Q : What are your office hours?
Ans : Our office is open Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM. We are closed for lunch from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM.
Q : Are you accepting new patients?
Ans : Yes, we are still welcoming new patients. Please contact our office at (817) 447-7474 for an appointment.
Q : What is a pediatric dentist?
Ans : A pediatric dentist has an additional two to three years of specialized training after dental school. He is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teenage years. Very young children, pre-teens, and teenagers all need different approaches in dealing with their behavior, guiding their dental growth and development, and helping them avoid future dental problems. The pediatric dentist is best qualified to meet these needs. He also provides a very child friendly setting for treatment and to reduce the anxiety of both patients and parents.
Q : Why are baby teeth so important?
Ans : It is very important to maintain the health of the baby teeth. Neglected cavities can and frequently do lead to problems, which affect developing permanent teeth. Baby teeth are important for (1) proper chewing and eating, (2) providing space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position, and (3) permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. Primary teeth also affect the development of speech and add to an attractive appearance. While the front 4 upper and lower teeth last until 6-7 years of age, the back teeth (cuspids and molars) aren’t replaced until age 10-13. Also, if decay currently exists in your child’s mouth, allowing it to continue can damage permanent teeth, spread infection to other areas of the body, and can even cause death.
Q : What are sealants and why are they important?
Ans : The chewing surfaces of teeth are the most susceptible to cavities and usually benefit the least from fluoride. A sealant is a clear or white plastic material that is designed to fill-in these unprotected grooves on the teeth. Therefore, they can be used as a protective coating and can be applied to these areas to help serve as a barrier to prevent decay.
Q : Do you use amalgam (silver) or composite fillings (tooth colored)?
Ans : We use both materials for fillings, sometimes the situation dictates which type of filling must be used. Most of the time however, the choice is yours and advantages and disadvantages of each should be considered when making your decision.
Q : Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?
Ans : After years of research, very conclusive evidence from numerous scientific studies has proven that amalgam is safe and poses no threat to a person's health. The material is still needed in dentistry. For more information, please visit the ADA web site and read up on Amalgam Myths Versus Facts here.
Q : What are the advantages and disadvantages of amalgam?
Ans : The advantages of an amalgam filling are that the placement technique takes less time to complete and amalgam costs considerably less than composite material. Amalgam is also time-tested and very durable, typically lasting 12 to 15 years, and often remains healthy and functional for 30 years or more. Also, amalgam tends to hold up better in primary teeth due to its ease in placing under difficult conditions (i.e. behavior and adaptability in getting wet in saliva).
The disadvantages are that the silver fillings are less attractive than the tooth-colored composite; for this reason, amalgam typically is not placed in front teeth. Another drawback is that the metal in amalgam expands and contracts with heat and cold. Over time, depending on the size of the restoration, this can cause the filling to fracture your tooth, and a crown will be required to restore tooth functionality.
Q : What are the advantages and disadvantages of composite fillings?
Ans : Composite fillings have been used for about 35 years. Though not as time-tested as amalgam, continual improvements in composite technology have made them nearly as durable as amalgam fillings in permanent teeth. The advantages of using composite material is that the color can be closely matched to your natural teeth, so restorations are nearly undetectable and result in a natural-looking smile. Compared to amalgam, the same amount of decayed tooth can be restored with a much smaller composite filling, so less natural tooth structure is lost. The composite actually bonds to your tooth creating a tighter seal and strengthens supporting tooth structure.
The disadvantages of using composite materials are that, depending on the condition of the tooth, it may be contraindicated and can actually set up the tooth for future decay leading to more major treatment. Also, the technique to place a composite filling is more difficult and requires more supplies and time. This can often be very difficult for your child to tolerate. In addition, the cost of composite material is significantly higher than amalgam thus making the overall cost of treatment higher. Most insurance benefits don't cover the additional cost of composite fillings, so you must pay the difference.
Q : What is pulp therapy?
Ans : The pulp of a tooth is the inner central core of the tooth. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue and reparative cells. The purpose of pulp therapy in Pediatric Dentistry is to maintain the vitality of the affected tooth (so the tooth is not lost).
Dental caries (cavities) and traumatic injury are the main reasons for a tooth to require pulp therapy. Pulp therapy is often referred to as a "nerve treatment", "children's root canal", "pulpectomy" or "pulpotomy". The two common forms of pulp therapy in children's teeth are the pulpotomy and pulpectomy.
A pulpotomy removes the diseased pulp tissue within the crown portion of the tooth. Next, an agent is placed to prevent bacterial growth and to calm the remaining nerve tissue. This is followed by a final restoration (usually a stainless steel crown).
A pulpectomy is required when the entire pulp is involved (into the root canal(s) of the tooth). During this treatment, the diseased pulp tissue is completely removed from both the crown and root. The canals are cleansed, disinfected and in the case of primary teeth, filled with a resorbable material. Then a final restoration is placed. A permanent tooth would be filled with a non-resorbing material.
Q : Do you allow parents to come back with their children?
Ans : As the parent, you are welcome to accompany your child into the treatment area during the initial exam or first visit. However, to better establish a trust with your child, we like to bring them back by themselves for cleanings and treatment. If you expect your child to do well and enjoy their visit to our office, chance are they will! Please see the FIRST VISIT page for more information.