children running in the hallway in school

Welcome back! The back-to-school season is an exciting time for both parents and children. Here are five ways to support your child’s oral health while they are learning and developing away from home:

1.     Follow an oral hygiene schedule.

New year, new routines. The school year comes with many customs, including brushing and flossing before taking off to school and after dinner. Keeping kids accountable with their oral hygiene schedule helps prevent cavities and gum disease.

Does your child have trouble remembering to brush and floss their teeth? Posting a step-by-step oral hygiene instructional chart can help kids go through the motions of maintaining excellent oral health but can be more hands-off in the long run for parents who have busy mornings.

2.     Provide healthy lunches and after-school snacks.

The secret to healthy teeth might be in your child’s lunchbox. Food has a significant impact on dental development and preservation.

Here are some of the best foods that help kids have healthy mouths:

  • High-fiber vegetables and fruit scrub away plaque. Carrots, celery, and apples are great side and snack choices.
  • Dairy products are rich in calcium, vitamin D, and phosphates to fortify bones (including the teeth and jaws). Low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese pack a nutritional punch and help keep kids feeling full with added protein.
  • Eggs are eggs-actly what kids need to receive essential minerals for excellent oral health. Eggs are packed with protein, Vitamin D, and phosphates.
  • Green veggies are filled with vitamins and minerals that support healthy tooth enamel.
  • Nuts and seeds are filled with minerals that contribute to tooth remineralization and fight cavities.

3.     Send students to school with a water bottle.

Is your child drinking enough water daily? An easily accessible water bottle can encourage kids to rehydrate while working through hours of lessons and after physical education.

According to a study published by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, children are most vulnerable to dehydration, and dehydration can adversely affect cognitive performance (brain function). When the brain is not performing at its mental peak, it weakens focus, psychomotor, and immediate memory skills.

Water with fluoride is safe to drink and helps prevent tooth decay. Almost all drinking water in the United States is fortified with fluoride. However, some bottled varieties don’t, so check the label to make sure.

4.     Schedule your child’s back-to-school dental visit.

Most dentists recommend dental checkups twice a year, and August and September are popular months for parents to schedule them for their children. At this visit, the dental team:

  • Examines overall dental health
  • May take an x-ray to check for cavities
  • Professionally clean the teeth to eradicate harmful bacteria

5.     Prepare for dental emergencies.

Dental emergencies aren’t common, but they can happen anytime and anywhere. Signs of a potential dental emergency are:

  • A permanent, “adult” tooth is loose or has fallen out
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Severe toothaches or jaw pain
  • Bleeding or swelling that won’t stop

If a dental emergency does occur, it’s essential to visit the dentist as soon as possible so that he can save the tooth or treat the discomfort conservatively.

Schedule a Back-to-School Checkup

Education helps children’s brains develop. Parents can support their children’s dental development by assisting kids in sticking to oral hygiene regimens, offering balanced meals and fluoridated water, scheduling routine exams, and preparing for dental emergencies.

Call (913) 685-9990 or message us online to book a back-to-school checkup in Overland Park, KS, with Dr. Matt today.

Little patient conversing with her dentist at dental office before her regular checkup for cavities and gum disease.

While it’s more prevalent in adults, younger kids and adolescents are still at risk for periodontal (gum) disease. Something worth smiling about is that gum disease is treatable. In this article, we talk about gum disease and how to handle it.

How Gum Disease Forms in Children

When harmful bacteria, food particles, and sugar build up on teeth and gums, they produce a sticky film called plaque. Plaque buildup can lead to puffy, inflamed, and bleeding gums. If this gets worse, severe gum disease can loosen teeth and damage the soft tissue and bones underneath them.

Signs of Gum Disease in Children and Teens

Chronic gingivitis is widespread in children and is the mildest form of gum disease. Here are four signs of gingivitis:

  • Inflamed gums that look puffy, swollen, and bright red
  • Bleeding gums during brushing, flossing, or any other time
  • Bad breath (halitosis) that does not clear up after brushing and flossing
  • Calculus (hardened plaque and tartar) builds up

Thankfully, gingivitis is treatable and reversible through at-home hygiene routines and professional dental intervention. However, left untreated, gingivitis can gradually progress into more severe forms of periodontal disease.

