little girl flossing on blue background

Oral hygiene begins way before your child can brush his or her own teeth, and it’s more than just toothbrushing. Thankfully, there are steps you can take now and as your child grows to help him or her achieve and maintain optimal oral health. 

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS, we are ready to help you and your little one achieve that goal through routine check-ups, dental cleanings, and other oral health treatments. Give Dr. Matt and his dedicated team a call at (913) 685-9990 now!

Beginning at a young age, you can teach your little one numerous habits that will help them maintain good oral health and hygiene and understand the importance of it. 

1. Make healthy snacks

Instead of sugary treats or drinks, smoothies, and healthy snacks are a great way to encourage good oral health. Think green! You can use healthy ingredients, like:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Avocado
  • Green apples
  • Celery

Use these ingredients in smoothies and salads, pair them with peanut butter or yogurt, or bake them in the oven to create a delicious snack that your child will love. 

These ingredients contain numerous essential nutrients, like vitamins K and C. Both are important for pediatric dental health, as vitamin K helps strengthen teeth while vitamin C keeps gums healthy and vibrant.

2. Offer plenty of water

Water is essential for washing away food debris and bacteria from the mouth. But, kids aren’t exactly thrilled to drink water. 

So, liven things up a bit by adding a couple of drops of food coloring to their water! Alternatively, you can add sugar-free flavor packets (like lime or green apple!) to your kiddo’s water for tasty, healthy hydration.

3. Let them pick their own toothbrush

Dentists recommend swapping out toothbrushes every three to four months. If your child is due for a replacement toothbrush, then try replacing it with one of their choosing! Choosing a movie-themed or character-themed brush will make oral hygiene much more fun and exciting.  

4. Read dental-themed books

There are several children’s books available that teach kids about the importance of dental care. Look for books like “The Tooth Book” by Dr. Seuss or “Brush Your Teeth, Please” by Leslie McGuire.

5. Make dental-care crafts together

Making crafts together is a great way to teach your kids about the importance of dental care while also having tons of fun! You can try making toothbrush holders, tooth fairy boxes, or other art projects that get your little one excited about oral hygiene and pediatric dentistry.

6. Visit a pediatric dentist regularly

Building a relationship with a pediatric dentist is beneficial for both you and your child. You will feel more comfortable asking questions, and your child will feel more and more comfortable after each visit. A pediatric dentist will keep track of your child’s oral health and dental development, so they can spot or predict any oral health issues early on. 

Schedule a dental check-up today!

Ready to put your child on the road to oral health success? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Matt online here, or by calling our Overland Park children’s dental office at (913) 685-9990 today!

Dr Matt and his team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids are excited to welcome Dr Tara Craven to the Smiles Dentistry for Kids team! Dr Tara received her Doctor of Dentistry Degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry and will complete her rigorous 2-year training program in Pediatric Dentistry at Children’s Mercy Hospital this June. During her training Dr. Tara received numerous awards and was part of the Pediatric Dental Honors Program where she cared for pediatric patients with special needs and those requiring advanced care. At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, families can always expect to be seen by a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist.

We are confident that Dr. Tara will provide the highest quality care and attention that our families have grown to expect and appreciate at Smiles Dentistry for Kids. Dr. Craven will begin seeing patients in August, 2023. To help our patients get to know her better we asked Dr. Tara a few questions:

Why did you choose to specialize in Pediatric Dentistry?
Pediatric dentistry is my dream job and an incredible avenue that allows me to connect with kids and families. Children not only bring excitement to the field of dentistry, they bring magic, hope and adventure. I feel honored to get the opportunity to not only provide education and knowledge about dentistry but to empower kids to enjoy brushing their teeth and coming to the dentist.

What are you looking forward to most as you start caring for families at Smiles Dentistry for Kids?
I am so excited to be able to serve this community and build relationships with kids and their families. I am passionate about providing a positive dental experience for kids that will last a lifetime.

Anything else you would like our families to know about you?
Outside of pediatric dentistry, I love spending time outdoors with my husband and Labrador, traveling to new places and spending time with friends and family.

