The American Dental Association (ADA), The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and our office suggest bringing in children for their first visit when their first tooth appears or by their first birthday. An early first visit will reduce their anxiety later on, establish a dental home, and encourage good hygiene habits. During your visit, we will talk about dental hygiene and education, tooth eruption sequence, prevention of sucking habits, diet counseling, teething, trauma prevention, and oral health maintenance. We will also be happy to answer any questions you may have.
For our new patients, please see our First Visit/New Patients page for more information.
On the day of your appointment, the dentist will:
It is generally recommended to visit a dentist for a check-up at least once every 6 months. However, more frequent visits may be necessary if your child has an increased risk of tooth decay, unusual growth patterns, poor oral hygiene, or other factors. Regular check-ups and cleanings are important to help prevent cavities and reinforce good hygiene habits like proper brushing and flossing. We also use this opportunity to monitor the development and condition of your child's teeth and recommend treatments as needed.
For check-ups, we generally provide the same services as the initial exam with the exception of x-rays (unless needed).
See this Brochure by AAPD on Regular Dental Visits
Oral Evaluations/Exams are diagnostic and typically performed during appointments to check the condition and status of your teeth. The dentist checks for signs of tooth decay, how the teeth are developing, among other things, to form a treatment plan or to provide recommendations to ensure you have a healthy smile.
Sealants are made of plastic or other materials, used to fill-in and cover crevices and pits in teeth that are susceptible to decay, by keeping bacteria and food particles from settling.
Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent cavities by strengthening tooth enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, to be more resistant to decay by acid from bacteria plaques. A fluoride paste is applied to the cleaned and polished teeth. We use a fluoride varnish, which stays longer on your teeth to allow more time for the fluoride to absorb, and also allows you to eat and drink immediately. For healthy teeth, it is recommended to apply fluoride treatment at least once every 6 months. For cavity prone teeth, it is recommended to apply fluoride once every 3 months.
Radiographs, or x-ray imaging is a tool dentists use to diagnose or reveal:
It is recommended to have x-rays taken once a year for the average patient, but how frequent they are needed depends on the status of your oral health and treatments needed. Our licensed team, advanced Sirona digital dental x-rays, and leaded aprons and collar all work together to minimize exposure and ensure safety. If x-rays were taken at a previous dentist, please bring a copy during your visit.
Just visiting a dentist every six months isn't enough! It is important to enforce and keep up good dental hygiene habits as well. During the first visit and each check-up appointment, we will review your child's home care habits and help identify potentially harmful habits, as well as introduce or reinforce good ones.
When you have a cavity, the dentist removes the decay from your tooth, but a hole is still left. Fillings are used to restore and fill-in that hole, sealing out bacteria and food particles from getting in again and preventing further decay. The filling material we use are composite resins, which are durable and tooth-colored. Though fillings are a revolutionary treatment, it is important to remember that it is not a fix all, and cavities can still develop around the filling if oral hygiene is poor. It is always important to pay attention to home care, diet, oral hygiene, and to visit us regularly for check-ups.
Sometimes cavities can affect the tooth structure so much that a typical composite filling isn't enough to restore the tooth. Stainless steel crowns are a solution, capping the tooth crown completely with a durable long-lasting metal shell. After the tooth is cleaned and dried, the dentist carefully selects and shapes the crown and glues it over the tooth. As always, it is still important to practice good oral hygiene, so that plaque doesn't build up and irritate the gums around the crown.
Pulpal therapy, AKA "baby root canal", pulpotomy, or pulpectomy is a treatment for when there is inflammation or infection in the roots of the tooth, causing pain, tenderness, or discoloration. To treat this, the dentist carefully removes the infected soft tissue or pulp, cleans and medicates the root canal, then fills and seals the tooth. Finally, a crown is placed on the tooth to protect and restore the tooth to full function. It is virtually painless and saves the natural tooth, limiting the need for ongoing treatments like space maintainers, dentures, or implants that can accompany extractions.
For more information, see AAE's page on Root Canals
Sometimes children lose their baby tooth prematurely due to injury, decay, or eruption guidance. This could lead to their other teeth shifting to fill the vacant space, disrupting eruption of the adult tooth in the future. Space maintainers are fitted, custom-made wire and ring appliances that keep this space open. There are many different types, such as removable or fixed, unilateral (one sided) or bilateral (two sided). In addition, not every lost baby tooth requires a space maintainer, so it is important to consult a dentist or orthodontist to determine if it is a good option. It is also important to follow proper cleaning and diet instructions, practice good hygiene, and to see a dentist or orthodontist regularly to monitor for timely removal or any adjustments needed.
