Q – When should my child have their first dental visit?

A – In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist approximately six (6) months after the first tooth appears or no later than his/her first birthday.

Q- How can I prepare my child for his/her first dental appointment?

A – The best way to prepare your child is by having a positive attitude. Children can pick up on adults’ apprehensions and if you make negative comments about trips to the dentist, you can be sure that your child will fear an unpleasant experience and act accordingly.

You can also show your child pictures of our office and staff from the web site. Talk to your child about how important it is to keep his/her teeth and gums healthy and how the dentist will help him do that. Remember that our dentists are specially trained to handle fears and anxiety and our staff excels at putting children at ease during treatment.

Q – What can I expect with my child’s first visit for a dental cleaning?

A – First, we ask that you please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time to fill out the necessary new patient paperwork. While you are doing so, your child can enjoy a movie in our theater room adjacent to the waiting room. When your child is called back to the treatment area, the dental assistant will provide you with a short tour to familiarize you with our office. Then, the assistant will proceed to take necessary x-rays (with parental permission) and seat the child in an exam chair. The assistant will then ask your child (or you if the child is too young) if they are having any problems or concerns. Then, the assistant will proceed to show your child each of the tools used to complete the cleaning and explain how they work. The assistant will then attempt to do a cleaning on your child. The dentist will then be called in to perform a thorough exam and go over any treatment that may be deemed necessary. After all of your questions have been answered, you will then be escorted to our check-out desk where you can make your next appointment.

There will never be a point during any of your child’s office visits that you will not be allowed to accompany him/her. Furthermore, we do not believe in forcing a child to cooperate by use of a papoose board. In the instance your child is uncooperative, the dentist will recommend treatment options that include nitrous oxide, oral sedations, or outpatient hospital services.

Q- What should I do if my child has a toothache?
A – First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) for any pain. Finally, call our office to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists as soon as possible.

Q -When will my child have teeth come in and fall out?
A – The average age for the first tooth to erupt in infants is 6 months. This tooth is the bottom central incisor. Your child should have 20 primary (baby) teeth by 2 ½ to 3 years of age. The first permanent molars, or 6 year molars, come in around the age of 6 and they erupt behind all of the primary teeth. Your child should lose their first tooth (lower central incisor) around the age of 6-7 years. The average age for a child to lose their last baby tooth is 12 years of age.


Q – What do I do if my child is in an accident?
A – If your child has an accident, please call our office as soon as possible. We will see your child immediately. If it is an after-hours emergency, an emergency phone number will be given on the answering machine.

The first 30 minutes after an accident are the most critical to treatment of dental trauma. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, gently rinse, but do not scrub the tooth under water. Replace the tooth in the socket if possible. If this is impossible, place the tooth in a glass of milk or a clean wet cloth and come to the office immediately. If the tooth is fractured, please bring in any pieces you can find. If a primary (baby) tooth is knocked out, this is not usually an emergency, and in most cases, no treatment is necessary. However, we still recommend you call our office if you have any concerns.

Our schedule may be delayed in order to accommodate an injured child. Please accept our apologies in advance should an emergency occur during your child’s appointment.

 

Q – What if my child is uncooperative or has a high level of anxiety?

A – We strive to make each child as comfortable and relaxed as possible while receiving care. Treatment for each child is individualized depending on the child’s needs. While most patients are calm and confident, some patients may need more than a gentle caring manner to feel comfortable. We do offer several options for such patients, which include nitrous oxide, oral sedations, and outpatient hospital services.

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is very safe and can be very helpful for children who have a sensitive gag reflex. Oral sedation is an option utilized when nitrous oxide is not adequate enough to alleviate your child’s anxiety. For this type of appointment, your child will be given medication prior to the start of treatment and will be placed on nitrous oxide during the treatment process. For children unable to cooperate due to extreme anxiety, age, or special needs, we offer outpatient hospital services. All of our protocols follow the guidelines of the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.