Little child flashes their baby teeth with a bright smile

Cavities, or tooth decay, can occur in baby teeth as soon as they start coming in. In fact, cavities are one of the most common childhood diseases. So, it is important to take steps to prevent them with a trusted children’s dentist in Overland Park, KS.

Are you noticing yellow, brown, or white spots on your child’s teeth? If so, then it may be the first sign that a cavity is forming. Bite back and stop cavities in their tracks with Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids. Simply call our pediatric dental office in Overland Park, KS, at (913) 685-9990 to get started!

Baby teeth (also called milk or primary teeth) are crucial for your child’s oral and developmental health. Indeed, primary teeth help kiddos learn how to speak and chew while maintaining space for their permanent teeth to come in. Here are some tips on how to fight cavities on baby teeth.

Start Dental Visits Early

The American Dental Association recommends that children see a dentist by their first birthday or within six months of the first tooth appearing. Regular dental check-ups can help catch cavities early and prevent them from getting worse.

Early dental visits also ensure that your child picks up healthy oral hygiene habits early in their development. Not only that, but it demonstrates to your little one that dentists are friendly, gentle, and can be trusted. This can help reduce dental anxiety (as well as cavities!) as they continue to grow.

Brush At Least Twice a Day

The moment your baby’s first tooth appears, it’s time to start brushing twice a day. Use a small amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush

You can use a smear of toothpaste for children under age three, and a pea-sized amount for children ages three to six. Be sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth, including the fronts, backs, and tops.

Floss Every Day

As soon as two teeth touch each other, it’s time to start flossing at least once every day.

Flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Use a soft floss or floss pick and gently guide it between the teeth.

Limit Sugar

Kids love sugar! But so do cavity-causing bacteria. So, it is wise to limit the amount of sugar your little one ingests.

For healthier baby teeth, we recommend giving your kiddo:

  • Fruit or fruit-based snacks (like fruit leather)
  • Vegetables (the roughage is great for gently scraping plaque from teeth!)
  • Water instead of juices

Don’t Put Baby to Bed With a Bottle

Prolonged exposure to sugary liquids (like formula, juice, or milk) can lead to tooth decay. If your baby needs a bottle to fall asleep, fill it with water instead.

Lead by Example

Our kids are watching our every move. So, if they see you conducting daily oral hygiene, then they will learn the importance of oral health and hygiene early

You can encourage better oral hygiene by making brushing and flossing more fun with:

  • Music 
  • Games
  • Fun toothbrushes
  • Yummy toothpaste flavors
  • Small rewards

Schedule a Dental Check-up for Baby Teeth

When it comes to fighting cavities on baby teeth, prevention is key. So, don’t wait – schedule a routine dental check-up for your child with Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids today! Parents can reach our Overland Park pediatric dentist at (913) 685-9990 or online here for scheduling.

portrait of african american boy on blue background

If you’re a new parent, you will eventually have to choose a dentist for your little one. Are there differences between regular dentists and pediatric dentists? The answer to that question is a definite yes! Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids can help you understand why.

First Things First

Baby teeth begin to grow in a child’s mouth within the first six months of life. By 6 or 7 years old, a child loses her baby teeth and begins to grow her permanent set. Without proper dental care, decay and disease developed during a child’s early years can last a lifetime.

Ok, but what exactly is a pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentists devote their practice to pediatric oral health, from infancy all the way through the teen years. They are experienced and are qualified to care for a little one’s teeth and gums throughout those years.

Interesting. Do pediatric dentists have special training and qualifications?

Yes! Dental training requires four years of education and experience in a clinical setting. Candidates have to earn a bachelor’s degree, graduate from dental school, and then pass certification exams to become a licensed dentist. Additionally, pediatric dentists must complete two extra years of speciality training for:

  • Infants
  • Children
  • Teenagers
  • Special needs children

What kind of treatments do pediatric dentists provide?