Periodontitis happens in otherwise healthy young people and typically attacks around puberty or later in life. The three stages of periodontitis are:

·        Early stages of periodontitis stem from gingivitis. Gums may recede or move away from the teeth and sometimes expose tooth roots. Slight bone and connective tissue loss are common signs during the initial stage of periodontitis. Patients may also experience sensitivity to temperature or discomfort when chewing.

·        Moderate periodontitis is more destruction of bone and connective tissue. Multiple teeth may be abnormally spaced and feel loose or separated. Periodontal pockets begin to form and fill with bacteria and tartar.

·        Severe jaw bone loss and increased tooth mobility accompany advanced forms of gum disease. Periodontal pockets deepen and may fill with bacteria, tartar, and even pus (if infected). Teeth are more at risk of falling out at the advanced stage of gum disease.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

A consistent oral hygiene routine is the most efficient way to prevent and treat gum disease. Simple oral hygiene care includes:

  • Thoroughly brushing and flossing teeth twice a day
  • Using a pea-sized fluoridated toothpaste (if the child is over two years of age)
  • Rinsing the mouth with a mouthwash to reduce oral bacteria
  • Enjoying a healthy diet that is low in sugar and starch
  • Visiting the dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings

Good oral hygiene routines are essential for babies, children, and teenagers. While it’s normal for a kid to sneak a sweet treat or miss brushing here and there—sticking to at-home oral hygiene, eating a balanced diet, and regular dental checkups are imperative. These healthy habits help protect children against gum disease and other health problems.

How to Treat Gum Disease

Here are some ways dentists treat all stages of gum disease:

  • Good dental habits (as mentioned in the last section) can help fight gingivitis.
  • Scaling and root planing can remove plaque and tartar on the surface of the teeth and under the gum lines. This treatment can also smooth tooth roots and reattach gums to the teeth.
  • Antibiotics may be put in the periodontal pockets or orally in a pill form. Sometimes, dentists also prescribe an anti-bacterial
  • Surgery is needed to restore gingival tissues damaged by advanced gum disease.

Track and Treat Gum Disease in Overland Park, KS

Childhood gum disease requires professional care. Dr. Matt helps parents manage and treat gum conditions that detriment oral health and overall wellness. Call 913-685-9990 or message us online to schedule an appointment at Smiles Dentistry for Kids.

Young cute blond boy with toothbrush with pink toothpaste on a white background

The American Dental Association states that children should have their first dental visit either after their first tooth erupts or before their first birthday (whichever happens first). This first appointment is crucial to creating the foundation for life-long oral health.

Here are some key topics that a pediatric may go over during the first dental visit:

Growth and Development of Teeth and Jaws

Surprisingly to most people, genetics play a minimal role in jaw development. Jaw development is primarily a product of the environment in which they are growing.

The “big three” impacts on facial development and resting oral posture are:

  • Lips sealed with teeth lightly touching
  • Proper tongue posture on the roof of the mouth
  • Nasal breathing

Craniofacial imbalances happen when these three factors are not present during growth and development. This may create cosmetic and medical issues, such as midface deficiency and long-face syndrome.

Thumb and Pacifier Habits

Babies have a natural sucking reflex that encourages self-soothing. Sucking thumbs, pacifiers, and other objects may help babies feel more secure and content as they navigate the world around them and help them fall asleep.

The American Dental Association encourages children to stop sucking before the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt (typically between ages two and four). Sucking modifies the roof of the mouth. After the permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause issues with the proper growth and alignment of teeth.

Cavity Prevention

Unfortunately, cavities are a common occurrence in young children. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that 42% of children will develop at least one cavity before their 11th birthday. Cavities aren’t difficult to treat but diligently preventing cavities is the best way to treat them.

