Halley White Pediatric Dentistry Wilmington, NC

Halley White Pediatric Dentistry Wilmington, NC

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dental Surgery at NHRMC...Dr. Halley Operates once a Week

Treatment in the Ambulatory Surgical Unit (ASU) at New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Dr. White is fortunate to have privileges to treat children in the hospital with general anesthesia. After reviewing your child’s medical history and treatment plan, it may be appropriate to recommend treatment in the hospital. Children with severe anxiety and/or the inability to cooperate are candidates for general anesthesia. These children may be young or have special medical needs. Extensive treatment needs that cannot be handled in the conventional office setting may also be scheduled at the hospital. Dr. Halley completes these procedures under the supervision of the anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Nancy St. Onge, RDH, Treatment Coordinator for Dr. Halley arranges the hospital schedule and is always happy to answer any questions regarding this treatment option. When Dr. Halley visits the hospital four times a month she is assisted by one of her dental assistants. Ashley, Tiffany and our newest team member, Jessica, rotate throughout the OR and enjoy the change of pace. After treatment, children are scheduled for a follow-up visit to check on their progress. We are fortunate to be able to offer this treatment option to some of our patients and enjoy partnering with NHRMC to achieve positive results.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Anatomy of a Tooth...It's an Amazing Thing!

Teeth are amazing structures. In fact, it takes 10,000 genes to make up just one tooth while it takes only 30,000 to make up the entire human body! Composed of both layers and parts, each tooth has a specific job or function. Knowing more about these little wonders can help you not only understand more about your own teeth, but also help your child identify possible problems.

First and foremost teeth are covered by enamel, a substance that most of us have heard of but know little about. Enamel, as defined by DentalFind.com, is composed almost entirely of calcium salts and is the hardest substance in the body. Enamel covers the entire part of the tooth that lies above the gum line. Penelope McAllister, hygienist for Dr. Halley, reminds us that enamel is more than just the outer layer of the tooth, “Enamel is the tooth’s first line of defense against the bacteria that is in all of our mouths. Although it can withstand much abuse, and is harder than bone, we have to remember to do our part to keep it clean. Once enamel has been weakened and repaired due to decay it is no longer the protector it once was.”

Regular brushing and dental cleanings are the first step to keeping this shield in good shape. However, never underestimate the power of the composition of saliva and the role it plays in tooth decay. This is why siblings can have similar dental hygiene habits but completely different stories when it comes to decay. Be an active part of your child’s dental health by regularly examining their mouths and reporting any suspicious findings to Dr. Halley her and team. Early detection is key to ensuring that a small area of decay does not develop into a cavity requiring more extensive and expensive treatment.

Beneath the protective covering of the enamel lies a layer that is composed of tiny tubules. Dentin supports the enamel and contains more calcium than any other part of the tooth. The dentin layer is often yellow in appearance and makes up the majority of the tooth.

Following the dentin, the pulp is the softest part of the tooth that lies in its root and extends all of the way to the top part of the tooth (the crown). The pulp contains the blood vessels, the nerves and connective tissue inside a tooth and provides the tooth’s blood and nutrients. The pulp can be thought of as the lifeline to the tooth since it houses the structures that nourish the tooth. Commonly referred to as the “nerve” the pulp is also responsible for the following functions:

• Sensory Function - Pain from trauma to the dentin and/or pulp, differences in temperature, and pressure are caused by stimulation of the pulp.

• Formation of Dentin - The pulp is responsible for the formation of dentin. In response to trauma, the pulp forms secondary dentin, also known as reparative dentin.

• Nourishment - The pulp contains blood vessels that help to prevent the tooth from becoming brittle by keeping it moisturized and nourished.

The tooth is also composed of parts that allow it to serve as a chewing factory. The chewing surface, known as the crown, lies above the gum line and is covered in protective enamel. On molars, the crown is filled with pits and grooves and it is this area that may require sealants to prevent decay. The crown is composed mainly of dentin with pulp in the very center.