Tons! They include but are not limited to:

  • Oral examinations, which includes risk assessment for caries
  • Preventive care, which includes cleanings as well as dietary and nutritional recommendations
  • Help with habit-breaking such as pacifier or thumb sucking
  • Early discovery of the need for corrective orthodontics, for dental alignment and/or bite correction
  • Treatment of cavities and other defects
  • Management of gum disease and conditions including ulcers, mucoceles, and pediatric periodontal disease
  • Emergency care for damaged or knocked-out teeth

I love my little one, but he can be a handful. Are pediatric dentists trained for tikes like mine?

Yes. Pediatric dentists know that most children are not always calm and cooperative during dental visits. Pediatric dentists know how to conduct a dental examination in ways that make children feel comfortable.

Additionally, the equipment in a pediatric dentist’s office is arranged and the office is decorated with children in mind.

Is there anything I can do to prepare my child for his first visit?

Indeed there is. This checklist should prove helpful:

  • Answer your child’s questions positively and avoid using scary words. The vast majority of first visits do not include any painful procedures, so avoid using words like “hurt.”
  • Give the child some control over the visit. Letting him decide which of his favorite toys to bring along, for example, may help.
  • Once you’re at the office, let your dentist have the stage. This will allow him to connect and build a relationship with your child. (Remember there will be plenty of time to ask questions after the examination.)

Do I, as a parent, have a role to play in my child’s ongoing oral health?

Yes. In fact a parent or caregiver plays the most important role in a child’s ongoing dental care. Ask questions to make sure you understand the dentist’s recommendations. This includes discussing topics like cavity prevention, treatment and when the use of anesthesia may be recommended.

Dr. Matt and our team are ready to help you and your little one with every step of his oral care. Call our Overland Park, KS, office at (913) 685-9990 or schedule an appointment online 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.

baby boy drinking water from a green cup

When it comes to staying hydrated and healthy, water is the best option. Juice, soda, tea, milk, and sports drinks all have benefits (well, maybe not soda), but they also have several negative effects. For example, children who drink milk right before bedtime are much more likely to develop cavities than children who drink water at nighttime. Sports drinks, sodas, and juices are also filled with sugars that interrupt the health of the oral microbiome.

While it may take some convincing, it’s worth it to get your little one to drink more water! Here are the benefits of water for oral health:

1. Water can strengthen dental enamel.

Since 1945, fluoride has been added to public water systems. Fluoridated water has proven itself as one of the best defenses against childhood tooth decay. When children drink water that contains fluoride, it mixes with saliva and remineralizes and strengthens dental enamel, lessening their chances of developing cavities.

If your child is drinking mostly bottled water, he probably isn’t experiencing these benefits! Be sure to find a bottled water that contains fluoride to reduce your child’s risk of tooth decay.

2. Water cleans the mouth.

Unlike sugary drinks, water rids the mouth of food particles and cavity-causing bacteria without leaving anything behind. Sports drinks, soda, juice, and even milk leave unwanted sugar and acids lingering on the teeth and gums that can cause cavities.

Water also removes stains that could cause your child’s teeth to become dull or yellow. Sugary, dark-colored drinks are one of the most common teeth-staining agents.

3. Water helps the mouth produce more saliva.

Did you know that saliva actually plays a very significant role in your child’s oral health? More concerning than your little one producing too much saliva is when he or she isn’t producing enough!

Saliva helps us break down and digest food properly and keeps us from experiencing dry mouth (which can be extremely uncomfortable!). The more water your little one drinks, the better she will digest food and avoid dry mouth.

Check out this blog to learn how to help your little one if he or she is experiencing dry mouth.

4. Water doesn’t contain any sugar.

Children over two years of age and older should consume no more than 25 grams of sugar per day. Just one apple juice box can contain 23 grams of sugar!

Not only does sugar contribute to cavities, but it also contributes to childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes. By simply avoiding these drinks, your child’s oral and overall health could dramatically improve.

If you want to “spice up” your little one’s water to make it more appealing, try adding fruit, such as strawberries and blueberries to give it a little more flavor. Some parents add a small amount of juice to their child’s water too.

For more tips to improve your child’s oral health…

Contact our friendly dental team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park! Dr. Matt and his team of hygienists are passionate about helping children avoid childhood tooth decay. That’s why we offer preventive dentistry methods that are safe and effective and focus on educating our patients and their parents in easy-to-understand language.