Here are some ways to keep tooth decay at bay in young children:

  • Engage in proper oral hygiene routines early: Parents should start cleaning their child’s teeth with water as soon as they erupt. A wet rag or baby toothbrush will work. When children become more active, turn teeth brushing into a fun game! Who can clean all their teeth the best? Child vs. parent, child vs. child, or both!
  • Avoid carbohydrate-rich foods: Bacteria love sugary and starchy foods as much as we do! Prolonged exposure to oral bacteria creates enamel erosion, which increases the risk of decaying baby teeth. After enjoying a sugary snack, have your child drink a glass of water. Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to protect his or her dental enamel.  
  • Never allow your child to go to bed with a baby bottle: As mentioned above, oral bacteria thrive on sugar (including lactose found in milk). Baby bottle tooth decay develops after long-lasting exposure to sugary liquids. If your child needs a drink during naps and bedtime, choose water.
  • Brush with a fluoridated toothpaste at two years old: Fluoride can help make the “terrible twos” better by protecting your toddler’s teeth against cavities. Talk to a pediatric dentist about how much fluoride toothpaste is appropriate for your little one.
  • Plan regular visits to the dentist: Like people of all ages, children should see the dentist every six months. Routine visits an experienced and friendly pediatric dentist can help monitor and preserve dental health.

Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit Today

Our Smiles Dentistry for Kids family is dedicated to protecting the smiles of your little one by offering personalized, detail-oriented check-ups in an easy-going environment. Schedule your child’s first dental appointment with Dr. Matt by calling (913) 685-9990.

close up of toddler holding bottle

Oral health is a factor that all parents must consider from the time that their little one is born. Yes, even before his or her teeth have erupted!

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (aka Early Childhood Caries) mainly affects the upper front teeth but can have rippling effects throughout the mouth. Sugary drinks and milk turn into acid in the mouth when they encounter bacteria. This acid attacks the dental enamel and creates a cavity. If these drinks are paired with a meal, cavities are less likely. However, when children take a nap or go to bed for the night with a bottle in their mouths, Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is likely to occur.

Symptoms of Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Tooth decay in babies and toddlers can be especially difficult to detect. Presumably, your little one won’t be able to express in words what is wrong with his teeth. Here are a few symptoms of early childhood caries to look for:  

  • White spots on the teeth
  • Light brown spots on the teeth
  • Brown or black spots on the teeth
  • Pain around the tooth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold drinks and sweet foods

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a pediatric dentist near you as soon as possible.

How A Kid’s Dentist Treats Tooth Decay

When cavities first develop, and a baby has small white spots on her teeth, fluoride treatments may be able to reverse the decay by helping rebuild the dental enamel.

Darker spots on the teeth indicate more developed cavities that may require restorative treatments, such as fillings or dental crowns. Pediatric dentists make these procedures as comfortable and quick as possible. These are common dental treatments and should never be a source of anxiety for you or your little one!

Prepare your child for a dental crown with these helpful tips.

How To Prevent Early Childhood Caries

Prevention is always the best policy. There are several steps you can take to stop the development of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay in your child:

  1. Clean your child’s gums with a soft, damp cloth after a feeding.
  2. Don’t share eating utensils or straws that can transfer bacteria.
  3. After the teeth erupt, gently brush them twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a smudge of fluoride toothpaste.
  4. When two teeth erupt next to each other, floss between them daily.
  5. Avoid sending your little one to bed with a bottle in his mouth.
  6. Reduce the amount of juice and soft drinks your child drinks.
  7. Do not dip pacifiers in sugar or honey.
  8. Provide healthy, mouth-friendly meals and snacks.

Finally, be sure to schedule your child’s first dental visit by her first birthday or by the time her first tooth erupts (whichever comes first). These appointments give a pediatric dentist the chance to catch tooth decay in its earliest stages and offer tips for how to prevent more from developing.

During your child’s first visit, the dentist will mainly focus on reviewing you and your child’s dental and medical histories and evaluating his smile for oral health issues or developmental concerns.

When necessary, a dental assistant can clean and polish your little one’s teeth.

