Understanding Common Pediatric Dental Procedures :: A Comprehensive Guide for Parents


As a parent, taking care of your child’s dental health is essential to ensure their overall well-being. Regular dental check-ups are crucial in identifying any potential dental problems and preventing them from turning into serious oral health issues. As a result, understanding common pediatric dental procedures can help you make informed decisions about your child’s dental care.

Birmingham Mom Collective has brought in its very own pediatric dental expert, Dr. Jeff Flannery from Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry, to discuss some of the most common pediatric dental procedures. We’ll explore each of these procedures in-depth, so you’ll have a better understanding of what to expect during your child’s next dental appointment.

The most common types of dental procedures we perform would be cleanings, x-rays, fluoride treatments, sealants, white fillings, baby teeth crowns, nerve treatments, and extractions.

Prevention Methods :: From Cleanings to Sealants

Cleanings, fluoride treatment, and sealants are all preventative procedures. In other words, these are trying to prevent gum disease and cavities. We can professionally clean the most unbrushed or missed areas. These areas are obviously more in young children.

Topical fluoride treatments are one of the best ways to make teeth stronger and prevent cavities. What we are doing is causing a chemical reaction on the surface of the tooth that replaces one mineral for another. In this case, fluorapatite is much stronger than hydroxyapatite. The fluoride treatments allow for this exchange or addition of fluorapatite to your child’s teeth and will make them more resistant to cavities. The sooner this is done, the sooner the baby or child’s teeth will be stronger.

This is one reason why a pediatric dentist does not want to wait until age three to see a child. When we want to see them is just after their first birthday. Many people have concerns about fluoride because of what some people write on the internet. Too much fluoride is bad, just like any other vitamin or mineral, but if used properly and in the right quantity, it can be one of the most beneficial treatments at the dental office.

Cavities in kids are the most common chronic infectious disease and can cause pain, infection, malnutrition, inability to focus in school, and much more. Any pediatric dental office will always put a big emphasis on prevention. Likewise, on permanent teeth, teenagers that get fluoride treatments at an early age will be less susceptible to more costly dental care as adults.


X-rays are needed to diagnose and treat cavities and other conditions that are not obviously seen by a visual exam. This would include flossing or juice cavities between the teeth, extra teeth, missing teeth, orthodontic conditions that need attention, cysts and other pathology, etc. If a tooth has a cavity, the dentist needs to know the extent of that cavity so he or she can better treat the tooth.

X-rays are usually done 1-2 times per year and get less frequent as the child gets older, gets more permanent teeth, and is more responsible. Also, permanent teeth take much longer for a cavity to advance than baby teeth, since baby teeth enamel is so much thinner. Again, many parents have concerns about X-rays, but our office uses the most advanced x-ray equipment which allows the dosage to be safer than other routine things such as flying and using a cell phone.

Fillings and Crowns

Fillings can be done when a cavity is diagnosed early and is not large in size. If a child fractures a tooth or has a larger cavity, sometimes a baby crown is the best option. These are not at all like adult crowns, but it will cover the entire tooth to allow the tooth to hold up until the child naturally loses it. Our office offers white and silver crowns. More aesthetic teeth would require white crowns. Second baby molars (the last baby tooth in the back of the mouth) that get a lot of load from chewing and biting are best suited for silver crowns, but all other teeth can easily have an aesthetic white crown.


Nerve treatments are needed if a tooth can be saved but the patient is having symptoms of pain when eating or drinking. Extractions are needed when a tooth is infected or causing spontaneous pain without eating or drinking. Usually, this pain is only relieved by Motrin or antibiotics.

Extractions are also done for orthodontic reasons to allow for better paths of eruption or in hopes of having less severe orthodontic treatment in the future. Guided eruption has even helped many kids avoid jaw surgeries.

The Dentist Is In!

Are you looking for a local pediatric dentist you can trust? Look no further than our friends at Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry. A reputable dentist with a solid reputation, Dr. Jeff is here for you! His office is conveniently located off of Cahaba Valley Road, and he and his team are committed to providing the exceptional care your child deserves. From your baby’s first visit, to routine exams and cleanings, to common pediatric dental procedures, you’ll be in good hands here. Call the office at 205-980-1338 to schedule your child’s appointment today!

This article was originally published in April 2023.

Dr. Jeff with Oak Mountain Pediatric Dentistry has been an incredible resource to the Birmingham Mom Collective community! This is sponsored content.


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