When it comes to kids and their teeth, it's not so much
where do you start, but when you start. While prevention and good
dental habits always have been keys to keeping your child's teeth
healthy, different approaches to tooth decay and orthodontic care
are just a couple of the things parents might be seeing and hearing
about these days.
We asked a few Chicago area pediatric dentists to tell us
their thoughts on some of the products, procedures and innovations
Dr. Cissy Furusho, Dentistry For Kids, Chicago
it? The easy answer is sealants prevent
cavities, they are easy to place, they are non-invasive (no shots)
and they cost less than a filling. Sealants are used on the chewing
surface of molars, which have many pits and fissures that are
difficult to keep clean. Sealants might be recommended in order to
fill the tiny grooves, creating a smooth surface to prevent food
from packing into them.
cost? The price can vary, and often insurance
companies will cover sealants as a benefit. Check with your
insurance for eligibility.
it? Yes, especially for cavity-prone
Dr. John J.
Dzakovich, Arlington Heights
it? The KCP is an air abrasion machine that allows
for treatment of cavities without the need for an injection. It
works like a tiny sand blaster that uses small particles to blow
away the tooth decay. Multiple cavities can be treated in a single
visit. The best candidates are children and those who are fearful
and have small amounts of decay. It is painless and, since there is
no shot involved, patients spend less time in the chair worrying
while waiting for the anesthetic to take effect. In addition, there
is no annoying sound that normally accompanies the traditional
cost? It is no more costly than a traditional
it? Yes, if you consider saved time in the
dental office, the fact that no injection is given and the fact
that minimal tooth structure is removed, this would be any parent's
first choice of treatment for their child.
Margolis, Highland Park
it? There are basically two types of dental
lasers being used on all ages of patients. The erbium laser is an
all-purpose laser that prepares cavities without a shot and for
soft tissue surgery, again without a shot. The diode laser is used
for soft tissue laser surgery. In preparing cavities, the laser
numbs the tooth. It allows dentists to do root canals on baby teeth
as well as permanent teeth.
cost? Some dentists do charge extra, a
typical extra charge is around $50.
it? Absolutely. It numbs the tooth, it
doesn't leave a numb feeling in the child's mouth.
Dr. Raj Puri, Smiles
Dental Center, Wood Dale
benefit? A proper fitting mouth guard can
save teeth from blunt trauma and might even lower the chance of
concussion. From my experience, a sports-related dental trauma can
be very expensive, time consuming and psychologically difficult for
cost? They can run anywhere from $200-$400
depending on the material, but many insurances are covering and
thus bring the costs down by more than half.
Dr. Cissy Furusho
it? It provides exact measurements and wire
bends to get the teeth into the exact position for braces. There's
no more impressions. If you had braces, you know what impressions
are-biting into a cold, gooey material and waiting a few seconds
for it to set up. Children and adults with very strong gag reflexes
are unable to tolerate the impression material.
cost? Digital imaging is more expensive than
traditional braces because of the extra cost in diagnosis,
treatment planning and the materials itself. Pricing
it? Yes, because it is more accurate and, in
many cases, it will shorten the length of time your child wears
Dr. Raj Puri
it? Xylitol is a natural sweetener that
minimizes cavity-causing bacteria and repairs damaged
cost? No cost if it is already in
it? Yes, as long as the patient reads the
labels and uses them as directed.
Dan Campana is a dad and freelance writer living in Streamwood.
See more of Dan's stories here.
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