Local dentist makes getting fillings less painful for kids

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - Going to the dentist is necessary, but it isn’t something many people look forward to.

“There’s always apprehension when coming to the dentist, whether you are a child or an adult.”

Pediatric dentist Aimee Snell at Big Blue Pediatric Dentistry is trying to help kids get rid of their dental fears by bringing a new laser to Northern Nevada.

“I want the public to know there are options for fillings that are not of the traditional method, especially for children where you don’t have to be numb,” says Dr. Snell.

Claire Gosser, the mother of 4-and-a-half-year-old Hanna, took her little one to Dr. Snell and was surprised to hear about the new technology.

“It’s great having options. As a parent you always love to have options and it’s just neat to see what they’ve done with technology, nowadays, and just education. The more options the better,” says Gosser.

Dr. Snell uses a carbon dioxide laser to fill children’s cavities without the loud sounds of a dental drill or the need to give her young patients shots. She says using this technology has allowed her to work on patients she wasn’t able to before.

“I can do it on much younger patients, I can do them on fearful patients. I have patients with disabilities that for one reason or another we can’t actually get numb and I can use the laser on them. Whereas traditional treatment they didn’t seek out because they couldn’t get numb and it was just painful.”

Dr. Snell adds there are other dental lasers in town, but this is the first FDA-approved C02 laser that can do fillings and gum procedures. And when it comes to risks, she says there are no side effects, and when it comes to pain, that feeling is replaced with.

“Tickling or tingling sensation. I’ve had patients tell me it feels cold on their teeth or gums. It’s really fun to see kids when we are done with the procedure and the response I get a lot, is that it, am I all done? And when they come back for the other ones they are actually not fearful.”

Dr. Snell may be the first pediatric dentist to offer the service, but she says painless procedures are the future of dentistry. She adds she isn't aware of any general dentists who use this type of laser on adults but wants to make other doctors in the area aware of the technology.