Frequently Asked Questions

We encourage your child to have an appointment with a board-certified pediatric dentist as soon as your child gets their first tooth. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Dental Association recommends that a child be seen within the first 6 months after their first tooth erupts or no later than 1 years old.

Water is life-sustaining and then some: staying properly hydrated helps our energy, digestion, concentration, immune system and more. It is also key to dental health, which some parents find surprising. Water helps wash away food particles that can cause tooth decay, prevents dry mouth and fluoridated water makes for strong teeth. 

Getting young children to drink good old-fashioned water can be a challenge. Sometimes the right water bottle can make all the difference. Some tips to get into the habit: 

  • Let your child choose a water bottle. Adding stickers of beloved cartoon characters can go a long way with young children.
  • Practice bringing a water bottle to school, parks, on walks, drives, etc. Pretty soon it becomes second nature to not leave home without one. 
  • Invest in several, so you can have a dirty/clean rotation.

Making water more appealing to children can help prevent dental and other health issues from developing later. Starting these healthy habits at a young age sets a pattern that will continue into healthier adult life.

We agree with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) and recommend your child receive a preventive dental checkup every six months. Regular exams enable your child’s dentist to avert or discover problems early and to tend to them before they progress into larger issues. Most dental problems can be prevented and managed when detected early.


One of our pediatric dentists will assess your child and create a recommended care plan based on their specific needs. During the comprehensive oral exam, the dentist will assess your child for signs of tooth decay or any other abnormalities or conditions.

To facilitate a positive first visit to the dentist, it must start at home. You can use our website to familiarize your child with our office. We often use first visits as an opportunity for relationship building and education. We discuss in detail how to take good care of your child’s teeth and gums. Daily brushing and flossing are key to preventing cavities.

You can expect your pediatric dentist to review your eating habits and make any necessary dietary adjustments if necessary. If you discuss your child’s eating habits with your dental team from an early age, you can get personalized feedback. This will assist you in developing healthy habits.

We allow your child to set the pace of their first visit and consider your age, comfort level and cooperation before undertaking any treatment. We use the show, tell, do method to explain each procedure in detail to your child in a way they can understand. Rest assured that we will treat your child as if they were our own.

Your first dental appointment provides an excellent opportunity for you to obtain answers to all your child’s oral health related questions. Please consider us your teammates when it comes to keeping your child’s teeth healthy.

You can help your child stick to a positive path of dental habits by creating the foundation for tooth-friendly habits at a young age. Based on your appointment, we will work with you and your child to develop an individualized preventive care plan.

X-rays show parts of teeth that cannot be seen with the naked eye during a complete oral examination. They are essential for diagnosing cavities, assessing the development of permanent teeth, diagnosing bone conditions, evaluating injuries and assessing orthodontic needs.

All of our x-rays are digital and produce less radiation than traditional film. Our x-ray machines are configured to ensure that your child receives as little radiation as possible.

According to the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the “standard of care” is to obtain bitewings (x-ray images of the posterior teeth) every 12 months.

We try to minimize your child’s exposure to radiation, but sometimes x-rays are needed to provide the best possible dental care. An oral examination will be carried out and, depending on your child’s individual needs, our experienced dentists will weigh the pros and cons and decide if x-rays are necessary.

Is fluoride safe for kids? Many parents are unsure if their child would benefit from a fluoride supplement. It is a well-known, evidence-based fact that fluoride, when used appropriately, is one of the most effective ways to reduce a child’s risk of experiencing dental cavities.

Drinking fluoridated water and brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste are the most effective and easiest ways early childhood cavities can be prevented.

Children who consume mostly well water or un-fluoridated city water may benefit from a fluoride prescription that can be obtained from your pediatric dentist. Other options would include store-bought mouth rinse or a prescribed fluoride gel for at-home use.

Children are especially susceptible to cavities, so don’t skip those six-month dental checkups. If you have concerns or questions about fluoride use, the best thing to do is ask! 

Is your water fluoridated?

Sealants are a white-colored coating placed over the biting surface of your kiddo’s permanent molars, reducing the risk of decay. Protecting your child’s teeth from the start with sealants can prevent the need for more invasive dental procedures in the future.

As with any dentist, general dentists are required to graduate from dental school and earn their state licenses. Studies have shown that the majority of general dentists do not receive any additional training pertaining to infant oral health. Their primary focus is on the treatment of adult teeth and health conditions.

Pediatric dentists are considered dental specialists. After dental school they are required to complete additional years of training including but not limited to specialized children’s surgical procedures, child psychology, behavior management, as well as sedation dentistry and children and adolescents’ pharmacology. A pediatric dentist is an expert in oral health issues relating to children and adolescents.

We see children each day with severe wear from teeth grinding. Most often, the child doesn’t even know they are doing it. It can be stress-related, from a nightmare, or for no known reason at all.

Statistically, about 35% of children grind their teeth. For a child with baby teeth, the mouth is constantly changing, so a night guard cannot be used because it restricts the natural order of losing baby teeth and erupting permanent teeth. Unless there is pain, we will monitor your child until the permanent teeth start coming in.

If your child continues to grind their permanent teeth, we will discuss options to help. You would be surprised how much enamel can be ground down without your child having pain. Often, kids will outgrow this habit, but some will continue into adulthood and need a night guard. An at-home option is to buy a boil-and-bite athletic mouth guard to have them wear to bed.

