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Pediatric Dentistry

Your pediatric dentist at Züri Zahni

When should I take my child for their first dental visit?

We recommend an initial visit to the dentist at the age of two. This way, our little patients and their parents can get to know pediatric dentistry in a calm and child-friendly environment. And at the age of two, baby teeth have normally emerged fully.

Don’t hesitate to ask any questions about your child’s diet and daily oral hygiene at home – we’re glad to advise you even as soon as the first baby tooth has erupted.

How do I prepare my child for the first visit to the pediatric dentist?
  • Try and make the day of the first visit as relaxed and strain-free as possible.
  • 
Make sure that your child is well-rested. Don’t promise a treat for going to the dentist - you don’t want your child to think it has to fear the visit in the first place.

  • If you’ve had bad experiences at the dentist’s, try to keep those bad feelings to yourself. Your child should be able to go to the dentist with as little bias as possible.
  • Avoid phrases like «it won’t hurt» or «you don’t need to be afraid». They might seem calming, but usually cause the opposite.

  • Just explain to your child, what happens at a visit to a dental office.
Why should I take my child to a pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentists work quite differently than dentists for adults, especially on a psychological level. It’s important to take plenty of time for children, to explain procedures in a child-friendly language and prepare them playfully for the upcoming treatment.

The early childhood years are formative for a stress- and anxiety-free relationship to the pediatric dentist. When a child knows there is nothing to fear, they’ll go to their next visit gladly.

How often should I clean my child’s teeth?

Pediatric dentists advise regular tooth brushing after the first baby tooth has emerged.
You should brush your child’s teeth once a day in the first year, twice a day in the second year and three times a day from their third year on. It’s important that you assist your child in teeth-brushing. Children don’t have the fine-motor skills to ensure a thorough oral hygiene.

Additionally, use a small size toothbrush and a age-appropriate toothpaste with reduced fluoride-concentration (500ppm). Children under six don’t always manage spitting out toothpaste after brushing their teeth and tend to swallow it instead. Your pediatric dentist can instruct your child on the right way to hold and use a toothbrush.

Why is oral hygiene so essential for children?

Maintaining healthy primary teeth until they fall out naturally is very important for the development of the permanent set of teeth. A premature loss of primary teeth can lead to substantial loss of space in the permanent set of teeth. This can lead to orthodontic treatment being the only way to repair the damage. 

Your pediatric dentist helps your child develop and keep up good oral hygiene. They can spot caries early and treat it in a gentle and child-friendly way.

How does my pediatric dentist repair my child’s teeth?

Your pediatric dentist usually repairs carious primary teeth with tooth-colored synthetic material. There is little difference between the treatment of primary and permanent teeth.

When are crowns necessary for primary teeth?

If a baby tooth in a crucial position has decayed substantially because of caries, your pediatric dentist may decide that a silver-colored steel crown is the best treatment. The decayed tooth can be stabilized that way. 

The baby tooth and its crown will fall our normally when the new, permanent tooth comes in.

What happens when a pediatric dentist has to pull a tooth?

Pulling a tooth can be the only treatment if a baby tooth has decayed beyond hope, if the bone beneath has become inflamed or if the tooth has broken along its length. But neighbouring teeth could tilt towards the resulting gap and that loss of space can often be irretrievable. 

That’s why your pediatric dentist will usually have a space maintainer custom-made by a dental technician to keep the neighbouring teeth from encroaching on the gap.

When does a pediatric dentist opt for «laughing gas»-sedation?

If a young child shows little cooperation but a treatment is necessary nontheless, your pediatric dentist may decide that sedation by nitrous oxide («laughing gas») is appropriate.

What is nitrous oxide and how does it work?

Nitrous oxide or «laughing gas» is a colorless medicinal gas with a slightly sweet smell. The child will breathe a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen through a nasal mask during the dental treatment. This requires unobstructed nasal breathing.
Nitrous oxide is soothing, relaxing and helps minimize anxiety during treatment. Additionally, it reduces the gagging reflex and can cause a slight tingling sensation in the lower extremities as well as sensation of heaviness.

A quiet atmosphere is important during treatment, since nitrous oxide heightens the sense of hearing. When administered nitrous oxide, patients lose their sense of time so they perceive the treatment as shorter and the procedure in general as more pleasant. Often, children will recollect little of the treatment afterwards.

What are the benefits of nitrous oxide? Why is it popular in pediatric dentistry?

Unlike general anesthesia, sedation by nitrous oxide has the patient responsive and awake during the procedure. Vital reflexes like breathing, swallowing and gagging keep working normally under this sedation.

Our bodies don’t deposit or process nitrous oxide, we simply exhale the gas. After the procedure, pure oxygen is administered for a while and in a few minutes, patients return to a normal state. There is practically no chance of incidents or complications if nitrous oxide is handled correctly and responsibly.

What are disadvantages of nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide is considered as a safe sedative. Known side effects are nausea or vomiting, which seldom occur. If your child is hypersensitive to nitrous oxide or has experienced a detrimental reaction to it, please inform your pediatric dentist.

When is outpatient general anesthesia necessary for a procedure?

General anesthesia may be necessary with children and adolescents who can’t be treated while awake because of their young age, anxiety or a pre-existing condition. 

For these patients, we provide outpatient general anesthesia with the support of an experienced external anesthesiology-team, consisting of an anesthesiologist and a nurse.