Call: 604.983.2253 | Fax: 604.983.2004 | Toll Free: 1.866.983.2253

206-2609 Westview Drive, North Vancouver, BC, Canada V7N 4M2

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pediatric Dentistry?
A pediatric dentist is a specialist dedicated to the oral health of infants, children, adolescents and patients with special health care needs. Pediatric dentists complete additional specialized training, following dental school including behavior management, orthodontics, and pediatric medical issues. We are able to provide comprehensive oral health care for children with modalities such as fillings, interceptive orthodontics, conscious sedation, and hospital dentistry.

At what age should my child visit the dentist?
The American/Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child's first visit to the dentist should occur by age 1. This early visit can minimize other problems resulting from diet/hygiene issues, thumb/pacifier habits, and numerous other oral health issues.

Why do we recommend sealants?
The biting surface of your back teeth, due to the grooves and anatomy, are the most susceptible to cavities. Sealants are protective coatings that are applied to the tops of teeth. The sealant material used at Pacific Pediatric Dentistry is BPA-free and is completely safe for your child.

What are amalgams (silver fillings)?
Amalgams or silver fillings are used to restore or "fill" a cavity. They are safe and durable. Some insurance companies may have an alternate benefit provision where they will pay up to the "amalgam filling price" for a posterior tooth. If you have concerns over whether or not this is the case with your insurance company, please ask one of our helpful PPDC staff.

What are composites (tooth colored fillings)?
Composites or tooth-colored fillings are used to restore teeth that have either been fractured or have cavities. While these are more esthetic than amalgam fillings, the material costs more and the fee is higher. Additionally, some insurances may only cover the cost of using an amalgam filling. Please ask our PPDC staff if you have any questions or concerns.

What are Stainless Steel Crowns?
Stainless steel crowns are silver- colored "caps" that are used to restore teeth when the cavity is too large for a normal filling, has been treated with a pulpotomy/pulpectomy, or if a tooth has decay on multiple locations where the long-term durability is of concern.

What is a Pulpotomy?
This is when a portion of the pulp (the nerve of the tooth) is removed and a medicament is placed in order to remove bacteria from the tooth. A pulpotomy on a primary tooth requires that a crown be placed.

What is a Pulpectomy?
A pulpectomy is removal of the entire nerve of a tooth and a medicament is placed in the canal. A crown must be done following a pulpectomy.

What is Nitrous Oxide/Oxygen?
Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) is an analgesic that is inhaled to help calm an anxious child, make a dental injection easier to tolerate, and can be used in lieu of a dental injection for small fillings. It also helps with gag reflexes. Nitrous oxide is very safe, and while it is administered, your child is actually receiving more oxygen than in the ambient air. There are no residual after effects following the appointment. While nitrous oxide is a wonderful adjunct in pediatric dentistry, please do not have the expectation that your child will be "out." They will be awake and aware of what is going on. Sometimes nitrous oxide is not enough and your child may need to have their dental work performed under conscious sedation or general anesthesia.

What are Space Maintainers?
It is a device that holds the space for a permanent tooth when a baby tooth has been lost prematurely. Teeth tend to erupt towards open spaces and these help prevent future orthodontic complications.

Why do we fix "baby teeth"?
This is a common question and it is understandable why you would question why we would fix teeth that fall out eventually. The main purpose of primary/baby teeth is to function as a natural space maintainer to guide the permanent teeth into the correct position. Additionally, some primary teeth do not fall out until the age of 12. These teeth can develop cavities, toothaches, and abscesses, just like a permanent tooth. As grown-ups like to be able to chew their food, have no tooth pain, etc., your child feels the same way.

Do you allow parents to come back with their children?
Parents are invited back to observe during the initial exam and checkups. However, we do not have parents back during restorative appointments. We want to be focused on your child and want your child to be focused on Dr. Gerry and the PPDC staff. This will not only help make the procedure a more positive experience, but is for your child's safety as well. For these appointments, we ask that you allow the PPDC staff to bring your child from the clinical entry door. While you may want to walk your child back, please consider that this experience for them is not unlike when they go to school and are gaining some independence and self confidence.

What do I do if my child is in an accident?
If your child has an accident, please call our office as soon as possible. Our pager number will be given on the answering machine if it's after regular business hours. The first 30-60 minutes after an accident are the most critical. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, gently rinse, but do not scrub the tooth under water. Avoid handling the root surface as much as possible. Replant the tooth in the socket, if possible. If this is not possible, place the tooth in a glass of milk or a clean wet cloth and contact our office ASAP. If the tooth is fractured, please bring in any pieces you can find. Our schedule may be delayed in order to accommodate an injured child. Please accept our apologies in advance should an emergency occur during your child's appointment.

Is fluoride bad for my child?
No, it is one of the best ways of cavity prevention. Water fluoridation is considered to be one of the top ten public health measures worldwide in the role of cavity prevention.

How do we perform dentistry on "special" children?
Dr. Gerry has received advanced training in and is very experienced in dealing with developmentally disabled, handicapped, medically compromised children, etc. Every child is different and sometimes restraint, sedation, or other methods can be very necessary.

What is interceptive orthodontics?
Sometimes, you can catch a problem before it becomes severe. This is the same in a growing child's dentition. By performing some early treatment, it may lessen the necessity for orthodontic treatment in the future. There can be both functional and esthetic benefits to this treatment. Dr. Gerry has had additional training and can recommend treatment for things such as crossbites, thumb habits, etc

When do you want to stop a thumb, finger and pacifier habit?
The best time to eliminate any sort of habit is at age 1, but this is not always realistic. These habits can affect the development of your child's jaw, not to mention the transmission of germs and colds. Studies have shown that if these habits continue past the age of 6 that there is little chance of self-correction.

What can I do to stop my child's finger/thumb/pacifier habit?
Dr. Gerry recommends positive reinforcement and can also tell you some tricks to get rid of pacifiers and cessation of thumb/finger habits.

What is general anesthesia?
General anesthesia is dental treatment while your child is unconscious. We offer general anesthesia both private surgical centre’s and at the hospital setting. There can be a variety of reasons to utilize this modality of treatment including but not limited to: severe dental decay, uncooperative behavior, medical issues, etc.

Is general anesthesia safe?
YES. An anesthesiologist will be putting your child to sleep and will be monitoring all of their vital signs while Dr. Gerry performs the dental work. Certainly there are risks with any surgical procedure, but they are minimal. If you have questions, Dr. Gerry and the PPDC team will be happy to discuss the risks and benefits with you in detail.

For more information regarding general anesthesia at the Delbrook Surgical Centre please visit the website of our anesthesiologist Dr. George Maryniak.

What is conscious sedation?
Conscious sedation is a way of using medication to relax a child without the loss of consciousness. Children retain their protective airway reflexes during the procedure. Your child will be monitored throughout the procedure and Dr. Gerry is certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support in the unlikely event of an emergency.