Frequently Asked Questions

What age should I bring my child in for their first checkup?
We recommend a child’s first visit to the dentist be as soon as he or she gets their first tooth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child be seen by 6 months after his or her first tooth erupts, or by one year old, whichever comes first.

Why are baby teeth important?
Primary (baby) teeth serve a very important purpose. They are important for chewing food, speaking, and appearance, but they are also critical for holding the space and guiding developing permanent teeth into the correct position.

Can you tell me about fluoride?
Fluoride has been shown in multiple studies to dramatically decrease a person's chances of getting cavities by making teeth stronger. It occurs naturally in water and many different foods. We can help you determine if your child is getting adequate amounts of fluoride in their system.

What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?
We recommend a small toothbrush with very soft bristles, designed especially for infants. Even an infant’s teeth should be brushed at least once a day, at bedtime.

Does my child need sealants?
Sealants are a clear or tooth colored plastic material applied to the deep grooves and pits of teeth to block plaque and food particles from collecting, causing potential cavities. Talk to us about whether your child is a good candidate for sealants.

Is it a problem if my child is a thumb sucker or uses a pacifier?
Thumb and pacifier habits generally only cause a problem if they go on for a long period of time. Most children will stop on their own, but it becomes a problem if the habit is still ongoing as the permanent teeth appear, as it will potentially create crowded, crooked teeth, or bite problems.

What causes cavities, and how can I help my child avoid them?
Cavities are the result of bacteria in our mouths that come into contact with sugary foods in our diets. Acid is produced, attacks the enamel, and tiny holes are formed in the teeth called cavities.

Brushing and flossing twice daily, regular dental checkups, a proper balanced diet (limit sugary drinks and snacking between meals), and fluoride treatments are all integral components to cavity prevention.

What is “laughing gas” or nitrous oxide?
Nitrous oxide (commonly called “laughing gas”) is an extremely safe and effective method used to calm a child’s anxiety during dental visits. It is a mix of two gases: oxygen and nitrous oxide. It is inhaled through the nose, and after a few minutes, the child experiences a sense of calm relaxation. Your child remains awake, and after the procedure is over, nitrous leaves the body quickly after breathing 100% oxygen.

What is laser dentistry?
We are excited to announce our brand new Lightwalker hard and soft tissue dental laser at the office! We are the first and only pediatric dentist in the surrounding Portland area to offer this as a treatment option.

The Lightwalker laser allows us to gently clean out most cavities without shots or drills and has completely revolutionized dental care. Lasers use energized water and light to safely perform a number of dental procedures. Our unit sprays atomized water combined with activated light energy to remove decayed tooth structure and diseased gum tissue without heat or vibration. The laser can cut tooth structure more conservatively than traditional dental drills. It can also relieve tongue-tied conditions in children with minimum anesthesia, no sutures, and no bleeding.