Frequently Asked Questions

When should I start brushing my child's teeth?

As soon as your child’s first tooth appears! Bacteria (biofilm) will begin attaching to teeth as soon as the tooth is exposed to the oral environment. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and brush the tooth for a half a minute or so. As more teeth arrive increase the amount of time brushing. If your child is 18 months or older you should be brushing for about 2 minutes.

At what age should my child see a Pediatric Dentist?

Both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that the first dental visit should occur upon the eruption of the first primary (baby) tooth or when the child reaches 12 months of age. Which ever comes first. On average infants cut their first tooth around 6 months of age. There is a common misconception that your child does not need to see a dentist until they are 3 years of age. This is false. We have seen dental cavities in mouths as young as 10 months old. Also education is the key to prevention and we will discuss your child’s risk for cavities and what you can do as a caregiver to prevent dental decay.

Do we take medicaid?

Yes! We are one of the only providers that take all of the following insurance plans:

  • Medicaid
  • Delta care
  • Premier Access Chip
  • DentaQuest

For a list of accepted insurance plans call our office.
Cash payment and credit card are welcome forms of payment.

We have no age restriction or limitation with regards to Medicaid for infants, children, and adolescents including anyone with special needs.

Why should my child be seen every six months?

As a child grows, their mouths change at a fast rate. Because of this, decay can happen much faster than in an adult. Six Month intervals allow for closer monitoring of any potential issues that may be developing.  It also allows our dentists to be more conservative when treatment planning since they will be able to more closely monitor the situation.

How do you help children who are nervous or anxious about dental exams or treatment?

One source of fear or anxiety for children is the unknown.  We make a significant effort to show every child what is going to be done beforehand.  Whether that means showing them the equipment/tools, or whether it means walking them through the office before their first appointment, small steps like these help to alleviate any concerns a child may have about their visit.

We feature “Smart Sedation Options” for all of our important young patients.  Since two-thirds of our patients who visit our practice statistically won’t need sedation, we are dedicated to finding other ways to make your child comfortable.  For the one-third who need sedation, we typically choose nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as the first primary option of sedation to make the visit more comfortable for your child. Most of the time nitrous oxide does not cause them to fall asleep but it makes the uncomfortable parts of treatment much less noticeable.  The TV’s on the ceiling also help our patients to focus less on the treatment being completed. 

We take a staged approach, meaning that depending on the child’s level of anxiety and the amount of treatment needed, that helps us decide what can be done to help the child. We try to be as conservative as possible. We have TV’s on the ceiling for patients to watch; distraction plays a big part in helping a child stay calm during dental work. We could also start with something as simple as using nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, which helps lower the level of anxiety and mildly blocks pain. If a child is more anxious and is having more treatment done, for example two or three cavities, we can use a mild, or conscious, sedation. To do this, we have the child drink a mild sedative, or there is an option to squirt this medication in the child’s nose if they refuse to drink it (it does taste a little funny). These sedatives can cause amnesia so although their eyes may be opened during the procedure, they typically do not remember it afterward.  If your child is young and this strategy is not age appropriate, or if your child requires more Sedation treatment, there is another option.  This option is sometimes referred to as IV sedation or general anesthesia.  This treatment will allow your child to go completely asleep for the treatment.  Often, we have this done in a hospital setting by an anesthesiologist, but there are times when the anesthesiologist comes to our office and treatment is completed here.  Typically this option is reserved for the youngest children who are unable to cooperate for treatment or for those patients whose treatment needs are too significant for the treatment to be completed with just laughing gas (nitrous oxide).

How do you handle emergencies?

First of all, we’ll quickly ask a series of questions to determine when the child should be seen, and what treatment needs to be done. These questions include “Is your child in a significant amount of pain?”, “Have they been able to sleep?” “Has your child had a fever lately?” If an emergency occurs outside our normal business hours, our office voicemail does have an emergency phone number that parents can call at any time. When you call that number, you’ll be able to talk to a live person who can help you triage the situation and determine what to do at that moment, as well as when the child should be seen. We make every effort to see your child as soon as possible to resolve the issue.

At what age should my child be seen and what will it be like?