Call Smiles Dentistry for Kids Today

Our team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids is dedicated to reducing childhood tooth decay by offering high-quality, individualized oral health care in a comfortable environment. to schedule your child’s first visit with Dr. Matt, contact our Overland Park dental practice today at (913) 685-9990.

happy toddler with toy car

Few things encourage a person to take oral health more seriously than having children. All of a sudden, the mouth becomes a little more complicated and a lot more important! No parent wants their child to suffer from cavities, bad breath, or early tooth loss. This is why pediatric dentists exist—to help parents navigate the beginning stages of their child’s oral development.

When parents bring their little ones to our Overland Park kids’ dentist, they usually have lots of questions. Here are five of the most popular questions we receive about children’s oral health:

1. How often should my child visit the dentist?

Children should visit the dentist just as often as adults—every six months. These appointments begin six months after his or her tooth erupts or by the child’s first birthday. These biannual appointments ensure your little one develops a good relationship with a kid’s dentist, tracks their dental development, and helps create good oral hygiene habits.

2. How can I help reduce pain and discomfort from my teething baby?

Teething occurs from the time a child is about six months old until age two. It’s a painful process for babies to go through, and one that parents can help make more comfortable. A pediatric dentist will look after your little one’s dental development and offer a few tips to help ease his or her pain.

Here are some of our top tips for reducing pain and discomfort in teeth babies:

  • Offer your child a firm rubber teething ring to chew on
  • Use a cool, wet washcloth to gently rub and massage the gums
  • Feed him or her soft foods that require minimal chewing

3. When should we begin using fluoride toothpaste?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps strengthen and protect dental enamel. However, too much fluoride can lead to a problem called fluorosis which creates discoloration on the teeth. Talk to a kids’ dentist before introducing your little one to fluoride to learn exactly how much to use and how often to use it.

4. What if my child hates brushing his teeth?

Many parents dread nighttime routines because children dread going through the motions. It doesn’t have to be this way! Make oral hygiene fun by playing music or videos while brushing and flossing, offering rewards for consistent oral care, and going through the motions together as a family.

Visiting the dentist regularly will also help your child understand and think about oral hygiene in a different light. Pediatric dentists use kid-friendly language and tools to help explain how to brush and floss and why we need to do it. Never underestimate the power of a great pediatric dentist!

5. What are the most common causes of cavities?

Baby bottle tooth decay is one of the most common causes of cavities in infants and toddlers. This occurs when babies drink milk out of a bottle right before a nap or bedtime. Like older children, babies should have their teeth cleaned daily, especially before going to sleep.

Other common causes of cavities in children include:

  • Sodas
  • Crackers
  • Sharing spoons and straws
  • Juice
  • Other foods and beverages high in sugar and carbohydrates

Talk to your kids’ dentist to learn how to care for your child’s teeth at every stage.

Our Overland Park Kids’ Dentist

Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids loves helping parents navigate the early stages of oral hygiene for kids. For more personalized dental tips and excellent pediatric dental care, contact our office today at (913) 685-9990 to schedule an initial consultation.

mom and daughter on laptop

When it comes to dental care, we believe every child deserves the best of the best. Mediocrity just won’t cut it! We know many adults who suffer from dental fear because of a bad dental experience they had during childhood. The best way to stop this cycle is to find a stand-out and stand-up pediatric dentist for our children.

To do that, you must know the formula for finding one! We believe that these five simple steps will help you find the pediatric dentist that meets all of your expectations and all of your child’s needs.

Step 1: Know what you’re searching for!

You know better than anyone what your child needs. So, jot down a short list of your child’s needs as well as expectations you have of the office environment, dentist’s experience and training, location, hours, etc.

Of course, you may not find a pediatric dentist that meets every requirement, but one should come close! Now that your list is made, the search can begin.

Step 2: Ask friends and family.

Talk to friends and family members with children who have recently visited a pediatric dentist and ask for recommendations. Be sure to get details about their experiences and how their child responded to the dentist, office environment, and the appointment as a whole.

Based on these recommendations and your relationship with that person, you may skip step three and move right on to step four, but a quick Google search couldn’t hurt!

Step 3: Search Google.

Looking for a dentist in a specific location? Want to read reviews of pediatric dentists nearby? Google! Simply type “pediatric dentist near me” in the search bar and let Google do the work for you.

