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.

Little boy flossing teeth in bathroom mirror

Brushing and flossing are two of the first things we teach our children about hygiene. Parents begin this process as soon as their child’s first tooth emerges, and children learn by watching their parents care for their own teeth. Though brushing and flossing for adults are simple and sensible, children don’t always view them the same way.

The first step to helping children understand why oral hygiene is important is to explain why we do it. Of course, we know that brushing and flossing are two of the best defenses against tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease. Tell that to your little one and he or she may not understand.

Find a way to describe the process that’s fun for your child. Describe the plaque in their mouth as the “bad guys” and the toothbrush and floss as the “good guys” and create a fun story for them to be a part of.

Continue reading for more helpful brushing and flossing tips from our children’s dentist!

Proper Techniques

It’s not enough for someone to just have a toothbrush or floss in their mouth two times a day; these tools must be used properly. Be sure to use the following guidelines when teaching your child how to brush and floss.


To encourage brushing, we recommend allowing your child to pick out their toothbrush and toothpaste at the store. Just be sure to ask your dentist about the best toothpaste for your little one! Once he or she has the tools picked out, follow this technique:

  • Place a pea-sized dollop of fluoride toothpaste on the toothbrush
  • Brush the top, front, and back sides of each tooth in small circles
  • Don’t forget the tongue and roof!
  • Spit and rinse

Check out this video for a kid-friendly way to explain this technique!


There are two types of floss: traditional and dental floss picks. For children, dental floss picks may be easier in the beginning, but we encourage parents to teach their children how to use traditional floss as it is more effective.

Here are the proper techniques for both types of floss.


  • Take about 18 inches of string
  • Wrap most of it around one finger (we recommend the pointer)
  • Wind the rest around the opposite finger—not too tightly!
  • Bring the floss up one side of a tooth and down the other
  • Be sure to reach all the way down to the gum lines
  • After cleaning each tooth, unwind the floss from one finger and collect it with the other

Floss picks:

  • Move the floss up and down the sides of each tooth, paying close attention to the gum line
  • Rinse the floss after cleaning each tooth
  • Replace the pick when the string looks worn

Make It Fun!

Many adults find oral hygiene to be boring and unnecessary. That’s why we aren’t surprised when parents tell us that their child refuses to practice good oral hygiene.

If that’s the case for you, try these three tips from our children’s dentist:

  1. Make it a family event. Invite your little one into the bathroom with you and other family members, put some music on, and make brushing and flossing a party!
  2. Use rewards. Create a brushing and flossing chart with stickers that show your child getting closer and closer to a reward. Once he or she reaches that mark, go for ice cream or to the store to pick out a toy—you know what your child likes best!
  3. Utilize technology. Sometimes a distraction is exactly what we need to get something done. Allow your little one to watch a video or listen to her favorite song while she brushes and flosses.

For More Brushing and Flossing Tips

Want to know more about your child’s oral health and hygiene? Call our friendly dental team today at (913) 685-9990 to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Matt.

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