Special Needs Children and the Dentist

I have a special needs child. He gets very aggitated in new situations. He’s just turned five and I know he needs to go to the dentist, especially since it is very hard to get him to brush his teeth. Every day is a challenge and I’m not sure how to get him through a dental appointment. Do you have any experience with this where you can advise me?

Annie H. – Bellevue, Washington

Annie,

I’m sorry for all the stress you’re feeling and I can tell you love your son very much. You’re right that he needs to see a dentist, especially if he has trouble getting through his oral hygiene routine.

One of the things I’d suggest, is to use a dentist that enjoys working with children who also practices sedation dentistry. You’ll want someone who is DOCS certified (Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation). They’ll be the most highly trained in sedation. It is a perfectly safe procedure, but it never hurts to have someone who is prepared.

This will put your son in a relaxed and sleepy state. He likely won’t even remember being at the dentist’s office.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist Dr. John Theriot.

Affordable Dental Implants

I’m down to three of my original teeth on the top of my mouth.  I got a partial denture to replace the missing teeth. Nobody told me that it could hurt my healthy teeth, but over time, one of the teeth that the partial clipped onto started to get loose, and now my dentist says it’s dead.

He can’t pinpoint exactly how it happened, but he thinks the partial is to blame, and says it happens that way sometimes. So, I’m stuck with getting a root canal and crown, but my dentist says he feels “guarded” about the long-term prognosis.   I’m ready to just have the last few teeth pulled and be done with it. Get a denture. My dentist says an implant denture might be a better way to go about it, but that doesn’t make sense to me. Won’t they fail just like my teeth did? They’re not exactly affordable dental implants if I wind up having to get a regular denture anyway.

Thanks,

Bailey

Dear Bailey,

There are a couple of points that should probably be addressed here. Generally speaking, removable partials don’t kill or injure teeth. However, poorly-fitting ones can cause all sorts of issues.  In order for them to perform well, they need to evenly distribute the forces exerted upon them. If they aren’t made well to begin with or your anatomy changes, and they begin to rock or tug on the supporting teeth, they can cause damage. A root canal and crown may work for you for a considerable amount of time, provided you have a new partial made or the existing one is adjusted so it fits correctly.

As for affordable dental implants, the price has certainly come down over the years, and now that a denture can be secured with just a few, they’re an option for even more budgets. They’re made from a very strong metal, which bonds directly to the bone, and the system works just like the root of a tooth. The big difference is that they’re obviously not vital, or don’t have blood flow to them like a tooth does, so there’s no worry about one dying like a tooth can. However, it’s still important to make sure the denture fits properly, and evenly distributes biting forces across the affordable dental implants, to ensure their longevity. It’s definitely the kind of thing you want to make sure you see an experienced professional for, and not just any dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist Dr. John Theriot.

Will the bonding the emergency dentist gave me last?

I fell and chipped a tooth pretty badly. I saw an emergency dentist. He said the tooth was fine and put some composite filling on it to make sure the chip was fixed.  Will that last or is it a temporary fix and I need to see my regular dentist?

Emily S. – Utah

Emily,

The composite resin the emergency dentist used is a standard treatment for a chipped tooth using dental bonding and that itself will last for a while. I’m wondering what he did to determine the tooth itself was fine. You didn’t say anything about x-rays of the tooth structure.

If that wasn’t done I would certainly follow up with your dentist. To be honest, it’s probably a good idea to follow up either way. For instance, the blood flow to the tooth could have been cut off, which wouldn’t show up on an x-ray.  One of the signs this is happening would be discoloration of the tooth, but the tooth will die and you’ll need a root canal to take care of it.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA dentist Dr. John Theriot