kids playing soccer

As parents, we love to see our children having fun and trying new things! There’s hardly anything sweeter than watching your child run around the bases during their first tee-ball game or run up and down the soccer field. Not only is it exciting for us to watch, it’s both fun and healthy for them. Sports help kids develop physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially.

Unfortunately, participation in athletics also comes with some risks to your child’s physical wellbeing—including their teeth. This shouldn’t stop you from allowing them to play! In this blog, Dr. Matt suggests practical ways to protect your child’s teeth during sporting events.

Tooth Injuries in Sports

Before we get to the “how,” let’s talk about why injury prevention is so important. Here are the most common types of tooth injuries in sports:

Knocked-out tooth

If your child loses a baby tooth during a sports game, it may seem like no big deal, but there could be serious consequences. The impact that made your child’s tooth fall out could also cause damage to the underlying nerves, tissue, or permanent tooth.

Cracked tooth

A cracked or fractured tooth could be a simple fix, but it can also lead to serious dental problems. You should take your child to the dentist immediately if he or she experiences these symptoms:

  • Sharp pain when biting
  • Tooth pain that comes and goes
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods

These symptoms arise because cracks and chips can expose the innermost part of the tooth. This requires immediate professional care.

Fractured Root

When the root of the tooth is cracked, it often spreads to the chewing surface of the tooth. This is usually not visible to the eye, and sometimes there aren’t any symptoms, until an infection develops. If this is the case, your child may need root canal therapy.


Here are two of the best ways to protect your child’s teeth during an athletic event:

Get a custom mouthguard

The American Dental Association reported that of the 5 million teeth that are knocked out each year, 13-39% of them are a result of sports-related injuries. Mouthguards can help lower that percentage because they are essential to protecting your child’s teeth, mouth, and jaw during contact sports.

Most children don’t want to wear mouthguards because they are uncomfortable. To combat this, your dentist can create a custom mouthguard that fits your child’s mouth perfectly.

Another reason to have a mouthguard made is to prevent concussions. According to Science Daily, a custom-made mouthguard reduces an athlete’s risk of concussion by half.

Put on a helmet

Helmets help absorb the brunt of any sort of impact to the head. As a result, wearing a helmet protects children from head, jaw, and teeth injuries.

Your kid is most likely wearing a helmet during football or baseball games, but make sure he is wearing a helmet during practice too. While practice may not be as intense as games, there are still many chances for your child to be injured.

Encourage your child to wear a helmet while skateboarding, skiing, or snowboarding as well.

While helmets will help protect your child’s head and teeth, they aren’t nearly as beneficial as mouthguards. It’s best to give your child both a mouthguard and helmet to ensure he is as safe as possible.


If your child does experience a dental injury, follow this protocol:

  • Call a pediatric dentist, like Dr. Matt, immediately
  • Place the tooth (whole or part) in a Ziplock bag with milk
  • Keep the milk and tooth cold
  • Bring to the dentist

Protect Your Child’s Teeth Every Day

Children’s teeth need to be protected and cared for every day through good oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and regular dental cleanings. Our pediatric dentist and dental team are passionate about helping your child achieve a healthy mouth because we love seeing happy children!  

Contact our friendly dental team today at 913-685-9990 to schedule your child’s cleaning and exam with Dr. Matt.

beautiful baby girl

There’s a popular quote from Theodore Roosevelt that says, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” This is especially true for medical professionals.

A pediatric dentist doesn’t become great by simply having a good education. A great pediatric dentist will make your child feel safe, cared for, and important. In doing so, your child is much more likely to look forward to visiting the dentist and taking care of their teeth at home.

The best pediatric dentist for your child will have these five characteristics:

1. A love for children

This may seem obvious, but if you ever had a teacher who seemed to dislike all of their students, you know why this isn’t such a silly quality to look for. As a student, you didn’t care if that teacher went to Harvard or had a doctorate, you probably just wanted out of that class.

The same is true for a pediatric dentist. He or she should love dentistry AND children in order to provide quality care and keep their little patients at ease.