Below the gum line lies the root. This comprises approximately two-thirds of a tooth. The root is normally buried in bone and serves to anchor the tooth in position. A root may be single or divided into several branches and is composed of pulp at its innermost core.

For more information of these wonders we call teeth, visit the websites below…




Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Baby Teeth...Whats the Big Deal?

“Baby teeth don’t really matter; they are going to fall out anyway.” Does this sound familiar to you? Perhaps you have even thought it yourself. The truth is, however, that baby teeth are more than just space holders for “grown up” teeth. Primary teeth play a vital role in a child’s health and development including aiding in digestion and helping a child learn to speak properly.
Dr. Keith Morley, pediatric dental specialist and president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, states, “Most of these first teeth, apart from the front ones, will be there for a decade – and keeping them healthy is essential for your child’s adult teeth to grow in healthy and strong. If your child’s baby teeth are left to decay, they can become infected or abscessed. In addition to causing pain and suffering, infections can harm and even destroy the developing permanent teeth which are growing in the child’s jaw. Plus, early loss of baby teeth can lead to the permanent teeth growing in crooked – and no one should discount how psychologically important an attractive smile is to a growing child. Therefore, baby teeth are essential for your child’s general health and well-being.”
Ashley Coppedge, dental assistant for Halley White Pediatric Dentistry may have said it best, “I look at baby teeth as training wheels for permanent teeth. They are very important for holding space while permanent teeth erupt and teaching children to take care of them is the best way to ensure healthy adult teeth.”

For more information on the importance of your child’s primary teeth and for suggestions on ways to keep them healthy, visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s website at www.aapd.org.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pajama Day was a Hit!

At Halley White Pediatric Dentistry, we enjoy being able to make the dental experience fun as well as productive. On March 1, 2010 we hosted our first annual Pajama Day and it was a comfy success! Along with our team, many patients came dressed in their best Hello Kitty slippers, fuzzy robes, Spiderman pants and Dora nightgowns. Patients that choose to participate were treated to a gift certificate for a free Kid's Meal from Chick-fil-a Mayfaire AND a visit from the cow in her jammies. Coming soon we will have Pirate and Princess Day and Favorite Super Hero Day!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What are Dental Sealants?

Oftentimes, even children that have healthy diets, use proper brushing techniques and regularly floss may still encounter the occasional cavity. “The causes of decay are mutlifactorial“says hygienist and treatment coordinator for Dr. Halley, Nancy St Onge. “A person’s enzyme make-up has more to do with it than you realize. That is why a family can have one child with perfectly healthy teeth and another child riddled with decay; those children are unique in their make-up. This is the reason Dr. Halley provides treatment recommendations tailored to the individual needs of each child.” Typically, proper brushing, regular flossing and visits to the dentist will help prevent cavities; however, sealants are an added safe-guard. First approved by the FDA in the 1970’s, sealants are designed to literally “seal” the pits and grooves that form on teeth thus preventing food and bacteria from getting caught. Sealants are particularly helpful for molars and premolars as they tend to be filled with pits and grooves that are difficult to clean with a toothbrush. “Sometimes, baby teeth do have grooves that are deep enough to trap food and cause decay; this can make them come out earlier than they should” (North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services). The most accurate way to determine if your young child is a candidate for sealants is to have them examined by a dentist. The best time to put sealants on teeth is just after the permanent first molars appear. Just as fluoride provides protection from decay, sealants provide an added benefit to the chewing surfaces.
If you are concerned that your child may need sealants, be sure to talk to Dr. Halley about it at your next visit. For patients with insurance, we will let you know if this is a covered benefit and the estimated cost for the procedure in advance of placing the sealants.

Keep those molars happy by helping to prevent decay!

ReferencesNorth Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Oral Health Section. (2006). Dental Sealants Seal Out Tooth Decay [Brochure].