Pediatric Dental Services

Age One Visit

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child’s first checkup should occur by age one. Surprised? You shouldn’t be! Even though there may only be a few baby teeth visible at that age, there are plenty of things to start working on — including the development of healthy habits that will make future visits to the dentist far more pleasurable. At this important visit we will check the baby teeth for early cavities, show you how to care for a young child’s mouth properly, go over your child’s developmental milestones, and discuss the importance of good oral hygiene.

Preparing for the Big Day

The way kids seem to pick up on their parents’ feelings sometimes seems uncanny; so, if you’re nervous about going to the dentist yourself, try not to let it show. It’s best to tell your child what to expect beforehand, without making too big a fuss about it. Everything should sound fun, exciting, and easy for your little one. You could even build some excitement by reading a picture book of their favorite cartoon character going to the Dentist! It’s a good idea to bring a comforting toy, a snack, and an extra diaper or two, just in case of fussiness. Our team is trained to work with children so that they feel comfortable and excited during their appointments. We strive for every child to leave with a smile on their face and prizes in their hand. Many habits are developed early in life. This is why it is so important to bring your little one in for their fun, but informative dental health visit by by their first birthday. So when it’s time for your child’s first visit… don’t hesitate! You’ll be glad you came in.

Digital Intra-Oral Cameras

When it comes to helping you understand your child’s dental examination, diagnosis or treatment, intra-oral cameras allow you to see what the dentist sees. These instant images of your teeth can be saved as stills or video — or even printed out — so you can know exactly what’s happening in your child’s mouth.

Digital X-rays

Diagnostic x-rays have long been invaluable to dentistry. The emergence of digital technology in the past decade, however, has made dental x-rays safer and even more useful. Digital technology allows our team to cut radiation exposure to patients by as much as 90% over traditional x-rays. In addition to how safe they are, they eliminate the waiting time for pictures to develop and provide sharper images that can be enhanced instantly to show detail.

Laser Dentistry

Dr. Rishita’s expertise in using Waterlase iPlus 2.0 allows her to provide 95% of our procedures without need of local anesthesia during our quick and comfortable appointments. Lasers are used to precisely to remove decay conservatively, treat gum disease by killing harmful bacteria deep in pockets below the gum line or seal painful canker sores without the pressure and vibration of the dental drill. By stimulating atoms with pulses of energy, lasers cause the atoms to produce a beam of coherent light. Essentially, that means that they emit light which has a great deal of energy, yet can be precisely controlled. It’s the combination of high energy and precision that make Waterlaser so useful.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are clear composite resin coatings that are painted over the chewing surfaces of the back teeth — the place where your child is most likely to get tooth decay. Sealants act as an effective barrier against sugar, acid, bacteria, and plaque to protect the deep grooves of the back teeth. A sealed tooth is far less likely to develop a cavity. A tooth with a cavity is sick, making your child’s mouth and overall health compromised.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Composite resins are generally appropriate for small to moderate-sized restorations — which encompass the most common types of fillings. They are non-metal, durable, fracture-resistant, and able to withstand chewing pressure. Both scientific studies and clinical experience have shown that tooth-colored restorations (fillings) are safe, reliable, and long-lasting. Plus, they look great. Not only do tooth-colored fillings offer an aesthetic alternative to “metal” or “silver” (dental amalgam) fillings, they may also allow for a more conservative treatment method that preserves more of the tooth’s structure. When you put these advantages together, it’s no wonder some dentists say we’re moving toward a “post-amalgam” era. Whatever the situation, the best way to determine whether tooth-colored fillings are right for you is to come in and consult with Dr. Rishita Jaju. She will explain the appropriate options and help you select the best way to proceed with any recommended treatment. Either way, you’ll be able to achieve — and keep — a healthy-looking smile.

Baby Tooth Root Canal

This procedure also known as ‘pulpotomy’ or ‘pulpectomy’ depending on the location and extent of infection,  is the best method available to save a baby tooth that has decay which progressed to the nerve of the tooth. In the past, your dentist would have no other recourse but extract that tooth due to fear of pain, infection and swelling. Today, with a dental laser and baby tooth root canal treatment, Dr. Rishita Jaju is able to save the tooth and allow for proper development of jawbone. During treatment, we remove the infected portion of the pulp with use of Waterlaser and seal it with a medication that restores the rest of the nerve. Then, your choice of esthetic tooth colored or metal stainless steel crown is placed on the tooth to protect and conserve its function until it is time for that tooth to fall out naturally many years later.

Pediatric Crowns/Caps

When the decay is too large compared to the size of the rest of the tooth structure, then fillings are no longer adequate. A dental ‘crown’ or a ‘cap’ are coverings placed over damaged teeth to strengthen them, and allow them to look and function normally again. Dr. Rishita Jaju offers Tooth-Colored NuSmile Zirconium Crowns, which are durable and blend in naturally with the rest of a child’s smile. Stainless steel crowns are also available for some cases. Both options will be discussed to see what works best for you and your child if a crown is needed to save a tooth.

Extractions & Space Maintainers

Sometimes a child may need help “wiggling out” or extracting teeth. A tooth may need to be extracted due to extensive decay, trauma, or a baby tooth refusing to fall out! Dr. Rishita utilizes Waterlaser to make extractions simple and comfortable for children. If a child loses a baby tooth prematurely, a “space maintainer” may be needed to hold the space open until the permanent tooth comes in to fill it. This appliance will help your child’s bite develop properly — and hopefully avoid the need for braces later on.

Nitrous Oxide

Children that have mild behavioral and cooperation concerns can use Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to help with reducing the gag reflex or mild levels of anxiety. The child gets to choose a scent for a small mask to rest over their nose for the Nitrous Oxide to flow through during the appointment. Throughout their treatment the child remains awake and can continue watching their choice in movie. After the visit, the child receives 100% fresh Oxygen and the Nitrous Oxide leaves their system in a matter of only a few minutes!

IV Sedation

Healthy children that need help with cooperation due to extensive dental needs and cannot tolerate dental treatment benefit from IV (Intravenous) sedation provided in our office and administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist.  It is “twilight” state of sleep for the child, as they are still able to breathe independently and manage their reflexes. The anesthesiologist has the ability to custom-titrate the medications to safely produce the best effects. Children can return to normal school or play activity the very next day.

General Anesthesia

Children who have certain respiratory or neurological special needs require care in a hospital setting. It is provided by using a combination of intravenous drugs and inhaled gases, and puts a patient into a completely-unconscious state. A breathing tube is inserted to control the airway with use of respiratory machines. Dr. Jaju maintains medical privileges at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC and is able to provide care for her most fragile patients at that facility.