Gator Patient Care
Injuries to the face, mouth, and teeth are common among children. We are here to help! Alligator Dental provides after hours emergency pediatric dental care and has Early Bird appointments to accommodate urgent care between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on regular operating days. Call us for more information!
Click on the following links to learn how to care for each condition.
Broken or chipped baby teeth
If the fracture is superficial, it can be restored with cosmetic bonding. If the fracture extends to the pulp or nerve inside the tooth a baby root canal treatment or coronal pulpotomy is performed. This is a very simple procedure and not as extensive as a root canal treatment done on permanent teeth.
If the fracture is below the gum line the tooth is removed and a spacer is placed to prevent drifting of teeth into the space and maintain space for the permanent tooth.
Gum boil or Abscess
This is caused by an infected tooth. The pulp or nerve inside the tooth is infected by decay. The abscess extends beyond the apex of the tooth into the surrounding bone, perforating the bone into the gum tissue causing a gum boil. The infected tooth cannot be saved. It has to be extracted to protect the permanent tooth bud from getting infected. The patient is first put on antibiotics and then the tooth is extracted.
If your child is having a toothache, clean the area around the tooth. Rinse the mouth with warm salt water and use dental floss to remove any trapped food between the teeth. DO NOT place aspirin on the gums or tooth. This will cause a burn to the gum tissues. If there is swelling, apply cold to the outside of the face. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain. Call the dentist.
Cold sore or Canker sore
Some patients get canker sores periodically.There is no definite cause for a cold sore.It could be due to stress, vitamin or zinc deficiency or it may have a viral origin.Cold sores usually last for 7 days.There is no definite treatment for cold sores.Treatment is aimed towards relieving the pain either with over the counter medication or prescription medication.
We try to accommodate all emergencies on the same day. Please call early in the morning. If it is after working hours, please call our answering service and the doctor on call will call you as soon as possible.
Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions. Your comfort is our priority!
First Dental Visit
A child’s first dental visit is an important step towards good oral hygiene! This visit should happen between six and 12 months. There are many benefits of starting routine dental visits at this age:
1. Familiarity – Children become familiar with what happens in a dental visit such as exam, cleaning, and fluoride treatment.
2. Build Trust – Starting early helps build trust between child and dentist as the child learns what to expect from a dental visit.
3. Prevention – Prevention is key to a healthy mouth and happy child! The dentist can examine child’s mouth for decay, proper development, and any abnormalities.
4. Oral Hygiene – Establishing good oral hygiene habits early will provide a strong foundation for a growing child.
5. Parental Education – Parents will be instructed in the following:
- Proper oral hygiene technique
- Diet and oral habits that positively and negatively effect tooth development
- Fluoride use to help strengthen primary teeth
- At Alligator Dental our goal is to assist parents in establishing a foundation for their child’s healthy mouth – and to make going to the dentist A LOT MORE FUN!
Gator Care Timeline
Click on the following links to learn how to care for each condition.
The first tooth usually erupts between 6-9 months of age. However there is a wide range of tooth eruption and it is not unusual for a child to have delayed eruption of teeth. When your child is teething he or she will be restless, may drool, gums may be sensitive, may have a low-grade fever and diarrhea. Treatment can include – massaging sore gums with a finger or teething rings, placing ice or frozen rings on gum areas. The best remedy is your child’s pediatric dose of Tylenol or fever reducing medication for pain. Orajel type products may work for a short period of time, but are not recommended due to overuse.
Proper oral hygiene should be instituted as early as when the first tooth comes into the mouth. Gums may be wiped clean with a damp wash cloth until teeth begin to erupt. At that point teeth and gums should be brushed with a soft bristled brush twice a day with a very thin smear of fluoride toothpaste. It is normal for the child to swallow the toothpaste at this age. Our doctors will demonstrate the proper amount during the child’s first visit. The brushing and toothpaste will remove plaque and begin also to strengthen the teeth as they mature. Plaque will form on any tooth and the gum pads around them causing potential inflammation and teething discomfort.
