Published on February 02-07-24



Applied to permanent molars, sealants can reduce the risk of cavities by 80%. But, what about deciduous teeth … and the caries that can sometimes show up? When it does, it’s common for parents to be upset and worried. And that anxiety can easily pass along to the child.

So, how can you help both parents and their children have a positive dental experience, even when the dentist finds a cavity?

The key is to approach those conversations as an opportunity for learning.

Let parents know that they’re not alone – tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children, and more than 40% of children will have dental caries by the time they reach kindergarten. Parents may not know that decay spreads quickly between deciduous teeth because that enamel is thinner than on permanent teeth.

Follow up with the good news. They have an excellent option for treatment when significant tooth loss has occurred as a result of rampant or very advanced caries: pedo crowns.

The dentist may get some pushback: “Why put a crown on a tooth that’s going to fall out anyway?” You know the reasons why, but young patients and their parents probably don’t, or they haven’t thought about them. So the dentist may ask you to help explain the benefits of these crowns.

So, here’s how to highlight the benefits of pedo crowns.

Why Pedo Crowns Are Better Than Extraction

This is where hygienists can be the voice of education and comfort for pediatric patients and their parents.

Baby Teeth Are Worth Saving (and Not Just for the Tooth Fairy)

Crowns are also a great alternative to extracting teeth. Removing deciduous teeth too early creates space for neighboring teeth to move in, making it nearly impossible for permanent teeth to come through the way they should.

Another unwanted result from extraction is that the resulting gap makes it hard for the child to chew. Parents work hard enough to get their kids to eat fruits and vegetables, most of which are crunchy in texture. If chewing is painful or uncomfortable, that hard work becomes even more difficult.

Pedo crowns

Pedo Crowns Are Different From Adult Crowns

When adults think of crowns, they think of their own crowns (or those of another adult they know) and assume it will be the same experience for their children.

But children typically struggle to sit still for long stretches and very quickly become scared. Their tolerance for even the slightest discomfort is low. So, crowns made specifically for children were designed to alleviate these issues as much as possible.

HuFriedyGroup Pedo Crowns were specifically created for pediatric situations, making procedures faster and more efficient. They’re also made from stainless steel that is pre-trimmed, crimped and contoured, which minimizes the need for adjustments during placement.

Help Parents Prevent More Cavities

While talking with the child and caregivers about pediatric crowns, don’t miss out on the opportunity to promote good oral health care practices..

We all know good dental hygiene starts at home. But, knowing and doing are two different things (raise your hand if you’re surprised when a patient is regularly flossing).

Many parents want to develop healthy oral care in their children, but they’re not sure how to do it right.

A great recommendation from hygienist Debbi Viger is to demonstrate the “BOIT” system using a soft brush and a rice-sized bit of toothpaste.

BOIT brushing involves three circular passes starting in the upper-right side of the mouth:

  • “Bumpy” – Brush the biting surface.
  • “Outside” – Brush the parts of teeth you see when the child smiles.
  • “Inside” – Brush the tooth surfaces near the tongue.
  • “Tongue” – Finish with a quick brushing of the tongue.

Also, take this opportunity to remind parents that sugary drinks, sticky candy, juice and over-sweetened yogurt can damage young teeth.

Relief for Anxious Kids

No matter how much you try to make children feel comfortable at the dental office, many of them will still have a lot of anxiety.

Nitrous oxide/oxygen sedation can calm anxiety and make a child’s experience much less stressful. While both reusable and disposable nasal masks are available, the pandemic-induced trend toward disposable does go a long way in preventing infection.

ClearView™ Nasal Masks are designed to match a child’s flow of breathing, and the soft inner mask creates a better seal. Because the mask is clear, there’s no guessing whether a child is breathing through their nose – you can see for yourself.

What kids really like about the ClearView™ Nasal Masks is how many colors and scents (like bubblegum and strawberry) are available. By letting young patients make some choices, they will feel more in control and comfortable during procedures and cleanings.