Preventive Care and Hygiene in Austin, TX

Smiles of Austin proudly provides the very best preventive care and hygiene services in Austin, TX and beyond because our dentists have been cleaning and fortifying growing smiles for 25 years – and going!

A visit to Tooth Town is no ordinary trip to the dentist! Our unique, imaginative environment is filled with calming distractions that reduce anxiety and build trust from the very start. Here, kids learn that developing healthy dental habits is not only smart, but it’s also a whole lot of fun!

Preventive Care & Hygiene

Regular check-ups and dental cleanings are important for keeping your child’s mouth healthy as well as detecting possible problems. Our ultimate goal is to prevent tooth decay by teaching positive oral health habits from an early age. Our friendly hygienists make this a fun and educational visit for your child.

Utilizing the latest technology and upholding the highest standard of care, our hygienists spend a generous amount of time cleaning your child’s teeth, taking necessary x-rays, and administering teeth-strengthening mineral treatments, while educating them in healthy oral health habits and making the visit a blast. We have searched the world over to bring the best hygienists to Smiles of Austin’s Tooth Town and you’ll feel it from the moment they greet you with their trademark smiles and silly laughs!

At this visit, your child will also receive a thorough dental exam from our pediatric dentist and treatment recommendations will be made, if any. Included in this visit is also an orthodontic evaluation and orthodontic growth and development will be discussed. This is also a great time for parents to ask questions about the concerns they have.

Dental Sealants

These thin protective coatings are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where most tooth decay occurs in children and teens. By filling in the grooves and fissures of permanent molars, sealants reduce the risk of decay by keeping out plaque and food that are hard to reach, even with a toothbrush. Since the covering is only over the biting surface of the tooth, areas on the side and between teeth cannot be coated with the sealant. Good oral hygiene and nutrition are still very important in preventing decay next to these sealants or in areas unable to be covered.

The American Dental Association recognizes that sealants can play a very important role in the prevention of tooth decay and recommends that kids receive dental sealants as soon as their adult molars erupt. When properly applied and maintained, they can successfully protect the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth for up to 10 years. Sealants will be checked for cracks or wear each time they receive an exam in our office.

Digital X-Rays

The technology used in our office provides a far safer option for dental diagnostics. With digital radiography, significantly less radiation is required to produce oral imagery.

Cosmetic Bonding

Cosmetic bonding is a great alternative for those who aren’t interested in or don’t qualify for veneers. It involves applying a custom-tinted composite resin to the teeth to repair or improve the aesthetic appearance of:

  • Gaps between teeth
  • Irregularly shaped or chipped teeth
  • Fractured or cracked teeth
  • Discoloration and decay
  • Short teeth
  • Protection of exposed roots (due to receding gumlines)

Tooth-Colored Fillings & Restorations

We use long-lasting tooth-colored materials in lieu of highly visible metal alloys.

Tooth-Colored Crowns

Sometimes a cavity becomes so large that a crown must be placed for strength, durability, and longevity.  We strive to provide your child with the most esthetic restoration possible.

When decay or fracture involves the front teeth our restoration of choice is the composite resin (“tooth-colored”) crown.  We will choose the available color that most closely complements your child’s natural tooth allowing for him/her to smile with confidence.  The decay is removed and a full-coverage composite resin crown is bonded to restore the natural appearance and shape of the tooth.

Stainless Steel Crowns

As a cavity gets larger, it destroys more tooth structure.  If there is not enough structure left to support a filling, and a tooth-colored crown can’t be used, a stainless steel crown (SSC) must be placed. An SSC will decrease the risk of tooth fracture and infection.  This crown is a pre-made silver cap that has been trimmed and fit to your child’s tooth. It covers the entire tooth and extends slightly below the gum line to assure full protection.

Stainless steel crowns are used to restore:

  • Decayed teeth that lack sufficient structure for a filling
  • Fractured teeth
  • Teeth that have required a nerve treatment (pulpotomy/pulpectomy)
  • Hypoplastic teeth

The stainless steel crown is placed in one appointment. We shape your child’s tooth to the necessary form and trim the crown to fit tightly on the tooth. The cap is cemented into place and will fall out when the permanent tooth is ready to come in.

