When it comes to kids, oral health is a persistent problem. But advances in tools and procedures for the fight against dental disease, of which tooth decay is the most common manifestation, are being made all the time. We asked one of Houstonia’s top dentists, Dr. Pamela Clark of Pearland Pediatrics, to tell us about some of the latest and greatest advances for young patients.

Zirconium crowns

It turns out that patients aren’t the only ones who hate those bulky silver crowns. Dentists prefer natural and less obvious-looking ones too. “Zirconium crowns are full white crowns that are more aesthetic than silver crowns and they allow us to offer choices to patients’ parents.” They can also be used on deeply decayed or deformed baby teeth.

Fluoride varnish

A top-flight preventive measure in the fight against cavities and tooth decay, this is typically applied following teeth cleaning, and for those with compromised or sensitive teeth. Clark finds fluoride varnish to be more beneficial and effective than foam or gel fluoride, the ease of application making it a more suitable choice for children. “Due to its characteristics, patients are able to eat and drink immediately following the application.”

Isolite

For children (and adults) who struggle to keep their mouths open during dental procedures, this tool can be a big help. Designed with a comfortable block to keep the patient’s mouth open, an isolating component to keep the tongue safely away from the treatment area and with light and suction capabilities, Isolite is a boon to both patient and dentist. “The Isolite aids in our office providing high quality dentistry in a comfortable, compassionate, kid-friendly environment.”

Intra-oral cameras

To give her young patients and their parents a better understanding of dental care, Clark uses an intra-oral camera that produces real-time images of patients’ mouths. “Pictures are taken every day of poor oral hygiene, decay and pathology for educational purposes.”

Soft-tissue laser

A valuable tool for minor surgical procedures, particularly in newborns. “This device has enabled our office to provide a helpful service to many nursing mothers by offering a way to perform frenectomies on babies [removal of excess tissue in the mouth] that are having difficulty with nursing. Once a baby’s short frenum is relieved, they are able to nurse more productively, which is normally more comfortable for the mother.”

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