By clicking on the stars underneath the dental practice’s name, you’ll have access to every patient review ever submitted. Here, you’ll find the most accurate information about the dentist’s office, the staff, and the pediatric dentist. While most of the reviews will be good, look for great ones that make the practice stand out!

Take this review, for example:

“My daughter fell and had a lot of mouth trauma/teeth out of place on an Sunday afternoon. Dr. Matt quickly met us at the dentist to help with the situation. He is always amazing at our regular visits but we so appreciated the extra attention today during this accident. He helped her to stay calm and she had such a positive experience. ❤️” – Meghan A.

These types of reviews show a dentist that goes above and beyond for his patients, even when it isn’t convenient.

Step 4: Browse some websites.

Choose a few dentists from the Google search to look further into based on the reviews. The dentist’s website should explain most details about their treatment philosophy, services, team members, and payment options. The dentist’s website reflects their office, so if the website looks professional and kid-friendly that’s most likely what you can expect in person as well.

If you’re left with any additional questions, be sure to call the practice to get those answered. That’s also a great time to ask more specific questions about your child’s needs.

Step 5: Schedule an initial consultation.

Congratulations! You’ve (hopefully) found the best dentist for your little one.

When scheduling the initial consultation, choose a time that will give your child the best opportunity for a great experience. This could be after nap time, early in the morning, or after lunch. Sleepy, hungry children are usually more interested in what’s after the appointment!

Our Overland Park Pediatric Dentist

Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids offers an exceptional, comfortable, and kid-friendly experience to children of all ages. Dr. Matt genuinely cares for his patients and desires to see every child achieve optimal oral health.

To learn more about our practice, check out our website! Or call (913) 685-9990 to schedule your child’s first visit.

close up of little boy at the lake

If your little one needs a dental crown, the best thing you can do is prepare him or her for the appointment. No need to beat around the bush or keep it a secret! Kids do best when they know what to expect (as do many adults).

Placing a dental crown is a simple and common procedure for children with cavities, a broken tooth, or a primary tooth that hasn’t properly developed. Our job as pediatric dentists is to ensure our patients receive top-notch, gentle dental care. We just ask that the parents of our patients prepare them for the procedure as best they can!

Here are three tips for preparing your little one for a dental crown:

1. Explain the procedure in a kid-friendly way

One of the best ways to prepare your child is to let him or her know what’s coming. Of course, you don’t want to give all the details—leave out any that he might think are scary—but the basics of the procedure and what is expected of the patient are fair game.

You can explain the dental crown procedure like this:

“When we get to the dentist’s office, you and I will go into a room with the dentist and his helpers. Then while you’re lying very still and calm in the chair with your mouth open, he will give you a medicine that takes away pain. Finally, he will place the crown on your hurt tooth to make it better!”

The name “dental crown” opens the door for you to make this explanation as fun as possible. For example, you can tell your little one that after the crown is placed, he or she is officially a prince or a princess!

2. Act it out

Despite your fabulous explanation, your child may still feel uneasy about the procedure. In the days leading up to the appointment, take some time to act out the procedure on each other or stuffed animals.

Make a place for the patient to lie down, then pretend to perform the steps of the procedure. Let your little one be the dentist next! Be sure to acknowledge and praise good behaviors throughout the process. 

3. Be calm and patient

One of the best things you can do for your child on the day of the appointment is to stay cool, calm, and collected. It’s very likely that she will have more questions or anxiety on the day of the procedure. Answer these questions as best you can in a way that eases her worries.

Be sure to avoid making a big deal about the dental crown procedure and don’t tell or allow anyone else to tell your child horror stories about the dentist. Again, we promise to do our part to make sure your child’s dental experience is comfortable and relaxing.

Dental Crown for Kids in Overland Park, KS

Want to ensure your child receives the best dental care available? Our team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids wants the same thing! Our pediatric dentist, Dr. Matt, has worked hard to create an environment where kids (and their parents) feel welcomed, carefree, and comfortable from the time they walk in the doors to the time they walk out.

To learn if your child needs a dental crown, or to get a second opinion, contact our friendly dental team today at (913) 685-9990 to set up a consultation with Dr. Matt.