Space Maintainers

A space maintainer holds open the space left by a prematurely lost tooth by keeping the adjacent teeth in place.

Typically, children lose a baby tooth when a permanent tooth is ready to erupt. The pressure from the permanent tooth pushes out the baby tooth. Sometimes, however, children lose baby teeth early due to decay or injury. When this happens, the other baby teeth may shift to fill in the gap. By the time the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, there is no space. As a result, this permanent tooth will create a crooked and/or crowded smile, which can lead to difficulty speaking and chewing. Misaligned teeth are more difficult to clean, so your child is put at a greater risk for tooth decay.

We can stop this shift ahead of time with the use of a space maintainer. A space maintainer holds open the space left by a lost tooth by keeping the adjacent teeth in place. The spacer will be removed once the necessary permanent teeth have erupted. A variety of space maintainers are used. Examples include:

  • Band-and-loop
  • Lower lingual holding arch
  • Nance
  • Distal shoe

The type of spacer used is dependent upon the age of your child and the teeth missing. Following the insertion of a space maintainer, your child must visit us every six months to check the condition of the device (and the rest of the teeth). Your child should avoid sticky foods, such as candy, gum, or popcorn that might accidentally loosen the spacer. He or she should also ensure that the wires around the empty space are cleaned properly every night.

Pulpotomy

A pulpotomy is a common dental procedure in which the dental pulp or top portion of the nerve is removed and a special medicine is placed. A pulpotomy is necessary for instances where the pulp of a tooth has been exposed or compromised most commonly associated with decay or trauma.

The advantage of a pulpotomy is the removal of the diseased/exposed portion while preserving the remaining healthy nerve tissue in the root, allowing the tooth to be maintained until the permanent tooth erupts. The remaining portion of healthy nerve tissue is then protected by placement of an antibacterial medicament and a crown. The only alternatives to a pulpotomy are 1) pulpectomy or 2) extraction of the tooth with proper space maintenance. 

Pulpectomy

A pulpectomy is a dental procedure in which the entire nerve (the portion in the crown and root of the tooth) is completely removed. A pulpectomy is necessary for instances when inflammation, infection, or degenerative changes have progressed into the root of a tooth.

Damage to the nerve becomes evident when a pocket of pus (abscess) forms on the gum tissue near the tip of the tooth root, or a radiograph reveals root resorption. The procedure for a pulpectomy is the complete removal of the nerve, reshaping and disinfecting of the canal(s), followed by placement of a medicament and crown. The only alternative to a pulpectomy is the extraction of the tooth. Although initially cheaper, extraction generally requires further treatment including a space maintainer to avoid shifting of the teeth.

Labial Frenectomy (for infants and adolescents)

The frenum serves no beneficial function but can cause problems related to breastfeeding, speech, eating, and tooth position. A frenectomy is the removal of the thick fibrous tissue between the Maxillary (upper) front teeth to resolve these issues.

Habit Behavior Correction

Thumb, finger, and pacifier habits are completely normal for many children because it provides a sense of security. If the behavior does not end on its own, we can work with parents to encourage the habit to stop or provide a special appliance to aid in the process.

Most children stop sucking on thumbs, pacifiers, or other objects on their own between the ages of two and four with little or no harm done to their teeth or jaws.  However, some children repeatedly suck on a finger, pacifier, or other objects over long periods of time.  In these children, the upper front teeth may tip forward and the palate may become more narrow. We will carefully monitor the way your child’s teeth come in and jaws develop. For most children, there is no reason to worry about the habit until the permanent teeth are ready to come in.

Most children stop sucking habits on their own, but some children may require a little help.  When your child is old enough to understand the possible results of a sucking habit, we can encourage your child to stop.  This advice coupled with support from parents, helps most children quit.  If this approach does not work we may recommend a mouth appliance that blocks sucking habits.

Orthodontics

With the SMILES Total Treatment™ program,  you’ll have peace of mind knowing your child’s dental and orthodontic needs are being closely monitored at every hygiene visit.

Schedule Your Child’s Dental Cleaning Or Preventive Care Service At Smiles Of Austin

The road to a lifetime of healthy smiles starts right here at our Austin, TX kids dentist office. Call today to schedule your child’s dental appointment!

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