Services we provide
Dr. Barry provides specialized dental care to infants, children, and adolescents, including those with special needs. Our patients come from around the block as well as around the state to experience the warm, personal care we provide. We offer the latest and best dental treatment to our patients. Our digital x-rays reduce your child’s exposure to unnecessary radiation and provide exceptional images.
Sedation for dental anxiety
If children are afraid of the dentist or anxious about a dental procedure, we can use sedation to help calm them. The degree of sedation can depend on the patient’s age, the level of their anxiety, and whether behavior issues are involved. Some of the methods we use include:
Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas”. The patient inhales this gas through a mask to feel more relaxed and comfortable. We’ll also use a local anesthetic, such as novocaine, to block pain at the site of treatment.
Conscious sedation. This lets patients stay awake while receiving medication that relieves pain and anxiety. Patients may take medication the night before a procedure, or 30 to 60 minutes before their appointment. Because this does not completely block pain, a local anesthetic also will be used.
Bonding repairs teeth that have been damaged, or makes them look better by closing gaps, changing alignment, or improving their color. When bonding teeth, we select a composite resin material that closely matches the current color of the tooth. We prepare the tooth by roughening the surface, then applying a gel to micro etch it. Then we apply a primer/bonding agent. Once the preparation is complete, we apply the resin to the tooth and harden it with intense light. Finally, we shape and polish the bonded area to get a beautiful finish.
If a tooth is damaged or has a large cavity, we can cover it with a crown or cap to strengthen it, as well as improve its shape, alignment and appearance. We also use a crown to cover a tooth that’s had root canal treatment.
Children should have their teeth cleaned every six months so plaque doesn’t build up on their teeth. This soft, sticky substance can cause tooth decay and gum disease if not removed. Scaling to remove tartar and stains and/or polishing may be included in the cleaning. We may combine manual cleaning with electronic scaling to achieve best results.
Dentists and dental hygienists traditionally perform scaling by hand. However, new and advanced technology has lead to more modern methods such as electric scalers. This sophisticated tool allows dental cleanings to be performed more efficiently and in less time. To achieve best results, both electric and manual scaling methods may be combined for dental cleanings.
If we find a cavity in your child’s tooth, we’ll replace the damaged area with a filling. The dentist will take out the decay, clean the area, and fill it with material to strengthen the tooth and prevent further decay.
We’ll work with you to choose the best material for your child’s filling. We consider where the filling is needed, how big it needs to be, and how much the filling will cost.
Amalgam, or silver, fillings are less expensive. But because they are dark and more noticeable, we won’t recommend them for front teeth or other very visible areas.
Composite, or plastic, fillings can be matched to the color of the child’s teeth, but don’t last as long as amalgam fillings. They can get stained from coffee, tea or tobacco, and also may chip or wear over time.
Mouth guards and night guards
If children play sports or grind their teeth while sleeping, they’ll need mouth guards. These are made of plastic that can be molded to fit a child’s teeth.
Mouth guards protect your child’s teeth and jaw while participating in sports such as basketball, football, boxing or other activities. The guards also protect their tongue, lips and cheek lining.
Night guards are mouth guards for children who grind or clench their teeth as they sleep. These guards keep their teeth from getting damaged, and protect their bite.
Once the dentist determines that your child needs a mouth guard, impressions of the child’s teeth will be taken. These impressions will serve as a mold for the lab to create a custom-fitted guard. You and your child may be able to choose the style and color of the guard.
Oral hygiene care
At Walnut Creek Pediatric Dentistry, we teach oral hygiene care as soon as patients are old enough to learn it. Proper brushing and flossing every day will keep problems from developing. And good oral health plays a role in your overall health as well.
Everyone can take some simple steps to prevent tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. These steps include:
- Brushing teeth twice a day and flossing once a day.
- Eating a balanced diet and healthy snacks.
- Using toothpaste and other dental products that have fluoride.
- Follow your dentist’s advice to use a fluoride mouth rinse, if needed.
In addition, if you live in an area when your water isn’t fluoridated, give your children under 12 fluoridated water to drink, or have them take a fluoride supplement.
Root canal treatment
If a tooth becomes so decayed or damaged that its nerves are also damaged, a root canal will be needed to repair the tooth. Signs of this extensive damage include pain in general or while biting, increased sensitivity to hot and cold or sweets, swelling, and/or a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, however, there won’t be any symptoms and the problem won’t be found until a checkup.
During root canal treatment, the dentist will clean out the infected tooth pulp, then disinfect the tooth’s canals. These canals are then filled in. The tooth is usually covered with a crown to fully restore it.
Teeth have narrow grooves and pits that can’t always be cleaned well with a toothbrush. The dentist can brush on a sealant, or coating, that will seal these indentions and prevent cavities. Your child will have a much easier time keeping their teeth healthy with simple brushing.
Whitening or bleaching teeth can clean up stained and discolored teeth, and brighten your child’s smile to make it more attractive. Whitening is safe and painless.
Walnut Creek Pediatric Dentistry offers at-home whitening, or tray whitening. We’ll take impressions of your child’s teeth to start. From that impression, the lab will create custom-fitting clear whitening trays. We’ll teach you how to use the bleaching gel with the trays. These trays need to be worn 30 to 60 minutes once or twice a day for a number of days. Once you see the results you want to achieve, your child will need to re-treat the teeth occasionally to maintain their dazzling smile.