Choosing a pediatric dentist for your little one is no small task, but it is an extremely important one! Your child’s first dental experiences will change the way he or she views oral hygiene and oral health care for the rest of their childhood, and maybe even adulthood.

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, we take the responsibility of giving children the best first dental experience very seriously. We strive to create a kid-friendly environment and cultivate relationships with the entire family. Whether you’re new to the area, or just in need of a new Overland Park pediatric dentist, we would love to have your family join ours.

Here’s what patients can expect at our pediatric dental practice:

Consistency

For children, consistency promotes relaxation, comfort, trusting relationships, and respect. That’s why parents and teachers focus on creating daily routines.

As dental professionals, we want our patients to always know what to expect when they come to our office—parents appreciate this, too! Consistency helps eliminate fear and anxiety, so the appointment goes as smoothly as possible for everyone.

In the name of consistency, children meet with Dr. Matt during every single appointment. Dr. Matt loves being a dependable figure in his patient’s lives and takes this role very seriously.

Individualized Care

Our team recognizes that every child has unique needs, preferences, and personalities. When you visit our office for the first time, expect our dentist and team members to ask questions to get to know your child (and you) as much as possible.

We’ll ask questions about your child’s favorite tv shows, books, and foods, personality traits, hobbies, and family life. Please feel free to share anything else you think we should know! Our team will use this information to make sure your little one has the best, most comfortable dental experience possible.

Diligence

When we’re with our patients, nothing else is more important. Every child receives diligent, focused care so that no oral health problem is ever overlooked. Dr. Matt takes the time to evaluate all of your child’s oral and overall health issues, answer questions, and create an effective treatment plan. We also teach children how to properly brush and floss and offer tips based on each child’s specific needs.

A Kid-Friendly, Educational Dentist

Smiles Dentistry for Kids is Dr. Matt’s dream-come-true. His years of education at the UMKC School of Dentistry and Northwestern University, desire to see children achieve and maintain optimal oral health, and high energy have all led him right here.

These qualities make Dr. Matt one of the best pediatric dentists in the Overland Park area. At our office, children and their parents feel welcome and cared for.

Dr. Matt uses fun tools and tricks to effectively communicate the importance of oral hygiene to children—a struggle for many parents. However, he isn’t just a master communicator for children, talking with parents is another one of his strong suits! After all, parents know their children best, and they know what’s best for them. When an oral health issue is detected, Dr. Matt works alongside the parents to create an effective, affordable, and comfortable treatment plan.

Schedule A First Visit

Ready to give your child the best dental experience? Contact our Overland Park dental practice today at (913) 685-9990 to schedule a first visit.

baby boy with blue eyes eating

When will my child develop his first tooth? At what age should all my baby’s teeth be developed? Are brushing and flossing important for baby teeth? We hear these questions from new parents all the time, and we’re happy to answer them! Baby teeth, also known as milk teeth, can be hard to navigate on your own. As pediatric dental professionals, we love coming alongside parents to ensure their children start their lives with optimal oral health.

In this blog, we explain important information about the development, needs, and importance of baby teeth.

1. All baby teeth should be developed by age three.

Most children develop their first tooth between six months and one year old. Dental development usually begins with the bottom two incisors, the top two incisors, and they continue to erupt from the front to the back until age three.

2. Brushing and flossing are essential.

Although milk teeth will eventually fall out, they still require the same type of care as permanent teeth. For baby’s first tooth, use a clean, damp cloth or gauze pad to wipe the tooth and front of the tongue clean. Do this after meals and before bedtime.

When it’s time to start brushing, use a soft-bristled, baby toothbrush or finger brush and a rice-grain-sized amount of toothpaste. Talk to your pediatric dentist about the type of toothpaste that will be best for your child’s mouth.

As children get older and their mouths change, the tools and techniques for oral health will change too. A pediatric dentist helps parents navigate these changes through every age and stage.

3. Milk teeth impact the development of permanent teeth.

When a baby tooth falls out early, the permanent teeth, which exist below the gums, drift into the empty space. This can lead to crowding and crooked teeth once the adult teeth develop. Additionally, an infection and other oral health problems can prevent adult teeth from erupting and cause discoloration, staining, and malformations.