Dental problems can begin very early. The primary cause of dental decay in young children is nursing or baby bottle tooth decay. A baby may get severe decay when he or she nurses constantly from the breast or a bottle containing milk or juice during bedtime or naps. A child should not be put to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, or sweetened liquid. If a bottle is used, only water should be used. A pacifier is preferable. It is recommended to stop bottle or breastfeeding by one year of age.
Parents should brush their teeth twice a day with a very small amount of toothpaste. Toothpaste has quite a bit of fluoride in it. Use toothpaste sparingly in young children by using a very thin smear on the toothbrush.
3-6 Year Old Gators
Let them brush, supervise them, and do the final brushing to make sure all surfaces of the teeth are cleaned. Also you need to floss their teeth as they get older as the posterior teeth get closer and tighter over time. Make sure they can rinse their mouth so toothpaste doesn’t get swallowed.
All Gators should see their dentist every six months for a routine visit. Your dentist may recommend the use of disclosing agents which help reveal the presence of plaque on teeth. Swishing with these agents before and after brushing will disclose the missed areas and motivate your child to improve their brushing technique.
Tooth Care Handbook
At Alligator Dental, we created this Tooth Care Handbook to provide parents with the best ways to care for their child’s teeth.
Click on the following links to learn how to care for each condition.
Brushing 2x's a day keeps the cavity bugs away!
All children need to brush their teeth at least two times a day: in the morning after breakfast & at night before bedtime. By disturbing and removing the plaque formation twice a day, parents can minimize or eliminate their child’s potential for tooth decay.
For younger children: A parent should brush the teeth using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. As the child gets older and you see they have the dexterity and patience to properly take care of their teeth, you may give over the task to them. But do periodically monitor their care.
Best Materials & Methods:
- Toothpaste should be approved by the American Dental Association.
- Toothbrushes should be the proper size, small is better than bigger. Always use a soft nylon brush.
- Brush teeth in a circular manner. This will prevent toothbrush abrasion, excessive wear of the enamel at the gum line.
- A toothbrush should be replaced when it is worn with the bristles splayed, or after more serious colds, infection, Strep throat, etc.
Floss only the teeth you want to keep!
Flossing helps remove plaque buildup between teeth where the toothbrush bristles cannot reach. Use a gentle up and down motion to get between each tooth.
Remember the old saying: Only floss the teeth you want to keep.
Keep your enamel strong and bright!
What is fluoride?
The fluoride ion comes from the element fluorine. Fluoride, either applied topically to erupted teeth, or ingested orally (called systemic fluoride) during tooth development, helps to prevent tooth decay, strengthen tooth enamel, and reduce the harmful effects of plaque. Fluoride also makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before the damage is even visible.
Where is fluoride found?
Topical Fluoride is found in products containing strong concentrations of fluoride (i.e., toothpastes, mouth rinses), fluoridated varnishes and/or gels either topically applied by a dentist or other oral health professional, or prescribed as an at-home regimen (particularly for persons with a high risk of dental caries).
Systemic Fluoride can be ingested through public and private water supplies, soft drinks, teas, as dietary supplements, some bottled water supplies. Once ingested, systemic fluoride is absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract and distributed and deposited throughout the body via the blood supply.
What health risks are associated with fluoride uses?
In general, fluoride consumption is safe. Health risks associated with Fluoridation usually are limited to misuse and over concentration. To avoid misuse and over concentration: Avoid drinking overly fluoridated water – results of this may cause teeth to become discolored, and may cause the enamel of the teeth to look spotted, pitted, or stained (a condition known as dental fluorosis). Avoid swallowing toothpaste and other dental hygiene products.