Join our family! Call (913) 685-9990 to schedule your child’s first visit.

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, it’s our privilege to serve the Overland Park community by providing kid-friendly, compassionate, and excellent dental care. If you’re new to the area or are just searching for a new pediatric dentist, we would love to meet with you! Until then, check out this blog to learn more about our dental practice.

But first, let us introduce you to our pediatric dentist!

Dr. Matt

Running his own pediatric dental practice has always been Dr. Matt’s dream. In doing so, he is able to teach kids and their families about the dangers of tooth decay and how to avoid it in a fun, non-clinical environment.

Dr. Matt’s education at the UMKC School of Dentistry and the Pediatric Dentistry at Northwestern University has prepared him to be an incredible resource for parents. The countless hours of hands-on experience he received at Children’s Memorial Hospital has equipped him to provide excellent care to children and teens.

All of this combined with his passion for working with children, flexibility, and high energy, make him the best choice for children’s dentistry in Overland Park.

Dr. Matt has worked hard to create an office where our patients and their parents feel welcome and cared for. Part of this is ensuring that we consistently create enjoyable experiences.

At our pediatric dentist office, here’s what you can always expect:

Personalized Care

We recognize that every child is unique which means that every child requires unique care. At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, that’s what they get!

Our team gets to know you and your little one so that he or she can have the best dental experience possible. Does your child have a favorite TV show or book character? Is he more shy or outgoing? Does she play a certain sport? We take these into consideration before every single appointment! Knowing more about our patients makes the entire dental experience better for all parties involved.

No Surprises

Dental insurance can be complicated, but our administrative team works diligently to ensure you’re never surprised by unexpected expenses. We have a comprehensive understanding of your benefits and will communicate those effectively, so you always know what to expect.

Additionally, we strive to be consistent in every area of our practice because we know that familiarity brings comfort.


Every patient deserves to receive diligent care from focused dental professionals. This way, we never miss an oral health care problem that needs to be addressed or an opportunity to teach your little one how to care for his teeth properly (that is our job after all!).


Consistency is so important for children because it helps dissolve worrisome feelings. Dr. Matt understands that being a consistent figure in your child’s life will make sure going to the dentist is never a cause for fear or anxiety. This means, your child will always meet with Dr. Matt and no one else for every single appointment.

This isn’t just beneficial for our patients; Dr. Matt loves building relationships with his patients. He is just as excited about dentistry as he is about working with children, so every appointment is his dream come true!

Schedule an Initial Consultation

When you and your little one are ready, we’re here for you. Call (913) 685-9990 to schedule your child’s first visit.

laughing little boy

Choosing a pediatric dentist for your little one is an important and meaningful task. As a parent, we know that you desire for your child to grow up to be happy, healthy, and successful. Though we may have different definitions of those words, we can all agree that good oral hygiene affects each of those areas. After all, healthy, beautiful teeth certainly encourage smiling, improve confidence, and have a positive impact on overall health.

So, what’s the first step in helping your child achieve good oral hygiene? We believe the answer is finding the right kid’s dentist! Aside from asking for recommendations from friends and family, we recommend using the internet and your research skills to find the best “kid’s dentist near me.”

In this blog, we’ll explain exactly what to look for and where to find it!

1. Experience

The saying “experience is the best teacher” is a saying for a reason—it’s true! It’s the reason we ask for references when we hire a handyman or babysitter. We want to know that the person is good at what they do and that they have had enough experience to perfect their craft.

When searching for a “kid’s dentist near me” to care for your little one, experience is a must. Pediatric dentists are trained to know how your child’s mouth should be developing but experience helps them know what to do when it’s not. Experience is especially helpful when learning how to handle children’s behavior in the dentist’s chair.

Where to find it: You should find information about a dentist’s experience on his website under the “About the Dentist/Doctor” tab. You can read about our pediatric dentist, Dr. Matt, here.

2. Good communication skills

A pediatric dentist should know how to communicate well with both children and adults. It is their responsibility to teach toddlers, adolescents, teens, and their parents about proper oral hygiene habits and routines.

