Just like fingerprints, your teeth and how they fit in your mouth have a pattern that is uniquely yours.

So take care of that smile!

Q and A with Dr. Klein

When should I take my child for their first visit?

First dental visits are mostly educational. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends every child visit the dentist by their first birthday. We think between 12 and 18 months is a good time, especially if it’s your first child. This “well baby check” establishes a dental home and helps ensure your family learns what you’ll need to help your child remain cavity-free. Waiting until you see a cavity or your child has pain is too late. He or she is much more likely to have a pleasant and fun visit when their mouth is comfortable.

But what if he or she cries? They won’t even let me brush.

Relax and remember – we love what we do even if they cry or refuse to cooperate. Having said that, there are a few things you can do. Select an appointment time when your child is alert and rested. Explain that the dentist is a friend who will help keep their teeth healthy and that the visit will be fun. Answer all your child’s questions positively and avoid using scary words like “hurt.” If you have any questions about the appointment, please ask. As you become more confident, so will your child.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. They are specially trained for children’s unique oral health needs. Dr. Ray had two additional years of specialized study focused on child psychology, growth and development, and pediatric health care. Our office is equipped with lots of games and toys to keep little ones entertained – we even have TV while they’re in the chair!

What happens at the first visit?

Sometimes a first visit involves nothing more than a ride in the chair sitting on your lap and sometimes it’s a full exam and cleaning. We believe it’s important to make a positive first impression. We’ll always go over diet and good oral hygiene habits. And finally, we’ll complement your child on a job well done and let them know we can’t wait to see them again.

I can just let the baby teeth fall out right?

Not true! While it is true that baby teeth eventually come out, they are essential in the meantime. It’s important to know that baby teeth fall out in two waves – the front teeth usually between 6 and 8 years of age, while the back teeth fall out later – between 10 and 12 years. Left untreated, dental cavities can result in problems in growth, development, school performance, and peer relationships. So unless they’re about to lose that tooth, it’s usually best to try to fix.

How can I make sure my child doesn’t get any cavities?

Great question! Start with a good, balanced diet with limited snacks and sugar drinks. Next, add flossing once a day (yes, even the little ones) and twice daily brushing. Parents should brush preschoolers’ teeth and assist the brushing for school-age children until they are 7 to 8 years of age (about the same time they can tie their own shoelaces or write in cursive). Finish with regular visits to the dentist every six months and you’re on your way to good dental health.