Q – How long will the nitrous oxide stay in my child’s system?

A – After treatment is completed, we will take your child off nitrous oxide and place them on 100% oxygen for about five minutes. This oxygen flush will quickly eliminate the effects of nitrous oxide from your child’s body. There should be no lingering effects after you leave our office.


Q – My child grinds their teeth at night. Is that going to hurt their teeth?

A – Some parents may hear their children grind their teeth at night or may begin to notice wear on their teeth (their teeth may appear to be getting shorter). Some reasons for grinding teeth include stress or pressure on the inner ear. If there are changes in pressure (like in an airplane in take off and landing) the child may grind their teeth to relieve this pressure. Another cause may be due to the eruption of primary teeth at different times. Children may also grind to develop an even bite.

Most children outgrow their grinding, with no treatments necessary. If the problem persists, discuss it with your dentist at your child’s next visit.


Q – How soon can my child eat/drink after an appointment?

A – If your child was seen for a cleaning appointment and fluoride was used, then he/she cannot have anything to eat or drink for at least one half (1/2) hour after the appointment. This is important to provide sufficient time for the fluoride to reach maximum effectiveness. If no fluoride was used, then your child can eat and drink immediately.

If your child was anesthetized (numbed) for a treatment appointment, then he/she should not have anything to eat or drink until the numbness wears off. This is to ensure your child does not accidentally bit his/her tongue or cheeks and create a medical concern.   There is no limitation related to the use of nitrous oxide.

If your child was seen for oral sedation, he/she may feel nauseous as a result of the medication, so food and beverage should be introduced gradually throughout the day and to your child’s tolerance. Begin by giving clear liquids such as clear juices, water, gelatin, Popsicles, or broth. If your child does not vomit after 30 minutes, you may continue with solid foods. If vomiting occurs, keep your child’s throat clear by holding their head down or to the side during vomiting.

If your child was treated with sealants or a space maintainer, it is recommended that he/she avoids sticky foods for at least 24 hours after the appointment.


Q – What can I expect before, during, and/or after an oral sedation appointment?

A – First and most importantly, DO NOT give your child any liquids or solid foods after MIDNIGHT the night before the dental appointment. This means no breakfast and no water. It is also suggested that you do not brush the child’s teeth in the morning to prevent accidental ingestion.  Because of the health and safety concerns related to this, any failure to abide by this expectation will result in your child’s appointment being cancelled and rescheduled.

Your child will be given Versed and Vistaril at the onset of your appointment. To ensure the proper dosage, your child’s weight will be taken when you check in for your appointment. The medications may not put your child to sleep, but should make your child feel sleepy. Your child may fall asleep before, during, and after the dental treatment, but should be awakened easily. As with any sedative medication, your child may experience an opposite effect and become excited and/or irritable.

After the treatment is completed, your child will not be able to walk well, so you can carry your child or we can assist you with a wheelchair to the car or around the office. Going home, young children (up to age 3 or 4 or 40 inches tall) must be restrained in a car safety seat and older children must be restrained with a seat belt. We strongly recommend that a second responsible person come with you to the appointment to help you take care of your child while driving home.

It is best to keep your child awake for two (2) hours following the appointment. Your child may be unsteady when walking or crawling and will need support to protect him/her from injury. An ADULT must be with the child at all times until the child has returned to his/her usual state of alertness and coordination. Do not allow your child to sleep with the chin dropped towards the chest—this could prevent adequate breathing. Watch for lip/cheek/tongue biting or picking at the face due to the numbness from the local anesthetic. Your child should not perform any potentially dangerous activities, such as riding a bike, playing outside, handling sharp objects, working with tools, or climbing stairs until they are back to their usual alertness and coordination for at least one hour. Your child should be able to return to school or day care the day after the appointment.

