Glen Cove Pediatric Dentist
Christina Mercurio, DDS
3 School Street
Suite 203

Glen Cove, NY 11542
(516) 654-5992

Family Dentist in Glen Cove

Services

Pediatric Orthodontist in Glen Cove

From a routine exam and cleaning to orthodontics and emergency care, our practice is equipped to handle all of your dental needs. To help you understand more about our office, we have included brief descriptions of some of our most common services on this page.

Bonding

The dental bonding procedure utilizes a composite resin and is used for a variety of structural as well as cosmetic purposes. One can draw a parallel between dental bonding materials and a sculptor's clay. By using dental composite resin bonding your dentist can restore chipped or broken teeth, fill in gaps and reshape or recolor your smile.

A very mild etching solution is applied to your teeth to create very small crevices in the tooth's enamel structure. These small crevices provide a slightly rough surface permitting a durable resin to bond materials to your teeth. The resin is then placed on your tooth and high-intensity light cures the resins onto your tooth's surface - with each individual layer of resin hardening in just minutes. When the last coat has been applied to your tooth, the bonded material is then sculpted to fit your tooth and finely polished.

The resin comes in many shades so that we can match it to your natural teeth. Due to the layers involved, this procedure will take slightly longer than traditional silver fillings because multiple layers of the bonding material are applied. Typically bonding takes an hour to two hours depending on your particular case.

For small corrections

These fillings are color-matched to the tooth and are bonded to the surface for added strength. These are most appropriate for small fillings and front fillings as they may not be as durable for large fillings.

Dental Sealants

As part of your child’s dental prevention program, dental sealants are often recommended to protect their permanent back teeth from developing dental decay. In fact according to the American Dental Association, dental sealants reduce the risk of cavities in molars by approximately 80%.

While establishing a good oral hygiene regimen, maintaining proper toothbrushing habits, and avoiding sticky sweets are essential for the prevention of dental decay, children’s teeth often need more protection. The reason for this is that the deeply grooved chewing surfaces of the back permanent teeth can be difficult for a child to keep free of leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria. Moreover, young children do not always brush their teeth, as often or as thoroughly as they should, making them particularly vulnerable to dental decay.

Dental sealants afford additional protection from dental decay by providing a strong plastic-like protective coating for the chewing surfaces of a child’s permanent back teeth. They basically fill in the pits, fissures and grooves on these teeth to seal out harmful bacteria and food particles. Beyond preventing the development of cavities, sealants may also be useful over areas of incipient dental decay to stop further damage from occurring.

Applying dental sealants is a relatively quick and painless process. They are simply brushed on in a series of steps during a child’s dental visit and then cured (set) with a light wand. Sealants are strong and durable and can last for several years. The condition of your child’s dental sealants will be evaluated at each checkup and reapplied if the need arises.

Digital Radiography

Digital radiography utilizes computer technology and digital sensors for the acquisition, viewing, storage, and sharing of radiographic images. It offers several advantages over the older traditional film based methods of taking x-rays. The most significant of theses advantages is that digital radiography reduces a patient’s exposure to radiation. Other benefits are that images can be viewed instantly after being taken, can be seen simultaneously as needed by multiple practitioners, and can be easily shared with other offices. Digital x-rays are also safer for the environment as they do not require any chemicals or paper to develop.

An electronic pad, known as a sensor is used instead of film to acquire a digital image. After the image is taken, it goes directly into the patient’s file on the computer. Once it is stored on the computer, it can be easily viewed on a screen, shared, or printed out.

Emergency Treatment

Dental emergencies can come about in any number of ways. Your discomfort may be due to an injury to the oral facial area, the acute flare up of a longstanding problem, or the result of the sudden onset of seemingly inexplicable pain. Whatever the case may be, urgent dental care is needed to provide you with relief and to avoid any further consequences to your oral health or function, as well as your overall well being.

There are many reasons to seek emergency dental care, including severe toothaches, chipped or fractured teeth, a dental abscess, impacted teeth, loose or broken fillings, lost or dislodged crowns, broken dentures and more. While the pain of a toothache is one of the more common reasons that patients come to our dental office for emergency dental care, we also promptly treat emergencies that are not necessarily painful like crowns that have been dislodged and broken dentures that leave embarrassing gaps in one’s smile.

Whether your dental emergency is painful, if it affects the appearance of your smile, or if you suspect that an infection is present, contact our office immediately for care. We will make every effort to see you as promptly as possible.

Extractions

Sometimes it is necessary to extract a tooth. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Extractions are commonly performed in cases where a deciduous “baby” tooth is reluctant to fall out, a severely broken down and non-restorable tooth is present, or “wisdom tooth” is poorly positioned and unable to fully erupt into place.

To reduce any anxiety and insure patient comfort whenever a tooth extraction is necessary, the procedure, the post surgical instructions, as well as any restorative follow-up care will be carefully and completely explained.

