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Thank you for your interest in Camp Smiles Kids Dental, esteemed by our family of patients as the best Pediatric Dentistry office in the Cape Girardeau area. We're proud to provide the best dental care available for your child in a comfortable, fun-filled atmosphere that will have your kids wanting to come back! Comfort, Safety, Fun and Education - This is the experience that we provide, and our kids grow up to be responsible for their hygiene because they learn to enjoy taking care of their teeth. Dr. Patty and her team are the coolest, and they truly care for your kids. Take a look around the site for some great information, pictures and our policies, and don't forget to contact us to make an appointment today! Come see what makes Camp Smiles Kids Dental different, special, a place your kids won’t want to leave… simply put, the BEST!


Pulp Therapy For Children

A tooth pulp is the interior fundamental core of the tooth. The pulp is comprised of blood vessels, nerves, reparative cells and connective tissues. In pediatric dentistry, the intention of pulp therapy is to preserve the ability of the affected tooth to survive and to grow.

Traumatic injury and dental cavities or caries are the primary reasons for a tooth to conduct pulp therapy.

The following symptoms might indicate pulp pathology and infection:

•  Spontaneous pain, especially at night
•  Notable pain while biting
•  Appearance of marginal ridge breakdown
•  Presence of facial or intra oral swelling

Most health professionals refer to pulp therapy as nerve treatment, pulpectomy, pulpotomy or children's root canal. The most widely known form of pulp therapy is pulpectomy and pulpotomy.

Pulpotomy treatment gets rid of the bad pulp tissue within the crown part of the tooth. Your dentist places an agent on your child’s tooth to inhibit bacterial maturation and to calm the left nervous tissues. Eventually, the restoration process is induced by installing a stainless steel crown.


Space Maintainer

Children may need space maintainers if they lose a tooth early or have a baby (primary) tooth extracted due to dental decay. If either is the case, it is important to know the benefits of using a space maintainer and how it can help support your child's dental health.

A space maintainer is an appliance that is custom-made by Dr. Patty and it is a metal material. It is cemented in your child's mouth. Its purpose is to keep the space open to allow the permanent tooth to erupt and come into place. Baby teeth are important to the development of the teeth, jaw bones and muscles and help to guide permanent teeth into position when the baby teeth are lost. If a space is not maintained, then teeth can shift into the open space and orthodontic treatment may be required. Not every child who loses a baby tooth early or to dental decay requires a space maintainer; however, Dr. Patty will determine if using a space maintainer is needed.


By definition, unilateral space maintainers are placed on one side of the mouth to hold space open for one tooth. The unilateral space maintainer wraps around the outside of the tooth and is connected to a metal loop that holds the space intact. There are two types of unilateral space maintainers. The band and loop is an actual crown that covers the toot/crown and is attached to the loop to ensure there is space for the erupting tooth. The distal shoe space maintainer is usually used for an unerupted first permanent molar tooth. It is a more complicated space maintainer because the end of the metal is usually inserted into the gum line to keep the open space from closing. Dr. Patty will need to monitor the progress of the erupting permanent molar to make sure it can erupt properly with this space maintainer.


There is another type of space maintainer that is usually bilateral in nature.  It will be cemented to molar teeth and connected by a wire on the inside of the lower front teeth or across the palate of the upper arch. Usually this is used for more than one missing tooth.

Once the space maintainer is made by Dr. Patty and cemented in place, it may take the child a few days to get accustomed to wearing the appliance. Dr. Patty and the Camp Staff will review with your child the proper ways to clean the space maintainer thoroughly in order to keep the gum tissue healthy and free of dental plaque. Proper instruction for tooth brushing and flossing should be considered for improved oral hygiene.


It will be important to avoid chewy and sugary foods, and gum or candy, which may loosen or get caught on the appliance. Also, the space maintainer should not be pressed or pushed with the tongue or fingers because it could loosen or bend the appliance.

The child should be seen by Dr. Patty on a regular basis to monitor the progress of treatment with the space maintainer and continue to receive a regular six-month professional cleaning appointments.

Mouthguard section:


Every parent wants their kids to stay healthy and active, which is why you might encourage your children to participate in sports. Unfortunately, without proper preventive care, dental injuries can sideline your child for the season or damage their growing mouth. Oral lacerations, knocked-out or chipped teeth, and concussions are common in contact sports, which is why Dr. Patty recommends custom athletic mouth guards for kids who participate in these kinds of extra-curricular activities.