When you meet with a pediatric dentist for the first time, watch how he or she interacts with your child, and don’t be afraid to ask questions like:

  • What made you choose pediatric dentistry?
  • What other experience do you have with children?
  • Do you have children of your own?
  • What do you love about your job?

2. A good education

Just as important as a love for children (or maybe a little more so) is the dentist’s education. Their website should give you information about there educational background.

If you can’t find it on the website, ask questions about their education during your first visit.

3. Knowledge of children

To work with children, pediatric dentists must understand how children are wired. A pediatric dentist should be able to keep your child’s attention, distract them from uncomfortable moments, and calm them in fun and friendly ways.

Obviously, your children’s dentist should also be an expert on children’s teeth—always looking for signs of common dental issues in children caused by thumb sucking, pacifier use, and teeth grinding.

As a parent, you should feel confident that your child’s dentist can answer all of your questions about your child’s oral health. If not, it may be time to start looking for another dentist.

4. A teaching spirit

A huge part of children’s dentistry is educating both children and adults on oral health and best oral health practices. Your pediatric dentist should be able to explain these things to you and your child in a way that is easy to understand and put into practice.

You should never feel like a burden to your dentist because you have questions. That’s exactly what they are for! Choose a pediatric dentist who is happy to listen to and answer any questions you may have about your child’s oral health needs.

5. An approachable countenance

Talking with someone in the medical field can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Your pediatric dentist should make you feel welcome the first time you meet and every time after that. You and your child should feel completely comfortable in his or her presence.

This relationship shouldn’t be one-sided; your pediatric dentist should make an effort to get to know you and your child as well.

A Great Pediatric Dentist in Overland Park, KS

Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids has a love for both children AND dentistry. We think he’s one of the best around!

Don’t just take our word for it, schedule an appointment for your child by contacting our friendly team today at (913) 685-9990.

Christmas stockings

Can you believe Christmas is right around the corner? If you’re a parent, one of the best things about Christmas is the look on your child’s face as he or she opens presents and discovers their stocking stuffer goodies. If you’re here, you are probably looking for some alternative ideas to candy and other typical stocking stuffers. We’ve got you covered!

Check out this list of great stocking stuffer ideas that make dental care for kids a priority and help your child look forward to their oral hygiene routine.

1. A toothbrush

What better time to get your child a super-fun toothbrush than Christmas? Whether your child likes Batman, My Little Pony, or something in between, you can find a toothbrush they will enjoy using every morning and evening. Toothbrushes that sing and electrical toothbrushes are great for helping kids effectively brush their teeth.

You can find the perfect toothbrush for your child on Amazon!

2. Tasty dental products

Bubblegum, fruity, and sweet-flavored toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash will be an exciting change for a child who isn’t a fan of minty dental products—just make sure they don’t swallow it!

When choosing a toothpaste or mouthwash for your child, keep these things in mind:

  • Choose products that contain fluoride
  • Look for the ADA Seal of Approval
  • If your child is under two, check with your dentist about which types of toothpaste to use
  • Children under six shouldn’t use mouthwash

3. Healthy snacks

We know you will probably throw some chocolate, sour candy, or hard candies into your child’s stocking, but you can add more variety with these delicious and nutritious treats:

  • Raisins
  • Nuts
  • Sugar-free gum

Maintain Healthy Smiles Year-Round

These stocking stuffers will not only bring joy to your children, they will also set them up for success when it comes to their oral (and overall!) health.  With their new toothbrush and toothpaste, teach them how to properly care for their teeth with a fun and effective oral hygiene routine.

This routine should include:

  • Brushing: Teach your child to brush for at least one minute in the morning or evening. He or she should use small circles to brush all sides of each tooth. If you bought your child a singing toothbrush, the song should end when your child should stop brushing! This is such a fun way to keep your child brushing. (Don’t forget to join in on the fun by brushing your teeth at the same time or singing along with the toothbrush!)
  • Flossing: Children should begin flossing as soon as their teeth fit close together (so, as young as two). This will probably require some help from you in the beginning. You can make flossing more fun by creating a story about the hero (the floss) who saves the teeth from the “plaque monster” that hide between teeth.
  • Mouthwash: For children over the age of six, now is the time to put that tasty mouthwash to use! Take part in this oral hygiene habit with your own mouthwash and make silly faces while you both swish the mouthwash around in your mouths. After one minute, have a silly-face contest to see who can make the other spit it out faster! Disclaimer: this can be messy, but it’s so worth it!