Fluoride Treatments

The role of fluoride is especially important for children as it improves the quality of dental enamel in their developing teeth and makes their new teeth more resistant to decay. As part of your child’s preventive dental care program at our office, fluoride varnish is applied during their routine checkup appointments and if indicated at regular intervals between these visits.

Fluoride varnish is a topically applied product that is brushed onto all sides of your child’s teeth. It is a completely safe and painless procedure that takes just a couple of minutes from start to finish. Once applied and in contact with your child’s saliva the fluoride hardens. The fluoride component is now absorbed into the dental enamel and begins its job of strengthening the tooth.

Following the application of the fluoride varnish, your child does not have to wait to eat or drink. The only restriction is that foods are soft and not crunchy for the rest of the day. Brushing and flossing may be postponed for several hours.

While fluoride varnish can help prevent cavities and slow their progression, it is not a guarantee against dental decay. Optimal dental health for your child involves an excellent oral hygiene regimen at home, routine dental care and eating a healthy diet.

Initial Oral Examination

Your child's first visit to our office is very important with regard to establishing their oral health baseline. We will begin by carefully reviewing medical and dental histories and taking special note of all dental concerns, as well as any symptoms that your child may be experiencing.

We take pride in creating and maintaining beautiful and healthy smiles for our younger patients in an environment that is lighthearted and fun. We focus on establishing oral health habits that last a lifetime, with education and prevention as our primary tools.

Laser Dentistry

Among the many significant advances in modern dentistry has been the development of dental laser technology. Today, dental lasers are being increasingly used to treat tooth decay, periodontal disease, perform biopsies or for the removal of oral lesions, to cure restorative (filling) materials, as well to activate in-office teeth whitening systems.

Dental lasers combine laser energy with water and air to safely cut and shape targeted areas of soft or hard tissues in the mouth. Laser energy precisely cuts through tooth structure by exciting the water molecules in the tooth. It operates without direct contact to the tooth and without heat, vibration, or pressure thereby minimizing the discomfort of the procedure and the need for dental anesthesia. In addition, dental lasers can reduce anxiety for patients fearful of dental work, minimize post-operative bleeding and swelling, and preserve healthy tooth structure during the removal of decay.

While dental lasers may be an excellent treatment option in some situations, they cannot be used for every dental procedure.

Orthodontics

Orthodontics for Children

Most problems involving the alignment of your child’s teeth and the growth of their jaws can be identified by the time they are in the first or second grade. That is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have a check up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. At this visit the orthodontist will carefully examine your child’s bite and assess the alignment and development of the teeth. The orthodontist will also look at the growth and relationships of the jaws, and in particular check for any shifts or dysfunction. It will also be determined if any premature tooth loss, habits, swallowing or breathing patterns are having an effect on your child’s occlusion.

Following this visit the orthodontist will indicate if any immediate preventative or interceptive orthodontic care is needed. In many circumstances no treatment is required right away and the child can be observed until it is the appropriate time for care. Your child’s dental development as well as their prospective facial growth will be carefully considered in outlining the best timetable for care.

Orthodontic treatment for children typically begins between the ages of 9 and 14. At this time they are generally in the mid to late mixed dentition stage. This means they have a mix of permanent front teeth, permanent molars, and some baby teeth. The benefit of placing braces at this stage is that the orthodontist can improve the alignment of permanent front teeth, guide the incoming new adult teeth into position, and utilize the child’s growth and development to best advantage.

Early Treatment

Often habits such as prolonged thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and certain swallowing or breathing patterns that can open or distort the bite are better dealt with when care is initiated at a younger age. Early treatment is also helpful when the top jaw is too narrow, not developing in harmony with the lower jaw, or if permanent top teeth are behind the lower ones when closing the jaws. Likewise, if a young child’s front teeth protrude excessively or very severe crowding is present a first phase of orthodontic care can be beneficial.

The objectives of early treatment and a first phase of orthodontic care are to influence jaw growth, create more space for crowded teeth, help to correct harmful habits, and improve facial aesthetics. With early treatment the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth as well as the need for extractions of permanent teeth can be lessened. Early treatment can also simplify the next phase of orthodontic care.

Orthodontic Appliances

Other types of orthodontic appliances may also be used during the course of treatment. Some of these appliances are removable and can be taken in and out of the mouth, while others will be attached to the teeth until they are no longer needed.

Depending upon the specific needs of the case, these appliances may be used to accomplish a number of things including:

  • Widening the jaws in order to make sufficient space for the permanent teeth
  • Influencing jaw growth
  • The reduction of deep overbites
  • Allowing for the correction of teeth in crossbite
  • Maintaining the space for a permanent tooth when a baby tooth has been prematurely lost
  • Minor tooth movement
  • Helping to control harmful oral habits

Traditional Metal Braces

The most common type of braces seen today, remain “metal braces”. Made of high-grade stainless steel these braces are significantly smaller and have a lower profile than their predecessors from years ago. Each brace, which is known as an orthodontic bracket, is individually bonded to the front of each tooth. Metal braces allow for efficient and highly controllable tooth movement.

