Our pediatric dental services are designed specifically to meet the needs of your children.
Dental Treatment for Children with Special Needs
We have extensive training and experience working with patients who have special needs. We are committed to helping all children with special needs feel comfortable in our office.
Our entire team has the knowledge, training, and patience to make your child’s experience a positive one, no matter what his or her needs may be. If you, as a parent, feel that sedation or anesthesia would be helpful, we have a variety of options that we are happy to discuss with you. Our goal is to make dental visits stress-free and enjoyable — for you and your young ones!
We understand that some children are fearful of dental appointments and procedures. While our staff are always gentle and friendly and aim to put everyone at ease, we also offer sedation options to help your child relax, if needed.
Nitrous Oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is a safe, effective, and convenient minimal sedation option that is commonly used in relieving mild anxiety. It is also helpful if a longer appointment or procedure is necessary. Once the dental treatment is over, nitrous oxide will be completely out of your child’s system within a few minutes.
In cases of more severe anxiety or special needs, other sedation options can prove more effective. The Shelby Pediatric Dentistry team is highly qualified in sedation dentistry and can offer oral sedation and even general anesthesia at our local hospital when needed.
Oral sedation involves your child coming early to the office and drinking some medicine (Versed) we flavor with chocolate syrup. The medicine takes about 20 minutes to work, but the child is not asleep. We also give some laughing gas to help your child relax. Normally, we can get several fillings, crowns, and extractions completed during the procedure that we could not have completed with laughing gas alone.
Your child’s safety is of utmost importance to us, which is why we always follow the sedation guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
General anesthesia is commonly needed for children’s dental services. Every month, we treat over 10 patients while they are asleep. Just as a child may need to have ear tubes placed, or tonsils or adenoids removed, this method of receiving treatment is very safe and ensures the child will not have a bad experience at the dentist. When this sedation method is chosen, we take all our materials to Children’s Hospital of Alabama, where the pediatric anesthesia team will put the child to sleep gently and Dr. Baxter can complete the work, normally in only 30–45 minutes, even for multiple crowns or extractions. Then, the child wakes up and goes home an hour or two later.
We are dedicated to the dental needs of our patients and realize that emergencies are never part of your plan. This is why we are available to help, even after hours, in the case of a true dental emergency (i.e. knocked-out permanent tooth or facial swelling).
While we hope none of the following are ever part of your child’s experience, it is helpful to know what to do in a variety of dental situations. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the following:
Broken or chipped tooth
Knocked out permanent tooth
A knocked-out permanent tooth is a true dental emergency. By far, the best option is to replace the tooth before coming to the office. Hold the tooth by the white crown (not the root), rinse it quickly (5 seconds) with water or saline, and replace the tooth in the socket as soon as possible. Have the child bite on a cloth or paper towel to keep the tooth in place. If your child is unable to have the tooth replaced right away, place the tooth in cold milk or Save-A-Tooth if it is available. Avoid storing the tooth dry, in water, or in any other liquids as these can damage the root. Either way, call us right away and come to our office ASAP! On the rare occasion that we are not available, Children’s of Alabama also has a dental resident on call at the emergency department. Time is of the essence, and the chance of saving the tooth is greater the quicker it is replaced in the socket and proper dental care is received.
Knocked out baby tooth
Cut or bitten lip, tongue or cheek
You don’t have to dread your kids’ dental appointments.