4. Bad habits can distort their shape and diminish their strength.

Before children can care for their own teeth, it’s the parent’s responsibility. This includes cleaning the baby’s mouth after every feeding. When milk remnants sit on the teeth and gums, they can lead to a problem called baby bottle tooth decay.

Using a pacifier too long and thumb sucking can also cause developmental issues such as buck teeth, protruding teeth, and an improper bite—issues that will likely require orthodontic treatment later on.

5. Baby teeth require professional dental care.

Dentists recommend that parents bring their children to the dentist by their first birthday or when their first tooth erupts (whichever comes first) and every six months after. These appointments enable the pediatric dentist to track your little one’s dental development to ensure his or her teeth are developing on time and in the right order.

During these appointments, parents will learn the useful tips for caring for their child’s teeth and gums as well as what symptoms could be a cause of concern. The pediatric dentist also looks for signs of decay, disease, and dental development issues and recommends the necessary treatments.

Learn More from Our Pediatric Dentist

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt and our team love helping parents and children understand the importance of all things related to oral health, including baby teeth. To learn more, or to schedule a first visit for your little one, call (913) 685-9990 today.

nervous young girl standing in front of green background

Bright colors. Toys and games in the waiting room. Smiling and happy team members. A gentle, kid-friendly dentist. All of these should add up to a comfortable and fun dental experience for a child. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

Dental fear and anxiety are real issues for children (and adults). While most adults can attribute theirs to a bad dental experience, children often can’t. Most of the time, children fear what they don’t know, or they’ve heard horror stories from the adults in their lives.

If your little one is preparing for his first visit to the dentist and is feeling a little anxious, check out these five tips to help him overcome his dental fear.

1. Tell a story about a positive experience you’ve had at the dentist.

Many children fear the dentist because of stories they’ve heard from friends and family members. Change the narrative by sharing a story about a good experience you’ve had at the dentist.

This could be something as simple as dental cleaning and exam appointment that went smoothly. Tell the story in a kid-friendly way. If sharing a story about another dental procedure, try to leave out specific details that might scare your little one.

2. Play dentist at home.

Rather than playing house, school, or doctor, offer to play dentist! This will ensure her first dental experience is a good one. All you need is a comfy chair and a toothbrush. Have your little one lean back so you can brush or count her teeth, then have her do the same for you.

3. Watch a TV show or read a book about a kid who visits the dentist.

SpongeBob, Dora, Arthur, and Peppa Pig all have TV shows about visiting the dentist. This provides an idea of what a dentist’s office looks and sounds like. In many of these episodes, the character feels afraid of the dentist, then realizes it isn’t scary after all. We hope this is true for your child, too!

4. Have her pick out a comfort item to bring to her appointment.

Does she have a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or toy? Be sure to bring it to the appointment! we want all our patients to feel as safe and comfortable as possible; sometimes that means bringing an item from home to help ease any anxiety, and that’s more than okay.

5. Choose the right pediatric dentist.

One of the most important aspects of a good dental experience is choosing the right dentist for your child. this may require some research on your behalf, but it will definitely be worth it!

Not all pediatric dentists are equal, and we know you want the best for your little one. When searching for a pediatric dentist, look for these qualities:

  • Experience
  • A passion for helping children achieve optimal oral health
  • Excellent patient reviews
  • An up-to-date, detailed, and fun website
  • A priority of patient comfort

We’re sure that a dentist with these qualities won’t let you or your child down.

Eliminating Dental Fear in Overland Park

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt and the rest of our team prioritize the patient experience and providing excellent dental care so that dental fear is never an issue.

Here’s a review from one of our most recent patients:

“Our kids had been to many dentist office and it was always a scary experience for them (yes even pediatric ones). We found Smiles from a friend and we LOVE them! They’re so amazing with kids, and scared adults when our kiddos needed some work done. Quick schedule dates and they follow up after every appointment with hand written cards to the kids in the mail-my kids love getting their own mail. They just truly care.”

Malarie C.

Contact our office today at (913) 685-9990 to schedule a first visit for your child.

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