Common Procedures


exams and cleanings

Regular Exams and Cleanings

Regular exams are an important part of maintaining your child's oral health. During your child’s regular exam, we will:

  • Check for any problems that may not be seen or felt
  • Look for cavities or any other signs of tooth decay
  • Inspect the teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease
  • Perform a thorough teeth cleaning

Your child’s exam will take about 45 minutes. Each regular exam includes a detailed teeth cleaning, in which we will clean, polish, and rinse the teeth to remove any tartar and plaque that have built up on the tooth’s surface.

Visiting our office every six months gives you the chance to talk to the doctor about any questions you may have about your child’s oral health. Regular exams are offered by appointment only, so please contact our practice today to schedule your child’s next dental exam and teeth cleaning.

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Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)

Some children may be nervous about going to the dentist, but gently sedating your child for dentistry with nitrous oxide can be an excellent option to ease their nerves. When we use nitrous oxide sedation for your child’s procedure, the asisstant will give your child a special breathing mask to inhale the gas. Generally, they will administer the gas a few minutes before beginning any other component of the procedure, and will continue until they have completed treatment. Dental professionals conduct routine, ongoing safety checks on vital signs to ensure the health and safety of your child.

Your child should feel more calm and relaxed during the procedure, but will not go into a deep sleep, as with other types of sedation. Once the nitrous oxide is turned off, your child will breathe 100% pure oxygen to help flush any residual nitrous oxide out of their lungs.


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Crowns are “cemented” onto an existing tooth and fully cover the portion of the tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes the tooth’s new outer surface.

Stainless steel dental crowns are considered a good temporary restoration to save a primary tooth until the permanent tooth can erupt and take its place. Keeping the primary tooth if at all possible is very important. A primary tooth can be restored with a stainless steel crown during one appointment. A crowned tooth must be brushed and flossed just like other teeth.

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extractionsThere are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth at risk of decay, so the doctor may recommend its removal. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.

When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, your child’s dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may request another visit for this procedure. 

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Fillings are commonly made of either silver amalgam or composite resin material. A few of the benefits of the composite resin fillings include:

  • The ability to match the resin to the color of the tooth, making them less noticeable.
  • Less drilling is required, which is great for kids who are fearful of the drilling noise.
  • Direct bonding to your child’s tooth means increased strength.

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flourideFluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay and in preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface. A fluoride treatment in a dentist’s office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, your child may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your child’s oral health or the doctor’s recommendation, a fluoride treatment may be required every three, six, or 12 months.

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Silver Fluoride 

SDF’s ability to slow down or stop dental decay comes from its two main ingredients. Silver’s antibacterial properties have been known for centuries, and its low toxicity makes it ideal for use in humans. Fluoride significantly increases the rate at which tooth enamel can be remineralized by saliva, and at the same time increases the enamel’s resistance to future degradation due to acids. Fluoride has antimicrobial properties as well.

The uses of silver fluoride include stopping tooth decay from progressing and keeping the affected teeth stable until Dr. Liles determines if further action is necessary to preserve the health of the teeth. SDF helps harden the tooth structure softened by decay.


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If the decay or trauma is confined to the crown of the tooth, a pulpotomy may be recommended. When a cavity gets really deep, close to the pulp of a tooth, or even into the pulp, the pulpal tissue becomes irritated and inflamed. A pulpotomy is when the inflamed pulp chamber, usually on a baby molar, is removed. The dentist will remove all the infected material in the pulp of the crown only, leaving the living tooth root intact. After a pulpotomy on a baby molar, the empty space will be filled with dental cement and a stainless steel crown will be placed to restore the tooth.


If the infection involves tissue in both the tooth crown and the tooth root, a pulpectomy may be the best option. In a pulpectomy, the entire pulp material is removed from both the crown and the roots. After numbing your child’s tooth, the dentist will remove the pulp and nerve tissue from the crown and from the canals of the roots. Then, the pulp chamber and root canals will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Next, the dentist will fill the tooth and tooth roots with a dental cement, and finish with a stainless steel crown.


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Space Maintainers 

In the event that a baby tooth is lost due to trauma or because of an extraction, a space maintainer may need to be placed in order to hold the space open until the permanent tooth starts to erupt. Without a space maintainer the teeth adjacent to the space may drift and block out the space needed for the permanent tooth. 

Procedure: First, we will take an impression of your child's teeth. The impression is sent to a lab that designs the space maintainer to fit over one of the adjacent teeth and a loop that acts as a space holder. Once the permanent tooth starts to erupt, we will remove the appliance in time for the eruption of the permanent tooth.

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sealantsSometimes brushing is not enough, especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach spots in your child’s mouth. It is difficult for a toothbrush to get in between the small cracks and grooves on your child’s teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give your child’s teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.

Dental sealants are a plastic resin that bonds and hardens in the deep grooves on your child’s tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, brushing your child's teeth becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.

Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth as a preventive measure against tooth decay after the permanent teeth have erupted. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and your child’s dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.

Sealants last from three to five years, but it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact, so if your child’s sealants come off, let your dentist know, and schedule an appointment for your child's teeth to be re-sealed.

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A palate expander is an orthodontic tool used to widen the palate — the roof of the mouth, also referred to as the maxilla — over time.

Palatal expanders work by applying gentle pressure to the palate until it reaches the desired expansion. Treatment can last anywhere from three to twelve months, depending on the usage, child’s palate and the orthodontist’s opinion. Most orthodontists will keep the palate expander in place after achieving the desired expansion so the palate solidifies its new shape, then orthodontic treatment will continue as needed.

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Pedo Partial 

A pedo-partial is a partial denture for children. Pedo-partials are used to replace teeth lost due to decay or injury. They restore the natural appearance of your child's teeth and serve the important function of holding the space so that the adult teeth can come in properly.

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