Kid's World - Questions and Answers


Should my child see a pediatric dentist? And if so, when?

The AAPD recommends a first visit within 6 months of the appearance of their first tooth eruption—definitely no later than 1 year old.

How often should I schedule appointments?

Schedule a dental check-up twice a year for most kids. If we notice a high risk of tooth decay, unusual growth patterns, poor oral hygiene we’ll suggest an alternative appointment schedule.

Do I need to prepare my child for dental visits?

Start by having your child "meet" us here on the Capistrano Dental web site. Show them the photos of our child friendly office.

Tell them they will get to visit and play with us.

You don’t have to try to tell them what we are going to do—we will handle that. We explain to kids what we are going to do and what it will feel like, but in terms that they really understand.

What happens at a typical appointment?

After reviewing your child's medical and dental history, our pediatric dentist will carefully and gently examine your child's teeth, oral tissues, and jaw. We will professionally clean the teeth to remove plaque and debris on the teeth that can bother the gums and cause decay. We will explain to you and your child the most important oral health care information using easy-to-understand words, pictures, and concepts.

Most children leave their visits highly motivated to brush, floss and take responsibility for their oral health!

I’d like to come into the treatment room with my child. Is that okay?

You are welcome to accompany your child to the treatment area, but our experience shows that children generally do better without a parent in the treatment room. Often, the presence of a parent distracts the child and adds to their nervousness. Treating your child in the calmest and safest way is our goal, and the Capistrano Dental staff knows how to treat children in a compassionate, informative and fun way.

Will you take dental X-rays?

We usually recommend the first set of X-rays at age 3, based on AAPD guidelines. We take check up x-rays as needed, including annual bitewing x-rays in most cases. Bitewing x-rays help diagnose cavities not visible between teeth. After your child naturally loses a baby tooth, we take a panoramic x-ray to evaluate overall growth and development. Rest assured that our digital X-ray equipment limits unnecessary radiation exposure. Digital X-rays generate 50-85% less radiation than traditional X-ray machines.

What are fillings?

A filling is a dental application of any AADP-approved substance to fill a prepared cavity in a tooth. Your child may need a filling because of decay, cracked or broken teeth, or teeth that are worn from unusual use, including nail-biting, tooth grinding, etc.

Do you fill baby teeth? Why if they’re going to fall out anyway?

It’s important! And here’s why: Kids need their teeth to chew and smile. Decayed teeth can lead to pain, possible infection, and chewing problems that can cause poor nutrition. It can affect a child’s self-esteem, too, especially if they get teased for discolored teeth or bad breath. Finally, if decayed baby teeth have to be removed before the adult teeth grow in, teeth can shift, causing orthodontic problems to develop over time.

My child’s teeth are discolored. Can I have them bleached?

Maybe. We’ll conduct a thorough examination to determine the best answer. In cases of extremely discolored teeth that result in a negative self-image, bleaching may be helpful. We generally recommend waiting until all the permanent teeth erupt and no baby teeth are present.

If my child needs an anesthetic, what will you use?

In general, we sometimes use a combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide (laughing gas), inhaled through the nose using a small breathing mask. This calms the child and allows them to relax and respond dental care with little or no fear. It is safe and non-addictive, plus your child remains awake, alert and able to respond to commands. Following the dental procedure, the nitrous oxide can be quickly eliminated from your child's system by breathing additional oxygen. Your child will leave their appointment without any residual drowsiness or side effects.

Do you use "conscious sedation"? What is that?

This alternative to nitrous oxide minimizes pain and discomfort through oral or nasal medication. You child is awake and able to communicate throughout the procedure. Conscious sedation is often followed by a brief period of amnesia. It will most likely erase your child’s memory of the procedure, which makes it an effective tool for pediatric dentistry. Conscious sedation requires no eating or drinking prior to the appointment.

Give your child the advantage of better oral health by making an appointment with Capistrano Dental. Healthy teeth and gums help your child develop self-confidence, speak clearly, chew easily, do better in school, aid the development of permanent teeth, and enjoy better overall health.