You have a cavity. The dreaded words at the dentist that nobody wants to hear. Those four words and the unknown around them can be scary for anyone and is amplified even more when you’re a small child and don’t have your own experiences to draw from. We often see commercials, TV shows, movies, etc. that dramatize the dental experience and feed into the dentist being a scary place. What if we told you we could change that experience?
Here at Bellevue Pediatric Dentistry, we have a Biolase Waterlase laser that allows us to treat most cavities without even having to be numb! Dr. Nolan calls his special laser his “Purple Popper” and uses it to remove the decay from the teeth without using any local anesthetic. Often times the most challenging part of any restorative appointment is the anesthetic, both giving it and the feeling of being numb for children who don’t understand that sensation and what it means. There are so many benefits of the laser; we are so excited to tell you all about it!
No numbing: This allows for a generally much more pleasant experience for children for a lot of reasons. They don’t have to receive the dreaded shot that they all worry about! The excitement we see on children’s faces when we tell them they don’t have to have a shot just makes our day. When they are done with treatment for the day, they are able to eat and drink right away since they don’t have to worry about biting their tongue/lip/cheek. They can also go back to school without any special instruction!
Multiple areas of treatment done at once: Because your child won’t have to be numb, this allows us to treat more teeth and areas of the mouth at once, decreasing the number of visits you have to make into the office. This also decreases the amount of school or activities missed due to dental appointments, woo hoo!
Protecting the developing psyche: As is always our goal, helping our young patients have the most positive dental experience is always our number one priority and with the laser we are able to do that. Often times the only complaint from our patients is that Dr. Nolan’s head/arm is blocking their movie for a minute! So many of our kiddos leave their appointments telling us how much easier their appointment was than they thought it would be and our favorite compliment of all, that it was FUN!
Of course, there are some procedures that cannot be done with the laser (extractions, crowns, nerve treatment, etc.) and that will involve local anesthetic. In these cases, we still do everything we can to make the experience as fun and as positive for your child as we can. They are always able to watch a movie during treatment and use nitrous oxide, often referred to as laughing gas to help the time go by faster and to help them relax and take the butterflies out of their bellies. When more extensive treatment is needed, say a crown for a larger cavity, we have multiple options that we are excited to tell you about! Hint hint: white crowns and something we call the “hall technique” method. Stay tuned for our next blog post to learn more!