Call the local water department and/or the health department to evaluate the fluoride level in your local drinking reservoir. Children are especially vulnerable to dental fluorosis as their developing teeth are more sensitive to higher fluoride levels. Consult a pediatric dentist or other oral health care professional if you notice changes in the condition of your child’s teeth.
Sealants are the best anti-cavity invention!
Sealants protect the occlusal surfaces, inhibiting bacterial growth and providing a smooth surface that increases the probability that the surface will stay clean. The ultimate goal of sealants is penetrating into the pit and fissures of the tooth and sealing them from bacteria.
Sealants don’t take long to complete and can be added to your child’s regular checkup. Ask your doctor if sealants are right for your child!
Indications for Use
Patients with the following circumstances should be evaluated as candidates for sealant placement:
- Children and teenagers when they are in their “cavity prone years” – as a preventative measure
- Xerostomia (decreased salivation)
- Undergoing orthodontic treatment
- Evidence of incipient caries – white spots that indicate the beginning of a cavity
- Prone to cavities
- Primary molars also can benefit from the placement of sealants.
Regular Dental Checkup
The American Dental Association and Alligator Dental recommend scheduling a regular dental check up every 6 months.
Prevention is the best philosophy. Regular dental checkups help facilitate the following for your child:
- Maintain a healthy, disease free mouth
- Early detection of disease
- Prompt treatment of dental problems
- Avoid lengthy and costly repair procedures that occur with advanced disease or decay
Baby teeth serve the important functions of eating, speech, and esthetics (self-image). These teeth not only help form the developing jaws, but they hold space for the permanent teeth so that your child will have a normal bite when the permanent teeth grow in. The last baby tooth falls out at about twelve years of age. A baby tooth can become so badly decayed that it can do damage to the permanent tooth. At times, severe infections of the face, head, and neck can be caused by infected baby teeth. Because of this, it is important to restore baby teeth as soon as decay is first detected. Teeth with dental decay can be restored either with amalgam (silver) or tooth-colored fillings. If the decay is extensive, it will require restoration with a crown.
Tooth Colored Fillings
In the past, cavities could only be treated with unsightly metal fillings that are alloys of silver and mercury. These tooth fillings, especially when close to the front of the mouth, are highly noticeable and unaesthetic. Sometimes, the filling is so large that it causes discoloration of the entire tooth. These fillings, or restorations, often weaken teeth due to the large amount of the original tooth that has to be removed. Also, there is a risk of mercury poisoning from the alloy that is used in the tooth filling. Modern dentistry has increasingly turned to tooth-colored, or composite, fillings as a strong, safe, and more natural looking alternative. Composite fillings utilize a soft, white plastic substance that is hardened with a blue UV light.
Treatment Appointments for Restoration
Parents can help us make the appointment for tooth restoration a successful and positive experience for their child. While talking to your child about the visit, use positive words like fun, easy, tooth asleep, silver star, water spray, etc. Do not use negative words like pain, hurt, needle, shot, tooth pulled, etc. The entire procedure will be explained to your child and you before the procedure is performed. Pediatric dentists are trained to deliver the local anesthetic painlessly. However, we do offer nitrous oxide and conscious sedation if the dentist sees the need for it.
Once the procedure is completed, a piece of gauze referred to as “tooth pillow” is placed between the cheek and the teeth to prevent your child from accidentally biting into the numb cheek and lip. When the anesthesia is wearing off, your child will feel a tingling sensation which may be annoying to some children. Reaffirm to your child that the tooth is waking up. After treatment is completed you can help us to continue the positive experience by praising your child and referring to the "fun" time they had. Please avoid negative comments such as: Did it hurt? That wasn't so bad! You were so brave! Did you get a shot? Were you afraid? These comments could persuade your child in thinking there was a reason to be afraid, even though they were cooperative and had a good time. This may make their future visits more difficult.
If you have any questions about restorative pediatric dentistry, contact our office. We specialize in kids’ dental care and oral hygiene, and we want to make your child’s experience as fun and carefree as possible!