Frequently Asked
Questions

Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry encourages parents to stay informed about their child’s dental health and commit to improving and maintaining the health of their family’s teeth and gums. We want you to feel confident that you are receiving the most advanced pediatric dental services available. To help you better understand your child’s oral health and the options available, please refer to the information provided below.

When should my child first see a dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child’s first visit to a dentist happens within their first year. This initial visit will establish a dental home for your child. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.

Why so early? What dental problems could a baby have?

The most important reason is to begin a prevention program as some dental problems can begin early. A big concern is early childhood caries (also known as baby bottle tooth decay). When this occurs sometimes the only possible treatment is extractions. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing future dental problems.

How often do I take my child for his/her dental check-up?

It is recommended that children have a dental check-up every 6 months. Some cases of tooth decay, unusual growth and development, or poor hygiene may require additional visits. The doctor will review each case individually and create a proper schedule specific to your child.

What can I expect at my child’s first visit?

At the this first appointment, the doctor will complete a thorough exam of your child's mouth. If necessary, the doctor will take a few minor radiographs if he or she suspects an underlying issue. Parents are encouraged to ask questions!

Are radiographs safe and does my child need them?

The amount of radiation transmitted in a dental radiograph is extremely low. With modern high-speed digital technology and proper shielding used in our office, we take every step to ensure that each child has minimal radiation exposure.

We recommend radiographs because they are useful to detect cavities between teeth––a common area for tooth decay. A visual exam can only detect cavities on the top and sides of teeth. Radiographs are also used to monitor the growth of adult teeth.

What is a sealant?

A sealant is a protective coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where four of out five cavities in children are found. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque, and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth. The goal of a sealant is to prevent future cavities from developing.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a compound contained in small amounts within some water sources, toothpaste, and mouth rinses. It has been proven to protect from future cavities as well as re-mineralize small cavities. Your doctor can help determine the correct amount of fluoride on an individual basis.

What is nitrous oxide/oxygen?

Some children are given nitrous oxide/oxygen, or laughing gas, to relax them for their dental treatment. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is given through a small breathing mask, which is placed over the child’s nose to allow relaxation without putting them to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes this technique as a safe, effective method to use while treating children’s dental needs. The gas is mild and easily administered. With normal breathing, it is then quickly eliminated from the body. It is non-addictive. While inhaling nitrous oxide/oxygen, your child remains fully conscious.