We Love to Educate Our Patients

Patients often ask us the same questions. We have a thing for sharing knowledge and education (if you hadn’t noticed), so we’ve provided some of the most common inquiries—and our answers—below.

Anesthesia: Is it safe for my child?

Appointments: What’s the best time to schedule them?

Appointments: What if I need to reschedule?

Baby teeth: How important are they?

Baby teeth: Should cavities in baby teeth be filled?

Cavities: What causes tooth decay?

Cavities: How can I help prevent them?

Dental visit: How old should my child be for their first visit?

Dental visits: Can I stay with my child?

Dental visits: How often should they be scheduled?

Diet and nutrition: What foods are best for my child’s dental health?

Eruption: When do the first teeth start to come in?

Family Dentist vs. Pediatric dentist: Is there a difference?

Fluoride supplements: Are they necessary?

Grinding of Teeth (Bruxism): Is it common? How long does it last?

Insurance: Which insurances do you accept?

Mouth guards: Should my child wear them while playing sports?

Nitrous oxide: Is it safe for my child?

Nursing: How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?

Permanent teeth: What if one gets knocked out?

Sealants: How do they work?

Spacing: Should I be concerned about the space between my child's two upper front teeth?

Teething: How can I help my child through this painful stage?

Thumb sucking: Is it bad?

Toothache: What should I do?

Toothbrush: Safe for my baby’s teeth?

Toothpaste: When should I begin using it and how do I use?

Xrays: Are they safe?

Anesthesia: Is it safe for my child?

When administered correctly, 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, prior to administering the anesthetic.

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Appointments: What’s the best time to schedule them?

Morning appointments are best for preschool children because they are generally more awake and in a better mood.

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Appointments: What if I need to reschedule?

Appointment times are reserved exclusively for each patient. We ask that you please notify our office 24 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment time if you need to reschedule. That way we have enough time to notify and help another patient. We realize that unexpected things happen, and your assistance in this regard is greatly appreciated.

For more information regarding appointments, please read Our Policies.

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Baby teeth: How important are they?

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, or “erupt.”

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Baby teeth: Should cavities in baby teeth be filled?

Tooth decay is an infection that can spread, possibly causing impairment of general health, pain and premature loss of baby teeth if neglected. Proper care of baby teeth is instrumental in enhancing the health of your child.

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Cavities: 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 enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.

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Cavities: How can I help prevent them?

Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. We will provide 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. In-home treatments, regular dental visits and a balanced diet will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.

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Dental visit: How old should my child be for their first visit?

In order 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.

For more information on what to expect during your child’s first visit at any age, please visit the Services section.

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Dental visits: Can I stay with my child?

We invite 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.

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Dental visits: How often should they be scheduled?

We recommend a check-up every six months in order to prevent cavities and other dental issues. However, we will always let you know how often your child should visit based on their specific needs.

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Diet and nutrition: What foods are best for my child’s dental health?

Eating the right foods is essential to great dental health. Your child needs a balanced diet, including one serving each of fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, dairy and protein (meat, fish or eggs) each meal. Limit their intake of sugars and starches to help prevent decay. We discuss your child’s diet needs during your dental visit.

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Eruption: When do the first teeth start to come in?

Around 6 months old, the two lower front teeth (central incisors) will erupt, followed shortly thereafter by the two upper central incisors. The remainder of the baby teeth appear during the next 18 to 24 months in random order. All of your child’s primary “baby”teeth should be in between the ages of 2 and 3 years old… all 20!

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Family Dentist vs. Pediatric dentist: Is there a difference?

Unlike a family dentist, Pediatric dentists only treat children. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of specialty training following dental school, and we are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.

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Fluoride supplements: Are they necessary?

We evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride, which may happen if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride, then we may prescribe fluoride supplements.

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Grinding of Teeth (Bruxism): Is it common? How long does it last?

Bruxism is very common. You’ll know if your child is grinding their teeth because you’ll head a grinding sound while the child is sleeping. Teeth may also appear shorter over time. Most children outgrow tooth grinding around 6 to 9 years old as the permanent dentition develop, and this habit usually stops by age 12 when baby teeth are gone.

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Insurance: Which insurances do you accept?

We accept almost all private dental insurances and are preferred providers for Premera, Regence & Washington Dental Service.

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Mouth guards: Should my child wear them while playing sports?

Soft plastic mouth guards are used to protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sports‐related injuries. A custom‐fitted mouth guard will protect your child from injuries to the teeth and face, as well as provide protection from severe injuries to the head.

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Nitrous oxide: Is it safe for my child?

Nitrous oxide and oxygen are very safe. Most children are able to 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.

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Nursing: How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?

Avoid nursing children to sleep at bedtime, or putting anything in their bottle other than water. If it’s necessary to nurse at night, wash or wipe the teeth, gums and mouth prior to putting the child to bed.

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Permanent teeth: What if one gets knocked out?

First, it’s important to remain calm. If possible, find the tooth and, holding it by the crown (top) rather than the root (where the tooth meets your gums), put it back it its socket. Hold the tooth in place with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you can’t 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.

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Sealants: How do they work?

Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out 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.

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Spacing: Should I be concerned about the space between my child's two upper front teeth?

If your child has a space, it will usually close within the next few years as the other front teeth erupt. We will take a look and help you determine whether there is cause for concern.

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Teething: How can I help my child through this painful stage?

Sore gums are part of the normal eruption process. Using a teething biscuit, a piece of toast or a frozen teething ring can often ease discomfort. Medications that can be rubbed into the gums to reduce pain can also be found at your pharmacy.

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Thumb sucking: Is it bad?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits are not a problem unless they continue for a long period of time. Most children will stop on their own; however, if your child’s habits persist and it begins to have an effect on the teeth, a mouth appliance may be recommended.

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Toothache: What should I do?

Make an appointment with us as soon as possible, so we can assess the situation. At home, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water, place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen, and give your child acetaminophen if they are in pain.

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Toothbrush: Safe for my baby’s teeth?

A toothbrush will remove the bacteria and food that attaches itself to your child’s teeth, causing decay. 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.

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Toothpaste: When should I begin using it and how do I use?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or a cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice a day with non‐fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age‐appropriate sized toothbrush. Once your child can spit, use a “smear” of fluoride. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively, and as a parent, this responsibility falls to you.

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Xrays: Are they safe?

There are few risks with 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 high‐speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.

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