What is paediatric dentistry?
Paediatric Dentistry is the speciality that focuses on dental treatment for children between birth and 16 years.
A child who has an enjoyable first dental visit will develop a positive dental attitude. Dr Al Chihabi’s goal is to provide every child with a positive and comfortable dental experience in a child-friendly environment.
Maintaining a child’s primary dentition (“milk teeth”)
The majority of children will develop adult teeth (secondary dentition) that erupt from 5-6 years of age, initially with the eruption of the first incisor (“front”) or first molar (“back”) teeth. The aim of a child’s dental care is to keep them in a pain-free state and maintain the “milk” teeth, until they are naturally lost. These teeth serve a valuable role in maintaining the space, shape and size of the jaws to allow eruption of the permanent successors in the relevant place. There are several treatments available for maintaining and protecting both a child’s “milk” and permanent dentition.
Fissure Sealants: A fissure sealant is a plastic coating that is painted on the biting surfaces of molar teeth. These areas are difficult to keep clean with tooth brushing alone. The sealant acts as a barrier between the tooth and the oral environment preventing the build-up of plaque that can lead to a cavity. Fissure sealants reduce dental decay on first permanent molar teeth and should be placed as soon as the tooth erupts. The sealant will wear over time and will need to be replaced or repaired during routine check-ups.
White fillings: Small cavities in children’s baby teeth can be restored with a white coloured material that can be used to restore teeth at the front and the back of the mouth.
Pulp therapy for primary teeth: When decay in a baby tooth causes inflammation inside the tooth where the nerve and blood supply exist, the inflamed tissue must be removed before the tooth can be restored with a silver crown. This treatment is known as a pulpotomy. Sometimes the nerve inside the decayed tooth dies and becomes infected and a pulpectomy (root canal treatment) is required to remove the infected tissue in the root canal before the tooth can be restored. This is often needed as a result of a large cavity or if the tooth has experienced trauma.
Stainless steel crowns: Used for large cavities or patients who have undergone pulp therapy. A silver crown is the gold standard treatment for extensively decayed baby molar teeth.
Removal of teeth: Orthodontic treatment (braces) is a method of lining up teeth to improve their appearance and function. This is needed if there are too many teeth for the size of the child’s mouth and extraction by a specialist paediatric dentist may be necessary in order to begin orthodontic treatment.
The referral to a specialist dentist by your child’s general dentist or orthodontist will be to make sure the procedure is carried out in the least unpleasant manner.
Inhalational Sedation (“Happy Air”)
The most challenging part of dental treatment for a child can therefore be management of their anxiety. However, there are several ways this can be managed, the main one being taking time to explain the procedure to put you, as a parent or guardian, and the child at ease.
Inhalation sedation is a safe and proven method of reducing a child’s anxiety when they present for any form of dental treatment. This type of sedation involves a mixture of gases (nitrous oxide and oxygen) through a small nosepiece. The gas helps the child to relax and feel comfortable during the dental procedure. The child is awake and can communicate during the sedation. This type of sedation requires a level of cooperation from the child to work effectively and is completely safe.
The wand is a computer controlled anaesthetic delivery system, which replaces the traditional syringe in dentistry. It delivers anaesthesia at a slow rate and helps to alleviate dental anxiety.
The process: Your child may have been referred for specialist care, either by their general dentist or orthodontist. The child’s parent or guardian may have also contacted the practice for an appointment following a recommendation. The first visit is for a short examination. Depending on the nature of the case and treatment needed, and also the child’s co-operation. Dr Al Chihabi may propose that treatment is also carried out at this visit, time permitting. This is particularly the case if the referral is for simpler treatments (eg fissure sealants).
We aim to keep you fully informed of any proposed treatment and associated fees throughout the process. The practice may offset part of the examination fee against further treatment costs. This is assessed on a case-by-case basis and is under the complete discretion of Dr Al Chihabi.
Treatment fees largely dependent on time needed, complexity of the case and the co-operation of the child.
Paediatric: Initial consultation fee will be £125, including initial “x-rays”/radiographs leading to a written report. Treatment fees vary greatly depending on the case.
The fees below are provided as a guide:
Examination and report £125
Fissure sealant £60 per tooth
Inhalation sedation £225
Root canal treatment £400-£500