Preventive Dental Care
Our goal is for your child to enjoy good oral health for a lifetime. We look forward to working with you to achieve that goal.
We begin with the first visit when Dr. Ravel performs a thorough oral examination to assess the health of your child’s teeth and gums as well as your child’s dental and orthodontic development.
Following the examination, Dr. Ravel performs a cleaning to remove plaque and calculus that can cause cavities and gum disease. We then apply topical fluoride varnish to make teeth more resistant to decay. As part of the initial visit, Dr. Ravel obtains the radiographs that are appropriate to your child’s stage of development.
Your child’s oral health depends a great deal on what you and your child do on a regular basis. At the initial visit and at each six-month check-up, our team will discuss important topics such as diet, tooth brushing, flossing and access to the proper amount of fluoride on a daily basis.
Age 1 Dental Exam
The American Dental Association and the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that all children have their first preventive dental visit by age one. Infant dental visits reduce the child’s future risk of dental disease, enhance oral health throughout childhood, and reduce costs associated with oral health care. Early visits to the dentist will also familiarize your child with the dental office which reduces anxiety and fear for future visits. Your child should be seen for his or her first visit within 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth but not later than the child’s first birthday.
Most cavities occur on the biting surfaces of the back teeth. Sealants – white plastic coatings that fill the grooves in these tooth surfaces – are highly effective in preventing tooth decay. Sealants are easy to place and require no numbing or removal of tooth structure. Sealants typically last for 3-5 years, but some dietary habits such as chewing ice or hard candy can cause them to wear down more quickly.
Dr. Ravel offers composite fillings that match the color of the tooth and traditional amalgam fillings. Some teeth are too badly decayed to hold a composite or amalgam filling. These teeth require complete coverage with stainless steel crowns. Dr. Ravel is happy to discuss with you the advantages and limitations of each treatment to identify which would be best for your child.
Extractions are done only as a last resort. If a primary molar is removed prematurely, a space maintainer may be necessary to hold space open for the permanent tooth. In addition, some extractions are needed for orthodontic reasons to help guide the eruption and alignment of your child’s permanent teeth.
Some children are given nitrous oxide/oxygen to help them relax for dental treatment. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide and is given through a small breathing mask placed over the child’s nose. The gas is mild, easily taken, and quickly eliminated from the body. Nitrous oxide/oxygen gives most children a relaxed, comfortable feeling. While inhaling nitrous oxide/oxygen, your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes. This technique is a very safe, effective way to treat a mildly anxious child.
Oral conscious Sedation
Oral conscious sedation is recommended for moderately apprehensive children, very young children, and children with special needs. It is used to calm your child and to reduce the anxiety or discomfort associated with dental treatment. Your child may be quite drowsy, and may even fall asleep, but they will not become unconscious. There are a variety of medications that can be used for oral conscious sedation. Dr. Ravel will prescribe the medication best suited for your child’s overall health and dental treatment needs. Before recommending oral conscious sedation, Dr. Ravel will discuss with you the risks and benefits of this approach. He also will answer any questions you might have concerning the specific medications to be given to your child.
Outpatient General Anesthesia
Dental treatment can be provided while your child is given a general anesthetic by an anesthesiologist. Outpatient general anesthesia is appropriate for children who are extremely apprehensive or have extensive dental needs and are not good candidates for oral conscious sedation. Treatment is performed in a hospital operating room while your child is completely asleep. An anesthetic gas is given to your child through a breathing tube that will keep them asleep during the procedure. All of your child’s dental treatment needs can be completed in one visit. Before recommending outpatient general anesthesia, Dr. Ravel will discuss with you the risks and benefits of this approach.
Dr. Daniel Ravel, DDS
1031 Weiss Ave, Fayetteville, NC 28305