One of the most important parts of maintaining your child’s oral health is visiting the dentist every six months. After the busyness of the holidays is over, contact your pediatric dentist to schedule an appointment.

To visit our Overland Park children’s dentist, contact us today at (913) 685-9990.

mom and children

Kids are smart. The experience your children have at the dentist’s office today will affect how they feel about dentists for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, a lot of adults hate dentists – that’s a fact. They’re scared of us.

Our goal is to change that for future generations.

When you and your kids visit Dr. Matt, you’ll have fun. Yes, you’ll have fun at the dentist’s office!

Just because all pediatric dentists are educated on the intricacies of children’s dental care doesn’t mean that we’re all alike. If you’re looking for a great experience for your little ones, read this blog. You’ll learn 5 key questions to ask when interviewing a potential dentist for your children.

To find the best children’s dentist near you:

1. Check Google reviews.

By simply typing “children’s dentist near me Overland Park, KS” in Google, a list of pediatric dentists near you will appear. Each one should have Google Reviews, accessible from their website or their Google Map profile. Under the 3-4 dentists listed with the map, click See More. That will show you all the children’s dentists in the area.  

Read through the Google Reviews and make a list of the dental offices you are most interested in.

Google reviews like this one will lead you to the right dentist for your child:

“This was our first visit to Smiles Dentistry and they were truly fantastic! Check in was quick and we had very little wait before my kids were taken back. Everything was fast, professional, efficient and perfectly suited for my kids. This is not a dental factory but a place where your child will be known and treated by amazing dental assistants and by Dr. Matt.” -Kara Martin

2. Check out the website.

You may think all dental office websites look alike, but each one has specific info parents need to check out, like:

  • The dentist’s educational background
  • Services provided
  • Payment/financing/insurance info
  • Special offers for new patients

Dr. Matt offers free exams and cleanings for children under two years old. He is highly respected in the area as a pediatric dentist, and his education is outlined on our website. Dr. Matt and our team undergo continuing education each year as well, so we’re always learning new ways to bring you the best that pediatric dentistry has to offer.

3. Schedule an introductory visit.

You can tell a lot from a first impression. Though it takes some time, visiting the dentist’s office gives you a chance to meet the dentist in person, as well as the team, and you’ll experience the office environment firsthand.

Your child’s opinion of the dentist, team, and office mean a lot. If a child doesn’t like the dentist or office, you’ll have a tough time encouraging him or her to be positive about appointments.

A child’s first visit to the dentist should include:

  • A tour
  • Meeting the dentist
  • Meeting the team
  • A discussion of your child’s dental and medical history
  • A discussion about the development of your child’s teeth and jaw
  • Reviewing your home hygiene routine
  • A dental cleaning (if the child is age appropriate)
  • An oral exam
  • A discussion of the dentist’s findings and recommendations

First visits typically last between 20 and 40 minutes. Schedule your child’s first appointment with Dr. Matt here.

4. Get a feel for the dentist and team.

After the first visit, ask yourself these questions:

  • Did I feel welcome, respected, and did I have fun?
  • Was my child comfortable with the dentist and team?
  • Did I understand and appreciate the advice the dentist offered?
  • Was the dentist more interested in providing proactive treatments or reactive treatments?

Dr. Matt and our team work hard to create an environment that feels safe, inviting, and fun for children of all ages. Dr. Matt also prioritizes preventative care to help your child gain and maintain a healthy smile for years to come.

5. Pull the trigger.

In our opinion, the most important qualities a dentist can have is a great education, a love for kids and parents, and a welcoming, homey office environment. You should trust your dentist’s opinion and always feel that he or she has your child’s best interests in mind.

We believe our team at Smiles Dentistry 4 Kids is the best choice for a children’s dentist in Overland Park, KS. Contact us today to schedule your child’s first dental appointment.

We are excited to welcome Dr Tara Craven to the Smiles Dentistry for Kids team!Learn More