First-Time Patients

What is the difference between a general dentist vs. a pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs. See our Why Pediatric Dentists page for more information.

Dental visits: How often should they be scheduled?

We recommend a check-up every six months to prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, we will always tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their oral health.

Which insurances do you accept?

We accept Medicaid (Apple health/State insurance) and most PPO insurances. Check our Patient Information page to learn more.

Can I stay with my child during their first visit?

We encourage you to stay with your child during their initial examination. After the first appointment, we recommend you allow our staff to accompany your child through their dental experience. This will enable us to establish a close rapport with your child, gain their trust, build their confidence in us and help them overcome apprehension. However, whether or not you stay with your child is ultimately your decision.

Procedures and Materials

Download Dental Materials Fact Sheet (PDF) to learn more about various materials used in our dental work.

Are x-rays safe?

There is a minimal risk in dental X-rays. We only take X‐rays when needed, and are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and digital x-rays are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.

Anesthesia: Is it safe for my child?

Local anesthesia is safe for children. Our team is highly trained in anesthesia delivery, and we always communicate to children in an age-appropriate manner, before administering the anesthetic. We use words like sleepy juice and a distraction technique to help your child get through it.

Is Nitrous oxide safe for my child?

Nitrous oxide and oxygen are very safe. Most children can tolerate nitrous oxide very easily. It also has a rapid onset and can be reversed or adjusted in various concentrations. Nitrous oxide is also non‐allergenic. When breathing it, your child remains fully conscious, retaining all of their natural reflexes.

How do sealants work?

Sealants work by filling in the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This prevents food particles that might get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable, and sealants can effectively protect teeth for many years.

Nutrition and Preventive Care

What foods are best for my child’s dental health?

Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of fruits and vegetables, bread and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child’s teeth from decay. We can help you select foods that protect your children’s teeth during your dental visit.

What causes tooth decay?

Four things are necessary for cavities to form: a tooth, bacteria, sugar or other carbohydrates and time. Dental plaque is a thin, sticky, colorless form of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. When you eat, the sugars in your food cause the bacteria in plaque to produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. With time and repeated acid attacks, the tooth enamel breaks down and cavity forms.

How can parents help prevent decay?

Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, we can recommend you with individualized instructions for brushing, flossing, and other treatments, and we will teach parents how to supervise and teach their children to follow our guidance. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.

How often should I floss my child’s teeth?

Flossing your child’s teeth once a day before bed is recommended, and the teeth you need to floss are the only ones that are touching each other.

How safe is a toothbrush for my baby’s teeth?

Use any soft‐bristled toothbrush with a small head at least once a day before bedtime. We will always provide you with the most appropriate toothbrush each time your child visits.

When should I begin using toothpaste and how do I use it?

The sooner, the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they begin to appear. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to pea-size toothpaste. Remember that young children cannot brush their teeth efficiently, and as a parent, this responsibility falls to you. Children should spit out the toothpaste if it is possible and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.

Oral Hygiene for Infants

How important are baby teeth?

Primary or “baby” teeth help children speak clearly and chew naturally, and they also aid in forming a path for permanent teeth to follow when they are ready to come in. By caring for your child’s baby teeth, we can avoid pain which may affect learning at school, decrease the chances of infection. Also, early loss of a tooth can create space issues in the future.

At what age should I bring my child in for their first visit? 

To prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, no later than his or her first birthday. The first visit involves a check-up and a fluoride treatment, if appropriate.

Should cavities be baby teeth be filled?

Tooth decay is an infection that can spread, which could harm your child, cause pain and premature loss of baby teeth if neglected. Proper care of baby teeth is essential in enhancing the oral health of your child.

How can I prevent decay when nursing?

Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth If it is necessary to nurse at night, wash or wipe the teeth, gums, and mouth before placing the child to bed.

Dental Care for Older Children

Is thumb sucking bad?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three or it begins to have an effect on the teeth, a mouth appliance may be recommended.

What if the permanent tooth gets knocked out?

First, the most important thing to do is to remain calm. If possible, find the tooth and, holding it by the crown (the white part) rather than the root (the long skinny part), try to put it back in its socket (the area that it was knocked out from). Hold the tooth in place with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you cannot put the tooth back in its socket, place the tooth in a clean container of milk and bring your child and the tooth to our office immediately. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.

What can I do to protect my child’s teeth during sporting events?

Soft plastic mouth guards can be used to protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums from sport-related injuries. A custom-fitted mouth guard developed by a pediatric dentist or orthodontist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even protect from severe injuries to the head.

Call (425) 284-9886 to schedule an appointment!