Where to find it: The best way to learn if a dentist has good communication skills is to visit the office in person. However, we know that’s not always possible. The next best thing is to read patient reviews on Google. You can find ours here!

3. Passion

There’s nothing worse than dealing with a person who doesn’t love his or her job. Not only are they miserable, but they bring everyone around them down too. We see this in every profession, and pediatric dentists are no exception.

Patients can easily tell if their dentist is passionate about what he does. It shows in his countenance, office environment, and even on his website! Find the “kids’ dentist near me” that seems to give his all in every area of his practice.

Where to find it: Visit the dentist’s website, watch any informational videos, and read through the reviews for details about the dentist.

4. A welcoming presence

Children are often nervous or scared when they visit the dentist for the first time. A great pediatric dentist will make every patient (and their parents) feel as comfortable as possible during their visit. This includes making sure every team member is friendly and warm as soon as patients walk through the door.

Where to find it: We recommend an old-fashioned, in-person visit for this one! Of course, online reviews are helpful too.

Our Kid’s Dentist Near You

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, we always look forward to welcoming new patients into our family! We do our best to provide a warm, fun, and safe environment for children of all ages. We know you’ll find all these qualities and more at our Overland Park office.

Call (913) 685-9990 today to schedule an initial consultation for your little one.

kid dressed as superhero

We all desire for our children to grow up happy and healthy, and their mouths have so much to do with that! When a child or teen has a healthy, beautiful smile, they feel more confident and capable to do things that they may otherwise shy away from.

The key to helping your child create good oral hygiene habits is choosing a kids’ dentist (also called a pediatric dentist) that they love. Finding a great dentist for your child could be the difference between creating a positive, healthy view of oral hygiene and a negative, fearful one.

To find a great pediatric dentist, you must know what you’re looking for. When you ask friends or family members for recommendations, or when you search Google, be sure to choose a “kids’ dentist near me” with these five qualities:

1. Experience

Pediatric dentists are specialists. This means that a large part of their education was centered around working with children and learning how their mouths develop. It’s important to choose a kids’ dentist that knows and understands exactly what should be happening and when as it pertains to your child’s teeth.

Pediatric dentists also have years of experience in handling children of all ages (and attitudes). In fact, it’s what they sign up for! Choose a kids’ dentist so you know he won’t be surprised by anything your child throws at him (literally and figuratively).

2. A desire to educate

Kids’ dentists have a huge responsibility—teaching toddlers, adolescents, teens, and their parents the most effective oral hygiene habits. Your child’s dentist should be enthusiastic about teaching you and your child how to brush and floss properly. He should also do so in a way that’s easy for kids and adults to understand.

A pediatric dentist will be eager to answer any questions you have about your child’s oral health. After all, you two are working together to achieve the same goal!

3. A passion for children

Did you ever have a teacher in grade school that seemed to dislike his students? Unfortunately, that doesn’t just happen in the education field—it can happen in dentistry too. Make sure the kids’ dentist you choose actually enjoys children.

You’ll should be able to tell pretty quickly how much the dentist enjoys children by the office environment, the attention he gives your child, and his overall countenance. Truly, it’s not hard to tell when someone doesn’t enjoy their job. Just don’t let it affect you! Move on to the next pediatric dentist until you find one who cares about your child’s oral health as much as you do.

4. Knowledge of children

In addition to knowing how children’s teeth work, pediatric dentists must understand how children are wired in order to work with them. Your child’s dentist should know how to keep your child’s attention, distract him from uncomfortable moments, and help him relax in fun ways.

5. A friendly spirit

Taking your child to the dentist for the first time can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. A great pediatric dentist will ensure you and your child feel welcome and valued during the first visit and each time after by doing the following:

  • Getting to know you
  • Getting to know your child
  • Providing a comfortable, fun environment
  • Offering a tour
  • Having a kind, welcoming dental team

Our Kids’ Dentist

Looking for a kids’ dentist in Overland Park? Look no further! Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids has all of these qualities and more. Our desire is to create a fun, comfortable environment for kids of all ages to enjoy.

