Some frequently asked questions.

When Do I Book My First Visit?

We here, at The Kids’ Dentist, as well as The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and The American Dental Association (ADA) recommend that your child see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her 1st birthday.

The first visit helps not only to introduce your child to the dental setting at an early age, but also allows the dentist and staff to provide helpful information to parents about the oral health of their child and answer any questions they might have.

Where Are The Patient Forms I Need To Complete Prior To The First Visit?

You can find the first visit forms at NEW PATIENT FORMS.

How Often Does My Child Need to Visit The Dentist?

Just like adults, it is usually recommended that children see a pediatric dentist every 6 months. Because the dental health of every child is different, your dentist may recommend an alternative check-up schedule that best suits the needs of your child.

What Is The Age Range Of Children Seen At Your Office?

Pediatric Dentists choose to complete 2-3 years of additional specialty training after obtaining a traditional dental degree. By doing so, we are more qualified to meet your child’s distinct dental needs. We limit who we see in our practice in order to provide your child the best possible care.

Who We See:

  • Infants (as young as a few days old)
  • Toddlers and School-age Children
  • Adolescents (through age 21)
  • Special Health Care Needs Patients

When Will My Child’s Teeth Come In?

Teething (also known as eruption) can be a difficult process for both children and their parents. Knowing the timing of tooth eruption, some common signs and symptoms of teething, and what to do at home can help ease parents’ worries about getting their child through this tough period of time. Below are some general guidelines about tooth eruption. It is important to remember every child is different so don’t panic if your child seems to be a little earlier/later than the following tables.

Baby Teeth (months) Maxillary (top) Mandibular (bottom)
Central Incisors 7 6
Lateral Incisors 8 9
Canines 18 16
1st Molar 14 12
2nd Molar 24 20
Permanent Teeth (years) Maxillary (top) Mandibular (bottom)
Central Incisors 7 6
Lateral Incisors 8 7
Canines 11 9
1st Premolar 10-11 10-12
2nd Premolar 10-12 11-13
6 Year Molars 6 6
12 Year Molars 12-13 11-13
Wisdom Teeth 18-25 18-25

Signs and Symptoms

  • Localized Discomfort
  • Irritability
  • Excessive Salivation

Home Treatment

  • Use rings or washcloths chilled in the refrigerator
  • Massage your baby’s gums with a clean finger
  • Use baby Tylenol (acetaminophen) or baby Motrin (ibuprofen) to ease discomfort
  • The AAPD discourages the use of over the counter teething gels, tablets, and ointments due to the potential toxicity of these products

Are X-Rays Really Necessary?

Yes! Although most patients do not need x-rays at every visit, x-rays are vital to complete a thorough exam of your child from time to time. These x-rays help us “see” what is happening between the teeth and below the gums. They are also important in checking the growth and development of your child’s facial bones as well as looking for any pathology that may be present.

Here at The Kids’ Dentist, we take the utmost care to limit the amount of radiation exposure to your child through the use of lead aprons, high speed film, and digital radiographs which reduce the radiation of exposure by over 90%.

Can Parents Accompany Children During Treatment?

Yes, of course you can! It is your choice. Parents are welcome to accompany their child during his/her visit or parents can relax and enjoy the amenities in the waiting area.

While you are always welcome to stay with your child during visits, once you and your child are comfortable with our staff and our office, we encourage you to allow your child to gain independence and confidence by having a member of our dental team accompany your child through his/her dental visit.

What Are Sealants?

Sealants are a protective coating that is placed in the deepest grooves of the back permanent teeth (molars). Placing this coating helps prevent cavities in these teeth by blocking food and sugar from becoming stuck in these grooves.

The first sealants are typically placed as soon as the entire chewing surface of the 6 year molar can be seen in the child’s mouth. Once placed, they tend to last 3 years or more.

What is the Difference between Your Dentist and a Pediatric Dentist?

A Pediatric Dentist chooses to complete 2-3 years of additional specialty training after obtaining a standard dental degree. A Pediatric Dentist 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 care needs.

Should My Child be Using Fluoride?

Yes! Fluoride has been shown to be extremely beneficial to both baby and permanent teeth, but there are guidelines as to how much fluoride your child should be exposed to and at what age they should start. Not enough fluoride leads to a much higher chance of teeth developing cavities, while too much fluoride can lead to enamel discoloration.

We will evaluate the level of fluoride exposure in your child on an individual basis and make recommendations to make sure his/her teeth are as cavity resistant as possible. In western Washington we have some of the lowest fluoride exposures in the country due many communities not fluoridating the city water.

Do Baby Teeth Really Need to be Fixed?

Yes! The health and care of primary or “baby” teeth is important for many reasons. Despite the fact they will ultimately fall out, the neglect of these teeth can lead to many other health issues in a child. Cavities found and left untreated in baby teeth often pave the way for developmental problems in the permanent or “adult” teeth and a higher rate of cavities in these adult teeth. Baby teeth help affect the development of speech, aid in chewing and the initial stages of digestion, provide a proper spacing guide for the eruption and alignment of permanent teeth, and help with the development of the upper and lower jaw bones – ultimately affecting facial esthetics. Although the front baby teeth start to fall out in children between ages 6-7, the back chewing teeth are not lost sometimes until the age of 13!

Why Does My Child Grind At Night?

A common occurrence among young children is grinding their teeth while sleeping. Some common theories behind this grinding include stress at home or school, changes in inner ear pressure, and the presence of an abnormal bite. Most children will outgrow grinding. A large decrease in grinding can be seen with the eruption of the 6 year molars. The majority of grinding usually disappears once the child no longer has baby teeth present.

Typically no treatment will be needed in young children as long as no damage to permanent teeth is occurring. If your child grinds, be sure to let us know so the dentist can examine the surfaces of your child’s teeth to determine if any intervention is needed to protect the teeth from facing damage.

Why is My Child’s Baby Tooth Turning Dark?

When a baby tooth is bumped or encounters trauma, no matter how big or small, it can cause a change in color of that tooth. This color change is due to blood found inside the tooth attempting to heal the trauma. The blood begins to accumulate or clot, and remain in that area as the healing process occurs, similar to what you would expect to see if you bumped your leg and got a bruise. This healing process can happen at any time after trauma occurs – whether it’s hours, weeks or months later. Some of the common colors seen include, yellow, brown, purple, grey, and black.

As long as no pain or infection occurs, most of these baby teeth require no treatment. There is a good chance the tooth will lighten back up on its own, but be patient – it can take some time. In fact, it can take up to 6 months or longer!

**If your child has a permanent tooth that has changed color, please call the office to have your child seen as soon as possible as this is a sign that the permanent tooth may be dying and will need emergency treatment.