Sedation Dentistry

When children are scared, have strong gag reflexes, medical conditions, special needs, or are unable to sit for one reason or another, varying levels dental sedation can carefully be administered to aid relaxation and allow dental care to be performed. Depending on the particular needs of each child, the pedodontist will suggest the best method of dental sedation. There are several options in dental sedation available for your child, including inhalation sedation such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and general anesthesia performed in the appropriate setting for particular procedures or circumstances. Each of these options has special considerations, which will be explained in greater detail before your child’s dental procedure is scheduled.

Nitrous Oxide

Commonly referred to as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is used as a mild sedative to reduce anxiety and allow a level of relaxation during a procedure. Nitrous oxide is inhaled through a small mask over the nose. It is administered for the duration of the procedure and is  turned off as the procedure is coming to an end. The effects of this method of sedation wear off very quickly.

Sports Mouthguards

Every year million of cases of dental and facial injuries occur as the result of sport-related trauma. While all sports have some risk of oral injury, it is especially prevalent in recreational activities that involve frequent body contact with other players or the ground, as well as the possibility of being struck by other objects such as, balls, bats, or sticks.

One way to significantly reduce the risk of damage to your teeth, cheeks, lips, tongue, face, or jaw as the result of a sports-related injury is to wear a mouthguard. A mouthguard is a removable appliance made of a sturdy plastic that sits comfortably over your teeth. Typically, mouthguards are designed to cover just the top teeth but may also be fabricated to include the lower teeth as well depending on your particular situation. Individuals who wear braces or have some types of dental work may require a specific type of mouthguard that provides more coverage.

There are three types of sports mouthguards on the market, including pre-formed and ready to wear stock mouthguards, boil and bite mouthguards, and custom mouthguards fabricated by your dentist. Our office will help you to select just the right sports mouthguard to protect your smile. While the first two choices offer some level of protection, the best and most comfortable mouthguards to safeguard your smile are the ones individually designed and customized by your dentist.

Pulpotomy Treatment

Inside of every baby (deciduous) and permanent adult tooth is a central chamber that contains connective tissue, a nerve supply, and blood vessels. Collectively these core tissues, known as the dental pulp, help the tooth to grow and mature before it emerges into the mouth. Once your tooth is in place, the dental pulp provides nourishment, keeps the tooth vital, and alerts you of problems. Unfortunately, cavities and dental trauma can damage the dental pulp inside of a tooth. When one of these factors has involved the dental pulp of a primary or deciduous tooth and there is no evidence of an infection at the root of the tooth, a procedure known as a pulpotomy may be performed. The purpose of a pulpotomy on a “baby” tooth is to maintain it until its permanent successor tooth erupts. This is because deciduous teeth that are lost prematurely can result in space loss for the permanent tooth and other consequences. During a pulpotomy procedure, the exposed or affected pulp tissue within the crown of the deciduous tooth (the visible portion of the tooth) is carefully removed and a special medication to disinfect the area and calm the remaining nerve tissue is placed. Once the procedure is complete, the baby tooth is then restored. Depending on the amount of tooth structure remaining and how much time is left before the baby tooth is to fall out, the type of restoration is selected. Typically, the most effective restoration to seal the tooth and restore function, is a stainless steel crown.

The Preventive Program

Tooth decay is the most chronic childhood disease in our country. According to studies, children with poor oral health are more than three times as likely to miss school due to dental pain. While these statistics are alarming, the good news is that tooth decay is for the most part preventable. Scheduling regular checkups and cleanings for your child at the dentist is essential for maintaining their oral health. Beyond routine dental care, your dental care professional will help your child establish the best oral hygiene homecare regimen to help maintain their smile for a lifetime. They will also provide dietary guidance as to which foods can be harmful to their smiles. As added protection against dental decay periodic fluoride treatments to strengthen the enamel in their new teeth and the application of dental sealants when their permanent molars come into place are recommended.

Tooth Colored Fillings

When tooth structure is eaten away or otherwised damaged by dental decay, cracks or fractures, it can often be repaired by means of the placement of a dental filling. While traditional fillings were typically composed of amalgam, a mixture of different metals, today’s fillings are frequently tooth-colored.  These “white fillings” invisibly restore the form and function of the involved tooth so that it seamlessly blends in with the remaining tooth structure.  Tooth colored fillings are made of the latest generation of composite resin materials in which filler particles are bound together when set by a hard matrix material. Strong and durable, tooth colored fillings are chemically bonded to fill and rebuild a tooth once the decayed or damaged tooth structure has been removed. First placed as a putty-like material, tooth colored fillings are carefully shaped to restore the contours of a healthy natural tooth and then cured (set) with a light wand. In addition to restoring teeth affected by damage or decay, composite resins can also be used to cosmetically change the size, color or shape of teeth with imperfections or minor alignment issues such as spacing.

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