Kristi Linsenmayer, DDS, MPH, MSD
Pediatric Dental Specialist
21 Jefferson Way, Suite 102
Ketchikan, Alaska 99901
What is a pediatric dentist?
A pediatric dentist, like Dr. Kristi, has an extra two years of specialized training after dental school and is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teenage years. The very young, pre-teens, and teenagers all need different approaches in dealing with behavior, guiding their growth and development, and helping them avoid future dental problems.
With the additional education, pediatric dentists have the training which allows them to offer the most up-to-date and thorough treatment for a wide variety of pediatric dental problems.
At what age should I schedule my child's first visit?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association, your child’s first visit should occur about 6 months after their first tooth erupts, but no later than your child’s first birthday. Although it may seem young, finding your child’s “dental home” is a key to a lifetime of good dental health.
Remember- 2 is too late for your child’s first pediatric dental appointment.
Why are baby teeth so important?
It is very important to maintain the health of primary teeth (baby teeth). Neglected cavities can cause pain and infection, and it can also lead to problems which affect the developing permanent teeth. Primary teeth are important for (1) proper chewing and eating, (2) providing space for permanent teeth and guiding them into position, and (3) permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles.
Why does my child need dental x-rays?
Radiographs (x-rays) are a necessary part of your child's dental diagnostic process. Without them, certain cavities will be missed. They also help survey developing teeth, evaluate results of an injury, or plan for orthodontic treatment. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child, and more affordable for you.
On average, our office will request bitewing radiographs approximately once a year and panoramic radiographs every 3-5 years. In children with a high risk of tooth decay, we will recommend radiographs and examinations every six months.
With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental x-ray examination is extremely small. The risk is negligible. In fact, the dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem. Lead body aprons and shields will protect your child. Today's equipment restricts the beam to the area of interest.
What are sealants, fillings and crowns?
A sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) for the back teeth (premolars and molars), where most cavities in children can form. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque, and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth. However, cavities between the teeth are not protected by sealants. As long as there is no cavity in the tooth, sealants will be recommended for all children.
If your child has a cavity, a filling is placed after the cavity is removed. Most of the time, the filling is a tooth colored (white) filling, but there are certain situations in which a silver filling is necessary.
In a primary tooth, if a cavity is too large to restore with a filling, a crown may be recommend or the tooth may need to come out. If the cavity is too large and has involved the nerve of the tooth, then the nerve will be removed (pulpotomy) along with the cavity, and a crown will be placed. A crown can either be tooth colored or stainless steel. For front teeth, white crowns are routinely used for esthetics. For back teeth, stainless steel crowns are used for their durability and longevity. The purpose of the crown is to help provide structure for the tooth, to help maintain space for permanent teeth to erupt properly, and to help protect the remaining tooth.
All of these procedures are associated with a certain failure rate depending on the severity of disease, cooperation of patient during treatment, and individual response to the treatment. All treatment is recommended based on scientific criteria and clinical experience in the best interest of your child. If your child needs any of the above treatments, please talk to Dr. Kristi about any questions or concerns that you may have.
When are procedures carried out in a hospital?
General anesthesia may be indicated for children with extensive dental needs who are extremely uncooperative, fearful or anxious or for the very young who do not understand how to cope in a cooperative fashion. General anesthesia also can be helpful for children requiring significant surgical procedures or patients having special health care needs.
What can be done about my child's toothache?
Clean the area around the sore tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth with warm salt water or use dental floss to dislodge impacted food or debris. DO NOT place aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth. If the face is swollen or the pain still persists, contact our office as soon as possible.
Our son has fractured his tooth.
What do you suggest?
Rinse debris from injured area with warm water. Place cold compresses over the face in the area of injury. Placement of Vaseline over the area of the broken tooth will aid in decreasing sensitivity. Locate and save any broken tooth fragments in milk.
Contact our office as soon as possible.
My child accidentally knocked out her permanent tooth, what should I do?
The first thing to do is to remain calm. This can be a very upsetting situation for both you and your child.
Always make sure your child has not passed out or is unable to remember the injury. If this is the case, you will need to report to the emergency room for head trauma evaluation.
Next, determine if it is a permanent or baby tooth.
If it is a baby tooth, do not reimplant. Contact us immediately for instructions.
If it is a permanent tooth, find the tooth and pick it up by the crown of the tooth (the part you see in the mouth.)
Try not to handle the root of the tooth. If there appears to be debris on the tooth, rinse with water, milk, or saliva.
Next, place the tooth back in the socket and contact our office immediately.
The best chance for survival of the tooth is if it has been re-implanted within 30 minutes of the injury. This is why it is critical that you re-implant immediately. Your child will need to be seen shortly after, so the tooth can be splinted.
When should my child wear a mouthguard?
Your child should wear a mouthguard whenever he or she is in an activity with a risk of falls or of head contact with other players or equipment. We usually think of football and hockey as the most dangerous to the teeth, but nearly half of sports-related mouth injuries occur in basketball and baseball.
Dr. Kristi will recommend the best mouthguard for your child.