Both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that when the child cuts its first tooth, or when the child turns twelve months old, whichever comes first, is when a child needs to see the dentist. At this point in the child’s life, there may only be a few teeth in their mouth. Part of the purpose of this first visit is to help the child feel more comfortable being in a dentist’s office, and to familiarize them with what happens in a dental clinic. The child will be brought back to a room, where the assistant will be ready with a toothbrush for the child. The child can sit on their parent’s lap, facing their parent, and be laid back to allow our team of professional pediatric dentists to see their mouth. We will then brush their teeth, and take a look in their mouths with the dental mirror and dental explorer. This first visit isn’t just looking at the teeth; we’re checking soft tissues as well– cheek, tongue, lips, airway, etc. At the parent’s request, we do a fluoride varnish. This varnish allows the child to eat and drink right away, making this option more comfortable for the child. Then, we sit the child up, give them their toothbrush, a balloon, and a coin for the prize tower in our waiting room. Some kids have a harder time than others, and we accept that. We can work with it, and do all we can to make sure the child has a positive experience at the dentist.

Do you take my insurance?

We do accept most major dental PPO plans, including Delta Dental and Medicaid. If you have any questions about your specific dental plan, feel free to give our office a call at 801-434-5437 (Orem Area) or 801-571-5800 (Sandy Area)

I don’t have insurance, what options do I have?

We do offer a discount plan in our office. Our discount plan is $189 a year, which includes two routine office visits, and a 30% discount on all other services that our office offers.

 

Do you see adults?

Unfortunately, we specialize in Pediatric Dentistry.  We can refer you to another option.

 

How do I get started?

Every dentist is different, which means treatment plans may vary. Our team of professional pediatric dentists may recommend a more conservative approach, or they may see more in your child’s mouth that needs to be treated. What we recommend is bringing the child in for an initial exam, so our dentists can see the child’s teeth and determine what needs to be done.  From there, we can get appointments scheduled as necessary. That way, we can schedule your child enough time for future appointments and you can know what your

costs will be by the time you leave that initial appointment.  We are dedicated to treating your child like “My Own Child”, which provides you conservative care at an affordable price.

 

How much does an appointment cost?

We want to keep dental health care as affordable as possible while still providing you with the highest quality of service available, which is why we focus on the “My Own Child” policies.  When you bring your child in for their appointment, our dentists will perform a complete exam on your child’s mouth, looking for cavities, crowns, spacers, extractions, anything that needs to be done. From there, we’ll take the information provided from your insurance company, process it, and if needed, put together a payment plan for you. When you leave our office, you’ll have a complete statement of what your portion is going to be for the recommended treatment  as well as what your insurance is expected to pay.

Are you accepting new patients?

The answer is always yes! We love new patients!  We want to assure you our waiting times are minimal (normally 2-3 minutes), our procedures are affordable, and we have a strong commitment for the care of your child.

Why can’t I get my child in sooner for an appointment?

As word has spread about the quality of care provided by our office, our schedule has filled up quite quickly.  As a result, sometimes we have a full schedule for a few weeks out. Occasionally, there are cancellations and we can schedule patients the same day for treatment. Rest assured, we will make every effort to see your child as soon as possible! We always make room for dental emergencies even if it requires us to work beyond our normal office hours.

Can I bring my child in for cleaning plus any other treatment they need, all in one visit?

Doing this can be very difficult, because at the end of every cleaning, our dentists examine your child’s mouth and create a treatment plan for your child. This treatment plan could cover anything from one cavity to three extractions, which all take variable amounts of time. Because there is no treatment plan ahead of time, it’s impossible to know how long your child would need for their appointment, and we want to make sure that your child is comfortable and has the amount of time they need for their treatment.

What causes cavities and how can I prevent my child from getting them?

Cavities are caused when bacteria stick to teeth under a layer of plaque for a long period of time.  When protected under the layer of plaque, the bacteria create acid from sugars present in the mouth. This acid dissolves the layers of the teeth and creates holes.  These holes are called cavities or dental caries. The best way to prevent cavities is by brushing off the plaque from the teeth that protects the bacteria and limiting the amount of time sugar is present in the mouth.  

In addition, quality nutrition and brushing with fluoride toothpaste dramatically reduces chances of cavities occurring.

Is there a way to treat teeth without drilling or numbing?