Mouth Guards

Mouth guards work by simultaneously cushioning the face and bite while spreading and dissipating impact. In addition to protecting your child from dental injuries, research has also shown that mouth guards might protect your child from concussions, since they stabilize your child’s jaw, absorb impact, and limit head movement during a direct hit. Dr. Patty will be happy to discuss which type of mouth guard is best for your kiddo!


Tooth Colored (Composite) Fillings

Dental composites, also called a "resin", is a tooth colored material that's used to fill cavities and repair fractured front teeth. Aesthetically, they look very natural and can be polished to appear very much like the natural tooth. Composites have replaced "silver" fillings which used to be the only option to fill cavities.


On baby teeth, Dr. Patty uses composites for cavities that are relatively small or only located on one or two surfaces of the teeth. For baby teeth with large cavities or multiple locations the restoration of choice is a stainless steel crown. For adult teeth, unless there is considerable tooth structure loss requiring a dental crown, composites are the restoration of choice. 


Composite fillings, when done on baby teeth, do not last as long as they last on permanent teeth. Because of this, when large cavities exist or they appear on multiple locations, a stainless steel crown is often the treatment of choice.



A dental crown is a tooth-shaped covering cemented to the tooth for the purpose of restoring the tooth to its original shape and function. Crowns are used in pediatric dentistry for various reasons. Crowns are recommended by dentists when it is necessary repair and restore a primary (baby) tooth found to be extensively decayed (has a large cavity), a tooth fractured due to trauma, or a primary tooth which has not developed correctly.


‘Extensive decay’ refers to a tooth which is severely decayed with large cavities found on two or more surfaces. Severely decayed or fractured teeth are beyond the scope of repair by a filling because of the risk of the filling falling out, breaking, or wearing out resulting in the necessity of future dental procedures. Crowns are much more durable than fillings, and usually last until the baby tooth falls out at about age 12.


In addition to repairing a badly decayed tooth, It is very important to repair and restore primary teeth for the following reasons:

  • Since the enamel of baby teeth is thinner than that of permanent teeth, decay can spread rapidly between teeth. Crowns can be used not only to save the decayed tooth, but can also help prevent the spread of decay and infection to other areas of the mouth or body.

  • Crowns restore a tooth’s shape, size, and function. Since one main function of primary teeth is to hold the spacing for the permanent teeth and help guide the permanent teeth into position, crowns are a very important part of oral health and development.

  • Crown restorations aid in the normal development of a child’s jawbone and muscles.

  • Crown restorations allow for proper speech development.

  • Crown restorations are imperative for the chewing of food.

  • Crown restorations cover the entire tooth, and therefore prevent the tooth from further decay.


Dental Sealants

The most likely location for a cavity to develop in your child's mouth is on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Run your tongue over this area in your mouth, and you will feel the reason why: These surfaces are not smooth, as other areas of your teeth are. Instead, they are filled with tiny grooves referred to as “pits and fissures,” which trap bacteria and food particles. The bristles on a toothbrush can't always reach all the way into these dark, moist little crevices. This creates the perfect conditions for tooth decay.

What's more, a child's newly erupted permanent teeth are not as resistant to decay as adult teeth are. The hard enamel coating that protects the teeth changes as it ages to become stronger. Fluoride, which is found in toothpaste and some drinking water — and in treatments provided at the dental office — can strengthen enamel, but, again, it's hard to get fluoride into those pits and fissures on a regular basis. Fortunately, there is a good solution to this problem: dental sealants.

Dental sealants are invisible plastic resin coatings that smooth out the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, making them resistant to decay. A sealed tooth is far less likely to develop a cavity, require more expensive dental treatment later on, or, most importantly, cause your child pain.


Nitrous Oxide

Most pediatric dental appointments at Camp Smiles Kids Dental are completely pain and anxiety free. But sometimes, Dr. Patty and her team may need a little help making your kiddo feel completely comfortable - especially during restorative appointments like getting a filling or nerve treatment. Local anesthetic is used to block the pain and physical discomfort that's the cause of most anxiety felt by toddlers and children during these appointments. When local anesthetic isn't enough to make your little one feel completely comfortable, Dr. Patty may suggest using nitrous oxide gas (commonly referred to as laughing gas).

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