topical fluoride supplement, applied here in the dental office, may be recommended for your child. Learn more about Fluoride & Your Child.
Sealants are used to fill narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits where plaque can build up, not because the person doesn't brush , but because they're too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. To avoid cavities developing over time, the denstist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush away the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.Learn more about Dental Sealants.
Used to prevent shifting or crowding of teeth when a tooth is lost early. It saves space for the permanent teeth to erupt properly. These are left in place until the permanent teeth begin to erupt at which time they are removed. There are two different types used in our office, unilateral and bilateral space maintainers. Learn more about Space Maintainers.
- Unilateral Space Maintainer: is placed when only one tooth is lost and extends from one tooth across the open space left by the lost tooth to the tooth on the other side of the open space. This type of space maintainer is used when we are unable to do a bilateral space maintainer.
- Bilateral Space Maintainer: is usually placed on the permanent 6 year molars; it extends from one side of the mouth over to the opposite side of the mouth. This type of space maintainer may be used for early loss of one or multiple teeth within the same arch (top or bottom).
Treating Specially Challenged Children
Proper dental care is just as important for children with special needs as it is for any child. Yet it's sometimes more difficult for kids with special needs to get optimal care. We can help, with appropriate procedures and extra personal attention in the office.
Cosmetic bonding uses tooth-colored materials to replace missing tooth structure or hide minor defects like chips, discoloration, or irregular spacing. It's a great option for children and teens, who often need to wait for their teeth to mature before choosing a more permanent restoration. Learn more about Bonding.
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, the dentist will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned our cavity with a filling material. A filling helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter. Our office uses composite fillings which are custom made to match the color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. The tooth colored fillings are less noticeable than other materials.Learn more about Fillings.
If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown (or "cap") may be recommended. A crown is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated with a pulpotomy(baby nerve treatment) on a primary tooth. A pulpotomy cleans out the nerve tissue of the primary tooth to help prevent infections and pain.
Crowns may be used to:
- Replace a large filling when there is too little tooth structure remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal therapy or a pulpotomy
A pulpotomy is a baby nerve treatment; required when a cavity has progressed into the nerve of the tooth and the tooth is to be saved. Bacteria that have invaded the nerve can cause the tooth to become infected. To prevent infection a special medication is placed in the tooth and then a filling or a crown must be placed on that tooth.
Removal of a tooth that cannot be saved due to decay or trauma.
Limited Orthodontics & Evaluation
Developing malocclusions, or bad bites, can be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. Often, early steps can be taken to reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment at a later age. Dr. Byrne will evaluate your child's dental growth and development and make a timely referral to an orthodontist if needed. In the event your child loses posterior teeth prematurely, Dr. Byrne can make a space maintainer for your child. Space maintainers are placed to prevent the teeth from shifting which can cause problems with proper eruption or crowding.
Stage I – Early Treatment: This period of treatment encompasses ages 2 to 6 years. At this young age, we are concerned with underdeveloped dental arches, the premature loss of primary teeth, and harmful habits such as finger or thumb sucking. Treatment initiated in this stage of development is often very successful and many times, though not always, can eliminate the need for future orthodontic/orthopedic treatment.
Stage II – Mixed Dentition: This period covers the ages of 6 to 12 years, with the eruption of the permanent incisor (front) teeth and 6 year molars. Treatment concerns deal with jaw malrelationships and dental realignment problems. This is an excellent stage to start treatment, when indicated, as your child’s hard and soft tissues are usually very responsive to orthodontic or orthopedic forces.
Stage III – Adolescent Dentition: This stage deals with the permanent teeth and the development of the final bite relationship. Learn more about the Early Orthodontic Treatment.
Custom designed mouth guards and night guards are made of a flexible plastic and are molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Mouth guards are recommended to protect the jaw and teeth during physical activity and sports such as boxing, football, basketball, lacross, field hockey or other activities where your mouth may be hit. Guards also protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. If you have decided a guard is right for your child, we will take an impression of his teeth which will then be sent to a lab to make a custom fit guard. In most cases you can choose from a variety of colors and styles. On average, guards last between 3 and 10 years. Learn more about Mouthguards for Children.
Dental sedation is a technique that can be used when a patient suffers from dental anxiety or dental phobia. We are happy to offer a number of solutions for our patients to make their dental visit as comfortable as possible. Sedation dentistry techniques enable patients, who might otherwise avoid the dentist, the ability to receive dental treatment necessary for a healthy smile in a comfortable environment. Learn more about Sedation Dentistry.
We offer different sedation options based on your child's specific needs:
- Nitrous Oxide-also known as "laughing gas" is commonly used to make treatment more comfortable. It is inhaled through a mask that allows you to breathe in the medication and induces a state of relaxation. Local anesthetic may be administered in conjunction with nitrous oxide to eliminate pain.
- Oral Sedatives-this medication can be given to the patient the night before a dentistry procedure or 30 minutes to an hour prior to the dental appointment, depending on the severity of the anxiety. Oral sedatives do not provide pain relief, so an injection of local anesthetic may also be administered.
- Conscious Sedation-is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children, and children with special needs. It is used to calm your child and to reduce the anxiety or discomfort associated with dental procedures. Your child may be quite drowsy, and may even fall asleep, but they will not be come unconscious. There are a variety of different medications which can be used for conscious sedation. Dr. Byrne will prescribe the medication best suited for your child's overall health and dental treatment recommendations. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have concerning the specific medications we plan to give to your child.
- Outpatient General Anesthesia-is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children, and children with special needs that are not candidates for conscious sedation. General anesthesia renders your child completely asleep. This would be the same as is he/she was having their tonsils removed, ear tubes, or hernia repaired. Dr. Byrne performs these procedures at the Saratoga Surgery Center.
Emergency Dental Treatment
If you have a life-threatening or severe injury, call 911 or go directly to the nearest hospital emergency room. We can treat a variety of traumatic dental injuries, including teeth that have been chipped, moved, or knocked out entirely. Please call our office for assistance.