Yes.  The new technology of today presents lots of options.  One way is with a new fluoride called silver diamine fluoride or SDF.  When applied properly to a cavity by a professional dentist, the bacteria embedded in the tooth die and the fluoride strengthens the weakened area. The hole is not repaired, but it has a much smaller chance of progressing or getting bigger.

There is a downside to SDF or Silver Diamine Fluoride; the part of the tooth that has a cavity, or the weakened part, is stained dark gray or black permanently.  There are ways, however, to cover up the stain with fillings, but usually some staining is still visible. This is a great option for very young kids or kids unable to cooperate during treatment attempts, thus delaying treatment until the child is older or more cooperative.

Why do we need to fix baby teeth if they’re just going to fall out eventually?

Cavities can get big and cause pain or infection.  A knowledgeable, experienced dentist knows that most baby teeth don’t fall out until the child is 10 or 12 years old.  Occasionally, our team of professional pediatric dentists will monitor the tooth rather than fix a tooth that may fall out soon (within 6 months).

Should I put white or silver fillings on my kids teeth?

With the new technology and reliability of white fillings, we recommend choosing only white fillings for us to place on your child’s teeth.  After all, we would put white fillings on our own kid’s teeth, so that’s what we recommend them for our wonderful patients.

  • With new technology and reliability of white fillings, we only place white fillings.  
  • We would put white fillings on our own kid’s teeth so that’s what we recommend for our wonderful patients.

What age should I start bringing my child to the dentist?

As soon as you see a few teeth.  Our team of Pediatric Dentist Experts focus on prevention.  There are several advantages, researched by the ADA, to get started early.  Sometimes we see cavities on children, age 18 months, which might have been prevented by visiting us earlier, when teeth first arrived.

  • By the time they have teeth
  • We focus on prevention, and like to start early
  • Sometimes see cavities on children age 18 months that might have been prevented had we seen them when teeth first arrived]

Why would you use Crowns on kids teeth instead of fillings?

Generally, we prefer using white fillings on children’s teeth as a repair strategy for smaller cavities.  However, when the cavity has become too large, a crown is suggested. In the same way a professional roofer wouldn’t patch up a larger hole in the roof of a nice home, if there were structural problems beneath.  The crown covers the larger entire tooth better and protects it preventing further problems until the tooth falls out. Crowns and fillings each fall out with the baby tooth naturally. We always follow our “My Own Child” policy when approaching the parents with this decision, to ensure the best possible decision is made with your child’s health and your family’s budget in mind.

  • In general, we use white fillings to fix smaller cavities
  • When the cavity is large, just like a roof, you don’t patch the hole but need to repair it structure.  The crown covers the whole tooth and protects it until the tooth falls out
  • Crown and fillings fall out with the tooth when they fall out naturally]

What does fluoride do?

Fluoride is incorporated into the enamel of your child’s tooth causing the enamel to be ten times more resistant to getting cavities. Fluoride is actually a chemical ion of fluorine, one of the top 20 most common elements in the earth’s crust. An ion is a positively- or negatively-charged atom that helps elements combine with one another. When fluorine, which is negatively charged, meets a positively-charged ion like sodium, cavity fighters are born.

When these fluoride compounds are in your mouth, they can actually make your teeth stronger and prevent cavities. They can even reverse early tooth decay.  This is why our professional practice of pediatric dentists encourages early treatment of baby teeth and proper brushing.  As your child leaves their dental appointment with Pediatric Smiles, we spend significant time encouraging and teaching them the proper way to brush and care for their teeth.

When can I start to use fluoride toothpaste?

Fluoride toothpaste can be used immediately by most children.  It is important to note that different aged kids need a different amount.   For example, younger children should use a grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste until they are able to spit effectively.  At age 3, your child should use a pea-sized amount.

  • Fluoride toothpaste can be used immediately just need to use a different amount for different kids
  • Grain of rice sized amount until they can spit it out effectively
  • After that a pea sized amount usually around the age of 3.

When do we need to start flossing?

Flossing is recommended to remove plaque from in between the teeth where your toothbrush bristles can’t reach. If the teeth don’t touch each other, there is no need to floss yer.  It is recommended flossing starts with there is no space between the teeth – usually age.

Flossing is recommended to remove plaque from in between the teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. So if the teeth don’t touch, no need to floss.  Recommend flossing once there is no space between the teeth.