Southern Illinois Pediatric Dentistry - Child

Pediatric Dental Services in Southern Illinois

Prevention of dental caries (tooth decay) is a priority at Southern Illinois Pediatric Dentistry. Establishing a dental home early is vital to ensuring teeth remain healthy throughout childhood. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be seen within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth, or by the age of one. It is at these early visits that we can lay the foundation for establishing good oral health habits for life.

At Southern Illinois Pediatric Dentistry, we are all about preventing dental problems! Nothing is more important to us than keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy. It’s far easier, less expensive, and less painful to have regular dental visits so we can catch small problems before they become big problems.

Preventative Services

Dental Exams

A regularly scheduled dental exam is the best thing you can do to help your child have healthy teeth and avoid potentially complicated procedures later on. We make our exams and cleanings fun for children so they’ll look forward to each visit. They can play on the Wii-U while they wait, or lie down and watch a movie in the dental chair while they have their cleanings done!

Professional Cleanings

A professional teeth cleaning does more than make your child’s teeth pearly white- it’s also a part of good oral health. We remove the plaque and tartar that can lead to cavities and gum disease. After the cleaning, fluoride is applied to help strengthen any weak spots that may have formed on your child’s teeth between visits.


Regular dental radiographs, or “x-rays,” allow Dr. Christy to see between your child’s teeth. Even though teeth may look healthy from the top, occasionally a cavity can form between the teeth. By taking radiographs, these lesions can be caught while they are small and easy to fix, typically with tooth colored fillings. However, cavities between the teeth can easily lead to broken teeth or infection if lesions are not detected early, and this can lead to the need for crowns or extractions. SIPD uses the latest technology in radiography, including digital radiographs.

Panoramic Radiographs

In some instances, we will take a panoramic x-ray which will provide a complete picture of the developing dentition as well as a complete picture of the jaws and sinuses. This will allow us to see all developing permanent teeth and give us an opportunity to see if there are any missing permanent teeth or any abnormalities within the jaws.


Sealants are an easy and effective way to help prevent cavities. Permanent molars, which usually erupt around age 6, have many deep grooves which can trap food and plaque more easily than baby molars. These grooves are “painted” with sealants to create a smooth surface which is easier to keep clean. Sometimes mild stain is removed prior to placement of the sealant.

Restorative Services

Tooth Colored Fillings

Many fillings are now made to be tooth colored. These fillings are bonded to teeth and are strong, lasting, and aesthetically pleasing. Although tooth colored restorations are possible in most circumstances, understand that Dr. Christy will always recommend what is in the best interest of the child.


Sometimes a tooth is broken down so much that placing a filling just won’t do. In these instances, a crown is recommended. A majority of the time, a stainless steel crown is recommended. Although it is silver in color, a stainless steel crown is placed on a posterior (back) tooth. These crowns placed on primary molars will exfoliate naturally with the baby tooth. In some cases, an all white crown can be placed. A crown is considered the standard of care when a pulpotomy (see below) is performed.


A pulpotomy, sometimes referred to as a “baby tooth root canal,” is needed when decay has reached the nerve but has not yet caused an infection in the surrounding bone. When a cavity (bacteria) reaches the pulp, it has the potential to enter the bloodstream and spread. This is why a pulpotomy, or removal of infected pulp tissue, is recommended. A soothing material is then placed inside the tooth prior to the tooth being restored with a crown.


While most baby teeth fall out naturally, sometimes it is necessary to remove the tooth prematurely due to severe caries (tooth decay), infection, or trauma. Sometimes an orthodontist may request that a primary or baby tooth be extracted to allow better eruption of permanent teeth.

Space Maintainers

In those instances when a tooth needs to be extracted early, a space maintainer may be necessary to prevent space loss in the dental arches. A space maintainer is cemented on a tooth and removed when the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. The placement of a space maintainer can help reduce the risk of orthodontic problems in the future.