Your child’s stomach may feel upset for a few hours after the appointment. Begin by giving clear liquids such as clear juices, water, gelatin, Popsicles, or broth. If your child does not vomit after 30 minutes, you may continue with solid foods. If vomiting occurs, keep your child’s throat clear by holding their head down or to the side during vomiting.

Call our office immediately if you are unable to arouse your child, your child is unable to eat or drink, has excessive vomiting or pain, or develops a rash.


Q – My child had extractions done. What should I do to help minimize discomfort and ensure proper healing?

A – After extractions, gauze will be placed in your child’s mouth to help control bleeding. Your child should continue to bite on this gauze until the bleeding stops. You can replace the gauze if necessary. If the gauze becomes dry and difficult to remove, DO NOT force it out as it could disrupt the formation of a proper clot. Moisten the gauze with water until it can be easily removed. If the bleeding does not stop after several hours, contact our office.

Warm salt water rinses can be used to gently irrigate the site for the first day or two after the procedure. Vigorous swishing should be avoided. Your child can gently brush the area as tolerable after a day or two.

If your child experiences swelling, an ice pack can be placed on their face adjacent to the affected area. You may also give them the recommended dosage of ibuprofen for either swelling or pain.


Q – What can I expect with a hospital appointment?

A – If it is recommended that your child receive outpatient hospital services, you will be asked to fill out the necessary authorization paperwork as per hospital regulations. You will need to schedule a pre-operative physical with your pediatrician to gain clearance for surgery. The time frame for when this needs to occur will be given to you by one of our surgical coordinators.   The surgical coordinator will also provide you with the date and location of your child’s hospital appointment. Your actual check-in time will be provided to you the day before your appointment.

DO NOT give your child any liquids or solid foods after MIDNIGHT the night before the dental appointment. This means no breakfast and no water. It is also suggested that you do not brush the child’s teeth in the morning to prevent accidental ingestion. Because of the health and safety concerns related to this, any failure to abide by this expectation will result in your child’s appointment being cancelled and rescheduled.

On the day of the appointment, you will need to check in at the hospital at your appointed check-in time. Your child will then be placed in a pre-op room for 1.5 to 2 hours while the assistants ready the child and the surgical room for treatment. Up to two (2) adults will be allowed to remain with the child during that time. Your child will then be taken into the surgical room while the parents/guardians are escorted to a waiting area. The surgery should last approximately 30-45 minutes. After treatment is completed, your child will be taken to a post-op area while they come out of surgery. Up to (2) adults will be allowed to remain with the child in that area for the 30-45 minutes they will be in recovery prior to being allowed to go home.

Going home, young children (up to age 3 or 4 or 40 inches tall) must be restrained in a car safety seat and older children must be restrained with a seat belt. We strongly recommend that a second responsible person come with you to the appointment to help you take care of your child while driving home.

Your child may be unsteady when walking or crawling and will need support to protect him/her from injury. An ADULT must be with the child at all times until the child has returned to his/her usual state of alertness and coordination. Do not allow your child to sleep with the chin dropped towards the chest—this could prevent adequate breathing. Your child should not perform any potentially dangerous activities, such as riding a bike, playing outside, handling sharp objects, working with tools, or climbing stairs until they are back to their usual alertness and coordination. Typically, this occurs late the same evening or the next day.

Your child’s stomach may feel upset for a few hours after the appointment. Begin by giving clear liquids such as clear juices, water, gelatin, Popsicles, or broth. If your child does not vomit after 30 minutes, you may continue with solid foods. If vomiting occurs, keep your child’s throat clear by holding their head down or to the side during vomiting.


Q – Do you accept all Dental Insurance?

A – We accept most private insurance and  Medicaid.  If you are unsure if we accept your specific plan please don’t hesitate to call us. It is standard procedure for us to file your dental claims for you.   All insurance plans are different.  If your not sure what your insurance covers we will assist you in finding out.  Most insurances will allow for up to 2 cleanings per year  (even Medicaid) and it is recommended for children to use them both to maintain optimal oral health.