First Visit   | General Questions   |  Surgery

We ask that all parents/guardians remain in the clinic while your child is being seen.

First Visit

What should my child and I expect to happen at our first appointment?

Your child's first visit will consist of an examination, cleaning, fluoride application and X-rays if indicated. Consultation with the dentist, oral hygiene instructions and any other necessary visits will be discussed. For very young children, the examination will be done with the parent in a consultation room.

What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?

Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. Choose one designed specifically for infants or age-appropriate sized toothbrush. You should brush your child's teeth twice a day, especially at bedtime. You may also wipe the teeth and gums with a damp cloth to remove any visible traces of food or residue.

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

Your child should see a dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday. This allows the best prevention and opportunity for education in establishing good oral hygiene and diet habits.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.

Are "baby" teeth really that important to my child?

Primary, or “baby,” teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also guide the path for permanent teeth when they are ready to erupt.

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain, and schedule an appointment to see a dentist as soon as possible.

Are thumb sucking and pacifier habits harmful to children's teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits are very common. They only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, discuss this with your dentist at your next visit.

How can I prevent decay caused by nursing or bottle-feeding?

Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bottle at bedtime. It is also recommended that you brush and floss your child’s teeth prior to bed. See a dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked, as this will ensure a healthy smile. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday.

How often does my child need to see the dentist?

A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.

Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a “smear” or rice size amount of toothpaste for a child less than 3 years of age. For the 3-5 year olds, use a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively and will need parental assistance until age 8. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.

How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?

Make sure your child has a balanced diet. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child’s teeth from decay. You may also ask your dentist to help you select foods that protect your children’s teeth.

How do dental sealants work?

Sealants work by filling in the deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This prevents food particles from getting caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.

How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?

Have your dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then your dentist may want to prescribe fluoride supplements.

What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?

Soft plastic mouth-guards can be used to protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries.

What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?

The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass of milk with the tooth immediately to the dentist.

How safe are dental X-rays?

Very safe. There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Dentists are careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and digital X-rays are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.

How can parents help prevent tooth decay?

Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. The dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.


General Questions

Can my teenager use whitening products for his/her teeth?

Everybody loves a bright, white smile, and there are a variety of products and procedures available to help improve the look of your teenager’s smile. Many people are satisfied with the sparkle they get from daily brushing and regular cleanings at your dentist’s office, but if your teenager decides they would like to go beyond this to make their smile look brighter, we recommend that you speak with your dentist first to help them choose a product that will minimize sensitivity and maximize the brightness. There are many products on the market today, we want to help your teenager make sure they are using a product that protects their smile while brightening it.

Is grinding harmful to my child's teeth?

Teeth grinding (bruxism) can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. The symptoms of teeth grinding include: dull headaches, jaw soreness, teeth that are painful or loose, and/or fractured teeth. If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth grinding, ask your dentist about the potential causes and, when necessary, possible solutions.

What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting activities?

If your child plays contact sports, make sure to use a mouth guard to protect their teeth from getting chipped, broken, or knocked out. A mouth guard absorbs the force of contact- either from an elbow to the face, or even biting your teeth together. You may use the ones available at the local store, or ask your dentist about a custom made one from the dental office.

How often should I get a new toothbrush?

You should change to a new toothbrush as soon as the bristles are frayed or bent. Your dentist will most likely supply you with a toothbrush that is the proper size and softness to protect their gums. If you need to replace a toothbrush between dental visits, please make sure that it is the correct age-specific toothbrush. Always allow toothbrushes to dry between brushings. Change to a new toothbrush after any illness or a strep throat infection.

My gums bleed when I brush and floss them?

We recommend brushing softly and flossing more. Hormonal changes are sometime responsible for red and swollen gums. Interproximal decay (in between the teeth) may also be a cause of inflamed or sore gums, so flossing is especially important .

What if my child gets a tooth knocked out?

Remain calm, then find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather then root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the tooth to your dentist.

When will my child get his/her wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth actually begin forming before the age of 10, and if they erupt it is between the age of 17 years to 21 years. Not everyone will get wisdom teeth. An x-ray by the Dentist will reveal when and if they need to be removed.



I need to talk to someone regarding my child's surgery?

Please call any of our offices between the hours of 7:30a-4:30p and ask to speak with a surgery coordinator. (605) 341-3068

Will someone call me soon regarding my child's surgery?

A surgery scheduler will NOT place your child on the schedule until they have all the paperwork they are required to have by law. If your child was not scheduled the day of their appointment, please make sure that we are not waiting on paper work to schedule the surgery. When paperwork is completed, you may expect a call from a scheduler within 2 weeks. If you have not received a call please feel free to call any of our offices and ask for a surgery scheduler. (605) 341-3068

Why is my child not able to get into surgery sooner?

Every child is placed on the schedule in the order in which their completed paperwork is received. Many things factor into the location in which your child get's placed including: health history, severity of case, age, weight, insurance, doctor preference and where the patient resides. If your child is scheduled at a surgery location that only allows a few patients a month, the wait will be substantially longer than a location that we frequent more regularly. It is always best to let the scheduler know if you would like the next available appointment and that you are available to be placed on our sooner list.

When and why does my child need to have a physical?

Prior to any patient going under general anesthesia they will be asked to present a Health and Physical form at the time of surgery. This form will need to be dated no earlier than 29 days prior to surgery. Everyone wants to make sure your child is healthy and has no other medical issues that would cause any complications during their procedure.

Why can't my child eat or drink anything before surgery?

Food or liquid in the stomach is very dangerous when a person is put under general anesthesia. When the patient receives general anesthesia, he/she could vomit the food/liquid still in the stomach and this could enter the lungs. This is called aspiration which is a life threatening condition.

What does General Anesthesia mean?

To keep your child safe and comfortable during a dental procedure, your child’s dentist might decide to use general anesthesia in a surgical setting. General anesthesia makes your child’s whole body go to sleep. It is needed for certain dental procedures and treatments so that his or her reflexes will be completely relaxed. Your child will feel no pain during the procedure, nor have any memory of it.

Should my child brush his/her teeth in the morning before surgery?

No, for their safety we don’t want any risk of your child swallowing water.

Will someone let me know what time to be at surgery?

Yes they will call to confirm the time, location and answer any questions you may have the day before your scheduled appointment. If no one has called you or you have any questions please call (605) 341-3068 and ask for a surgery coordinator.

What do we do the night before surgery?

Make sure your child has a great dinner the night before. It is really important that your child not eat or drink anything after midnight or in the morning of surgery. Remove any nail polish from your child. It is recommended that they bathe the night before surgery.

How do we dress for surgery?

Dress in comfortable loose fitting clothing, short sleeves are preferred. We suggest pajamas or sweats, no one piece pajamas. Feel free to bring a favorite toy or blanket and an extra set of clothes, in case of an accident.

What to expect when you arrive at the surgery center:

You will be greeted by a staff member and the admission process will be completed. You will meet with the nurse, and then your child will be escorted to the area the surgery will be performed. Because your child will be put to sleep using anesthesia a parent or guardian must remain inside the surgery center for the duration of the appointment. Be prepared to be at the surgery center up to half a day.

After surgery?

When the surgery is complete your child will be moved to the recovery area. Once your child is awake, the nurse will invite you back to sit with your child. A nurse will monitor your child's recovery. When your child meets the discharge criteria, the nurse will complete the check- out process and give you instructions and information of what to expect that evening. We recommend having Tylenol and/or Ibuprofen on hand to help with discomfort throughout the evening.

Follow-Up appointment

A follow-up appointment may be scheduled for your child before you leave surgery. This appointment will scheduled with the clinic you have your regular visits.