Composite Resin Bonding: Composite bonding is a cosmetic technique where the dentist attaches composite resin on the tooth to change the color and shape for cosmetic purposes, restoring fractured or chipped teeth, and/or filling in gaps. Composite bonding is a quick, minimally invasive and inexpensive procedure with natural-looking results. Bonding agent is applied to the cleaned tooth, then composite resin is molded around the tooth and hardened by a curing light. We finish by polishing or trimming the tooth and checking the symmetry and bite.
Whitening: We provide whitening services in office and take home bleaching kits. If you are interested in whitening you or your child's teeth, ask us about it during your next appointment or schedule a consultation.
Braces/orthodontics (referrals): We provide consultations if you or your child are considering braces. The dentist will review your child's dental development, their occlusion, bite, teeth crowding, teeth eruption, among other things to determine when it is suitable for your child to have braces. If you so choose, we also provide referrals or can assist in finding an orthodontist. Should your orthodontist decide that extraction(s) are needed due to crowding, or that they require your child's dental history, X-rays, or other information, we will gladly provide this. Please fill out and sign a Medical Information Release and Authorization Form, stating the dentist/doctor's name and contact information.
Extractions, or removing a tooth, usually occurs because of disease, trauma, crowding, or for orthodontic purposes. We perform extractions of baby teeth and adult teeth as needed; though we often consider extractions as a last resort, saving a natural tooth is preferable to costly implants or dentures.
Before extractions, we first numb the area with local anesthesia, then carefully wiggle to loosen the tooth from the surrounding gums. Nitrous oxide or laughing gas, may be used for patients that feel anxious or nervous. After the extraction, the dentist will go through a post-extraction regimen to follow at home to help your child's gums heal faster.
Frenectomy: Occasionally, the frenum (the fold of tissue beneath the tongue (lingual) or between the lips and the gums (labial)) requires removal because the frenum is unusually short which can lead to speech impairment, trouble eating, discomfort, and a gap between the two upper front teeth.
Soft-tissue biopsy: A soft-tissue biopsy is the removal and microscopic examination of a small sample for diagnostic purposes. Biopsies facilitate accurate diagnoses and help the dentist determine the best treatment. Biopsies are typically needed to screen for oral cancer or other conditions.
Visiting the dentist is a new experience that young children may find scary or uncomfortable. But there is no reason to worry! Dr. Lac and our staff are specially trained and dedicated to providing the best treatment and service with your children in mind.
Sometimes children need a little more help overcoming their fear, and techniques such as demonstrations, distractions, and positive reinforcement are proven to ease and encourage kids. In addition, many years of practice and tone of voice, dialogue, nonverbal communication.
Nitrous Oxide, laughing gas, or nitrous, is a blend of nitrogen and oxygen gas used to relax patients for their dental treatment. Nitrous is safe, effective, and has no lingering side effects, helping your child relax while remaining fully conscious. They keep all their natural reflexes and children can respond to questions or requests from our trained and licensed staff if necessary. It is easily breathed in through a small, scented breathing mask placed over the nose. After treatment, nitrous is quickly eliminated by breathing in oxygen for a short period. Though nitrous is very safe, our policy is to recommend nitrous only to children when needed to calm their anxiety or to ease their gag reflex.
Nitrous is safe and effective, but occasionally may cause nausea in some children. To prevent vomiting, please try give your child little or no food in the two to three hours prior to their dental appointment.
See AAPD's brochure on Nitrous Oxide
Visit or contact your dentist as soon as possible if a dental emergency occurs. If we or your dentist is not available, try finding a dental office available as most offices provide emergency services, or visit your local emergency room.
For Medical Emergencies, please call 911.
For Dental related emergencies, please call us at (804) 918-5850 or email us at email@example.com with your name, contact and EMERGENCY in the subject line and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
If you have a dental question or emergency and you cannot visit us in person, we can try to accommodate as best as possible with an over the phone consultation. Please call our dental office phone number:
If the line is busy, please try the other number and/or leave a message with your name and contact and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
*Note: Your fax or email may not be encrypted. To protect your privacy, please refrain from sending confidential information through these methods. Call our office at (804) 918-5850 for medical or billing questions.
For dental emergencies that occur after hours please try to contact us and we may be able to accommodate you. Please tell us your name, your emergency, and how we can contact you.
If one line is busy or there is no answer, please try the other numbers and/or leave a message with your name and contact and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
If the dental emergency is urgent and we are not immediately available, find a dental office near you with emergency services or visit your local emergency room.
For more information about your first visit
Common dental accidents and what to do if they happen
see our frequently asked questions