Actually, we don’t always have to fix them. There are many times we can leave small areas of decay alone, and let the teeth fall out naturally without repair. Pediatric dentists specialize in recognizing the stages of decay in baby teeth and will recommend the appropriate treatment for your child’s specific needs.

With that being said, some of these teeth can be in your child’s mouth until they are a teen. If the decay on baby teeth is left untreated, it can lead to a range of problems, from sensitivity to severe pain, to future orthodontic issues or possible damage to the developing permanent teeth. A foundation of trust in your pediatric dentist is key to making the right decisions for your child.

From allowing your child to comfortably eat and chew food, to supporting the development of their speech, those little chompers really do make a difference. The best step to ensuring a happy and healthy dental future is to see your pediatric dentist for a check-up every six months.

Persistent and frequent oral habits can lead to issues with both baby teeth and permanent teeth that are developing. If habits continue after a certain developmental age, the more likely it is that your child will need orthodontic intervention in the future. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends discouraging pacifier use no later than age three.

Based on your child’s age and personality, you should determine the best approach for deterring their oral habit.

Infants under one, parents have found success by limiting pacifier use to certain times of the day, and then gradually phasing them out. If your child relies on a pacifier as a regular part of their routine, try substituting something new. Several children’s books discuss weaning off a pacifier. Some of our favorites are Pacifiers Are Not Forever, Pacita the Pacifier Tooth Fairy, and No More Pacifier, Duck.

If you discuss the possibility of weaning with your toddler, you may find that they are more willing to listen if you discuss how the pacifier may affect their teeth. Consider your child’s needs and select an approach that you believe will be most effective for them. Offering an alternative comfort or small reward may help to break the mental connection they have formed with their pacifier.

Pacifiers are a way children cope with stressful situations. It is possible to strengthen the habit by adding negative pressure. We recommend not weaning during a stressful time.

One of the most commonly asked questions in pediatric dentistry is, “Am I going to get a shot?” A trip to the dentist for a filling or other procedure conjures up all kinds of anxiety and emotional responses in children. Not anymore: in the age of electric cars and space travel reality, lasers are revolutionizing the way dentistry is being delivered.

For nearly two decades, lasers have been used for restorative and cosmetic purposes in dentistry. Lasers are approved for safety by the Food and Drug Administration, and they have become much more prevalent in dental offices across the country. Our new Solea Laser uses light to both anesthetize and vaporize cavities, which can then be filled. With this technology, no numbing shots are needed if the child is a good candidate. 

It makes appointments more pleasant and less time-consuming, and children can return to school after appointments without the parents having to worry, they might bite their cheek or tongue. Laser dentistry also allows us to do more treatments in a single appointment, which means less visits overall.

Ask your pediatric dentist if your child is a good candidate for laser fillings and procedures. If you would like to know more, please contact our office or go to Dr. Jay and Dr. Choi are both Certified Solea Dentists.

As we realize there is no one formula that works for all children and families, pediatric dental sedation can be an effective and safe tool for completing dental procedures. Sometimes children are unable to tolerate necessary pediatric dental treatments with behavior guidance such as tell-show-do and distraction (television and video games) to in-office general sedation. We find ways to make your child have a comfortable and fun experience.

At Pediatric Dental Associates, we offer several sedation options:


  • Nitrous oxide. Better known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a very safe sedative and the least invasive. Nitrous allows a child to feel calm while remaining fully awake. Laughing gas is given through a scented mask with a little bit of oxygen. It takes effect shortly after being administered, and wears off quickly with no lasting effects.


  •  General anesthesia. If your child is otherwise healthy but requires complex or lengthy dental work and is unable to tolerate in-office treatment with nitrous oxide, then general anesthesia may be recommended. We partner with a board-certified pediatric anesthesiologist to safely administer general anesthesia for your child, right in the comfort of our dental practice. General anesthesia enables our dentist to complete all of the needed treatment safely and comprehensively during a single appointment. During the procedure, your child will remain asleep and will not feel any pain or recall the procedure.


The safety of your child is our highest concern. When performed by qualified and experienced dentists like Dr. Jay and Dr. Choi, sedation dentistry is very safe.

We will review your child’s medical history in depth before administering any sedative. During the procedure, highly trained professionals will keep an eye on your child to make sure the procedure goes smoothly.

We recommend you bring your child in for an appointment if you believe your child would benefit from sedation dentistry. To schedule an appointment, call our office today.

A baby tooth is knocked out

Contact your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Have your child rinse their mouth with water, and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Baby teeth should not be replanted as they could damage the developing permanent teeth.

A permanent tooth is knocked out

Find the tooth and rinse it gently with milk. Do not use soap and water. Put the tooth in the socket and hold it there gently with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you cannot put the tooth back in, place it in a clean container, preferably with cold milk. If milk is not available, use the child’s own saliva. Take your child to your pediatric dentist immediately.

A tooth is chipped or broken

Contact your pediatric dentist immediately. Fast action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive future dental treatment. Have the child rinse their mouth with water, and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Bring the fragment to the dentist if you can find it.

We suggest you have your child wear a mouthguard when an activity has any risk of falling or collision. Pre-formed mouthguards are widely available, and custom mouthguards can be made if indicated.

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