Dr. Saul Escala believes that a trip to the dentist should be fun, lighthearted, and not something to fear. The way your child is exposed to dentistry lays the groundwork for how they view dental care and dental visits for the rest of their lives.
Dr. Saul Escala and his team love caring for their patients, and work hard to make sure each child is spoken to gently, treated with respect, and cared for as if they were our own child. We use simple words to explain procedures to our patients and make sure each parent or guardian is aware of the process as well.
Infant Oral Exams
Following the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Saul Escala suggests infants should come in for their first oral exam between the ages of six months to one year old.
Dr. Saul Escala will review proper diet, age-appropriate hygiene, and go over pacifier use to make sure your child’s oral health starts strong and stays strong.
Children's Cleanings & Exams
Preventive care is one of the simplest and most important ways to make sure your child’s teeth grow in strong and healthy. Giving them the proper tools and teaching them the right way to brush when they are young lays the groundwork that will create healthy habits they will carry with them into adulthood.
Most children have two cleanings a year, but children with a higher risk of caries may need more frequent visits.
During a checkup, will your child’s hygienist will clean their teeth and, if necessary, take x-rays and give your child a fluoride treatment. The dentist will perform an exam and review if any treatment is needed.
Digital x-rays help diagnose cavities while they are tiny, often allowing for less invasive treatment. If they are caught early enough, decay may be stopped with some minor changes to your child’s homecare routine.
Using digital x-rays, Dr. Saul Escala can look for teeth that haven’t erupted yet, make sure your child’s jaws and teeth are developing well, and monitor whether orthodontic treatment will be needed in the future.
Today’s digital x-rays expose your child to less radiation than ever before. Lead aprons and taking x-rays only when necessary further reduce your child’s exposure.
Topical fluoride treatments help keep your child’s teeth cavity-free between visits by strengthening the enamel. Depending on your child’s age, the fluoride may be brushed onto your child’s teeth or put into a foam tray and allowed to sit on their teeth. For younger children, a fluoride varnish is brushed onto the teeth. Fluoride varnish hardens when it comes in contact with saliva, forming a hard film that is brushed off later that evening.
Older children usually have a tray loaded with foam fluoride placed in their mouths for a specific amount of time along with a suction straw to remove any foam overflow and saliva. When the time is up, your child is told not to eat or drink for at least 30 minutes to allow the fluoride to work.
Dr. Saul Escala and his hygiene team are happy to answer all your questions about fluoride treatments and treatment options.
If your child needs restorative treatment in the form of a filling or crown, Dr. Saul Escala and his team will create a custom treatment plan for your child and review all options with you before treatment begins. We believe a conservative approach to children’s dentistry is usually the best course of action.
Fillings are placed in the tooth following decay removal to preserve natural tooth structure. Nowadays most fillings are made of a composite resin that is matched to your child’s natural tooth color. In some rare instances amalgam (silver) fillings may be used.
Crowns can be made of many different materials depending on where in your child’s mouth they are to be used. Stainless steel, resin, and zirconia are all durable choices and require very similar preparations.
Why Does My Child Need a Crown?
Sometimes an area of decay is too large for a filling or the decay has compromised the whole side of a tooth, so there is not enough tooth structure to support a filling. If your child has an accident that results in a heavily damaged tooth or if your child is at high risk for developing cavities, the doctor may decide it’s best to preserve the entire remaining structure.
If you are concerned that your child needs a crown, Dr. Saul Escala and his team are happy to answer all your questions.
Children with Special Needs
When caring for children with special needs, our overall approach to dentistry doesn't change, but the treatment plan may be slightly different to accommodate any issues you may be facing at home; e.g., brushing, flossing, dietary concerns and addressing aversions to food textures and tastes, etc. We are always empathetic to the needs of the caregiver as well as the child and show support in any way we can.
Our empathy and advanced training allows us to read a child’s body language to help them even when your child can’t express those feelings themselves. The team at Escala Family Dentistry has been trained to help every child remain as calm as possible throughout their visit.
Our office’s treatment rooms are designed to accommodate children with special needs so we can administer care in an environment that's accessible and comfortable for your child.
By visiting Escala Family Dentistry, you can rest assured that your child will be in the care of someone who can understand them and give them the gentle, respectful treatment they deserve.
It’s estimated that over 20 million children take part in one after-school sport or another. With that amount of children engaging in sports and other activities like skiing, gymnastics, and martial arts, there is a higher chance of injury. Did you know that up to 20% of these injuries are due to fractured or otherwise damaged teeth?
Dr. Saul Escala can create a sports mouthguard for your child. After an impression of your child’s teeth is taken, he will fabricate a new mouthguard molded to custom-fit to their unique smile.
When worn regularly, your child can protect their teeth, jaws, and lips from injury. Your child only gets one set of adult teeth. Dr. Saul Escala can help you keep them safe.
Studies have shown that almost 33% of children aged 2 to 5 have had a cavity. Even though baby teeth are only around for a few short years, it’s still important to keep them healthy because they hold the space for your child’s adult teeth. They also help develop proper speech patterns and help your child chew.
The procedure is the same for a child as it is for an adult. Depending on the size of the decayed area, a local anesthetic may be given, and if your child has any anxiety over the procedure, we have some sedation options available to make the procedure more comfortable.
After the decay is removed, a special gel is used to clean and etch the surface. Once the filling material is in place, it is light cured, polished, and adjusted to make sure it doesn’t interfere with your child’s bite. Tooth-colored filling material is much like a natural tooth in texture and is matched to your child’s tooth color.
After treatment, it’s important to maintain a regular homecare routine of brushing and flossing twice daily, so your child’s restorations stay healthy and prevent any more decay.
An extraction can make both children and parents anxious, but they are a common procedure in most dental offices. Sometimes a child’s tooth has too much decay to restore, or they need a tooth or teeth removed to make room for orthodontic treatment.
Regardless of the reason, Dr. Saul Escala and his team will make sure you and your child are comfortable with the treatment plan.
After some local anesthetic, the doctor will remove your child’s tooth. If it is impacted or if it is a complicated removal, the doctor will discuss with you if sedation options are recommended.
Once the tooth is removed, our dentist will give you post-op instructions, and place a small piece of gauze over the extraction site to stop any bleeding and to help a clot form. Check and replace the gauze every 20 minutes until bleeding stops.
Here are some recommended tips for the first 24 hours after your child’s extraction:
- Use over-the-counter or prescribed pain reliever if recommended by the dentist.
- Give your child soft foods for the first 24 hours after their extraction.
- DO NOT allow your child to drink from a straw, rinse their mouths out, spit, or brush that area for at least 24 hours after tooth removal. This could dislodge the blood clot and cause a very painful issue called dry socket.
- Place an ice pack wrapped in a towel over the area for about 20 minutes to relieve swelling and discomfort.
- Immediately call our office if your child experiences fever, immense pain, or chills.
Escala Family Dentistry always considers your child’s comfort regardless of the type of treatment they are receiving. The dentist will discuss their unique situation with you to determine the best way to help them receive the treatment they need.
Click here to see a video about Pediatric First Visit