To meet with our friendly and experienced pediatric dentist, call (913) 685-9990 today.

little girl brushing teeth

Dental care for infants and children can seem overwhelming but having a knowledgeable and helpful pediatric dentist on your team can make everything much simpler! A great pediatric dentist is passionate about three things: dental care, children, and patient education. This trifecta ensures that the dentist you choose will care for your little one’s oral development just as much as you do AND have the tools to teach you everything you need to know.

Our pediatric dentist, Dr. Matt, certainly meets the standard of a great pediatric dentist. For this reason, he is the go-to guy for so many parents in the Overland Park area.

Here are some of the most frequent questions he receives from concerned and caring parents every day:

1. How do I best clean my baby’s teeth?

Your baby’s teeth should be cleaned as soon as they erupt. Simply use a clean, damp washcloth, finger brush, or gauze pad to wipe the top, front, and back of the new teeth and the tip of the tongue. This should be done after meals and at bedtime.

You may also use a pediatric-dentist-approved baby toothbrush with a rice-grain-sized amount of toothpaste. These toothbrushes are extremely soft and have no more than three rows of bristles. Toothbrushes or finger brushes that are more than two months old should be thrown out and replaced.

2. How old should my baby be before I introduce her to fluoride toothpaste?

As soon as the first tooth emerges! Dentists used to recommend waiting until age two, but new discoveries have changed that fact. As stated in question one, you’ll only use a rice-grain-sized smear of toothpaste until your baby reaches three years of age.

3. How do I keep my kid’s teeth healthy?

For children above age three, follow these guidelines:

  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste in the morning and evening
  • Floss daily
  • Reduce sugar in their diet
  • Drink lots of water
  • Visit a pediatric dentist regularly

To receive more detailed oral health tips, visit a pediatric dentist who can evaluate your child’s mouth and determine his specific oral health needs.

4. What should I do if my child has a toothache?

If your child is complaining about tooth pain, first rinse the area with warm saltwater. Then, place a cold compress on the side of the face where the pain is (especially if it’s swollen). If necessary, give him or her children’s pain medication. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the bottle. Finally, contact your pediatric dentist.

If your child is experiencing a fever, bleeding, or other concerning symptoms along with the toothache, contact your pediatric dentist immediately for an emergency visit.

5. How are thumb sucking and pacifier habits harmful?

Fortunately, most children stop these habits on their own so they don’t pose any problems. However, if your child still sucks his thumb or uses a pacifier past age three, you may need the help of a pediatric dentist to avoid oral development problems such as:

  • Misalignment
  • Overbite or underbite
  • A lisp
  • Sensitivity or changes to the roof of their mouth

6. At what age should a child brush their own teeth?

Most children learn to brush their teeth around age six. However, as the parent, you know your child best! It’s never too early to begin teaching your child to brush his own teeth. Just remember to oversee and assist him until you’re confident he’s doing it correctly.

7. When should my child receive their first dental exam?

At least six months after their first tooth emerges. The pediatric dentist will check to make sure everything is developing properly and give you tips on how to care for your child’s mouth.

8. What should I expect on our first visit?

Your child’s first visit to the dentist usually lasts between 20 and 40 minutes. It will be very laidback and simple. Not every dentist is the same, but here’s what our first-time patient experience includes:

  • Office tour
  • Meeting the dentist and team members
  • Reviewing your child’s dental and medical history
  • Discussion about healthy teeth and jaw development
  • Review of your oral healthcare routine
  • An oral exam
  • A conversation about your child’s oral health needs

If appropriate, the pediatric dentist may suggest a dental cleaning.

9. How frequently should a baby see the dentist?

Infants, toddlers, adolescents, and adults should all visit the dentist every six months. This is the best way to prevent cavities and other dental problems.

In some cases, your pediatric dentist may recommend more frequent visits.

10. What’s the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

Pediatric dentists are to dentistry what pediatricians are to medicine. Pediatric dentists complete two to three years of specialty training that makes them experts on children’s oral health development. Family dentists treat patients of all ages, including children, but without the same training.

To meet with our pediatric dentist for specific advice about your child’s mouth, call (913) 685-9990 today.

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