We Welcome Parents to the
Back for All Appointments

Dr. "Pet-In-Auto"

Dental Procedures


General Procedures

Initial Examination

Dr. Pettinato will provide a comprehensive examination. The examination includes screenings for cavities, oral pathology, oral growth and development, orthodontic needs, gum disease, as well as evaluation of any current restorations, and concerns of the patient/parent. Risk factors for disease will be discussed, oral hygiene instruction will be provided.


Also known as Dental Prophylaxis, this process removes plaque, calculus, and polishes the teeth and removes any stain from the teeth.


Following the cleaning and flossing procedures, fluoride will be applied to your child’s teeth to help maintain the enamel in its strongest condition. The fluoride reinforces the tooth structure and can actually reverse a small cavity that is present in only the enamel. The patient will need to wait for 30minutes to eat or drink following this fluoride application.


X-rays are taken to allow the dentist to see portions of the mouth that cannot be seen visually. These portions include decay in between the teeth, and possible tumors or cysts present in the bone. The radiographs also determine the presence or absence of permanent teeth and their placement.

6 Month Recall Exam

Regular return visits to the office are important for keeping healthy teeth. Dental decay can progress very rapidly in teeth. The sooner a problem can be diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated and the less invasive the treatment will need to be. A new examination will be completed in this visit, as well as cleaning, flossing, nutrition counseling, oral hygiene instruction and fluoride application.


Sealants are a tough, plastic material designed to stick to the enamel of the tooth in the grooves where food collects. Sealants reduce the risk of cavities forming in these grooves that can be difficult to keep clean. These sealants do not last forever and will need to be replaced as they wear away from the tooth surface. Not all teeth are good candidates for sealants and the doctors will determine which teeth could receive the most benefit from the application.

Composite (Tooth Colored Filling)

A composite filling is a tooth colored material used to fill cavities in teeth. These fillings match the color of tooth structure and are typically not very noticeable.

Amalgam (Silver Filling)

Amalgam fillings are the restorative material that dentistry has used for many years. These fillings are quite durable and provide a good choice in restorative procedures.


Stainless Steel Crown (Silver Crown)

A silver crown covers the tooth completely and restores it to its original shape and size. Crowns are incredibly strong and provide the necessary protection for any baby tooth that had a nerve treatment. Additionally, when cavities cover a great deal of the tooth structure, the crown is the restorative material of choice.

Pulpotomy (Nerve Treatment)

When decay reaches the nerve of a baby tooth, the infected portion of the nerve needs to be removed. This procedure is called a pulpotomy and is described as nerve treatment. This procedure is performed to help prevent the tooth from abscessing, which would require additional therapy or extraction of the tooth.


When a tooth has decayed beyond the point of restoration, a filling or crown will no longer provide adequate restoration, and an extraction may be recommended. If the permanent replacement tooth will not erupt into this space within a timely manner, a space maintainer will be recommended.

Space Maintainer

When baby teeth in the back of the mouth are lost to decay or abscess more than a few months before they should be lost naturally, the space for the permanent tooth will be lost to the adjacent teeth unless an appliance is placed to keep the space open. This appliance will be fit and cemented into your child’s mouth when necessary and removed as the permanent teeth erupt.


Straight teeth help an individual to effectively eat, contribute to self-esteem, and contribute to healthy teeth and gums. Properly aligned teeth and jaws may alleviate or prevent physical health problems. Patients are evaluated for their orthodontic needs and treatment is recommended if necessary.

Sports Injury Protection

Athletic mouth guards can help prevent dental injuries if your child participates in contact sports. Custom mouth guards can be fabricated once your child loses all of their baby teeth. These provide the best fit. While baby teeth are still present in your child’s mouth, various options can be used and can be discussed at your examination appointment.


Sedation Options

Happy Gas/Nitrous Oxide

When administered in combination with oxygen happy gas helps overcome the anxiety associated with a dental visit. This technique works well in most children. Your child will be fully awake and will breathe the gas in through a small rubber nose placed over their nose. The patient will pick from a variety of flavors to smell and taste for this procedure. The happy helps to relax the patient but will not cause them to sleep or alter their state of consciousness.

Oral Sedation

When a patient is unable to cope with the various aspects of dental treatment or cannot successfully relax with nitrous oxide, sedation is a technique that uses medications to help your child through the necessary procedures. In this situation we may recommend Valium to help relax your child. Some children fall asleep or get very drowsy which diminishes their consciousness, but they do not lose consciousness completely and can respond to requests to interact with the dental personnel. Although this procedure works well on the majority of patients, we are limited by guidelines on the amount of medicine we can give. This results in some Valium sedations not working. If the sedation does not work we can offer IV Sedation.

IV Sedation

For children to young or uncooperative for oral sedation, we offer IV Sedation. We bring a Board Certified Pediatric Anesthesiologist from All Children's Hospital and his own Pediatric Nurse. V Sedation on well on 99% of our cases and the child will sleep comfortably during their treatment. Once we are done they wake up and are able to go home.