A pediatric dentist is a dentist that specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating children and those with special healthcare needs. After graduating from dental school, a dentist has to train for an additional two years to become a certified pediatric dentist qualified to treating and educating your child. In addition to treating your child's dental decay and providing preventative treatments, pediatric dentists are equipped to address dental development and trauma, help establish good habits, and offer advanced skills like sedation and surgery.
A healthy mouth is essential for the well-being of your child, and allows them to eat and grow, sleep, concentrate in school, and interact with other children. Dental decay may lead to pain, swelling, and infection, which may impact the development of their adult teeth and possibly even have orthodontic consequences. Though baby teeth eventually goes to be replaced by an adult set, to your child, they are very important. Even early, Dr. Lac can help establish good dental habits and introduce preventative treatments, helping build towards a lifetime of good health.
For more information, please read more on healthychildren.org
Here at Pediatric Tooth Journeys, we encourage parents to bring their child in as soon as they begin teething, or even earlier, but no later than their first birthday. This may seem early, but once a tooth has erupted (pops out of the gums), cavities can develop. By bringing your child in early, the dentist may examine their jaw and teeth to make sure they are developing the way they should. The dentist will also check for cavities and other issues. In addition to the physical exam, certified pediatric dentists, such as Dr. Lac, are qualified to answer any questions you have and/or provide advice, such as how to ease gum soreness during teething, if they are sucking on their thumb or pacifier too much, or how to care for their new teeth at home.
DENTAL FILLINGS is a restorative procedure used to fill holes or fix damage in/on your teeth due to cavities or other decay, helping restore teeth to their normal shape, appearance, and function. Fillings can be made from a variety of materials, such as gold, porcelain, amalgam, or composite resin. Its purpose is to provide a long lasting repair by filling in the hole after your dentist removes the decay. It is necessary, otherwise the tooth remains susceptible to decay or damage.
SEALANTS are intended as a preventative procedure, used to fill in and cover deep, naturally occurring crevices and fissures in teeth that may be susceptible to the development of decay. Sealants are typically recommended to children and those with deep crevices in their teeth that may be hard to reach during brushing and flossing, such as molars, the teeth in the back of your mouth. Sealants are typically made of plastic or other materials, and they coat the crevices and surface of your teeth to prevent bacteria and food particles from settling and causing decay/cavities.
You are welcome to stay with your child during their initial appointments. However, for future appointments, we suggest allowing your child to accompany our staff through their little journey. This gives us the opportunity to establish a closer rapport with your child, which helps us gain your child's trust and overcome apprehension. However, should you choose to stay with your child, you are welcome to do so. For the safety and privacy of our patients, children not being treated should remain in the reception with a supervising adult.
At the moment we accept the following insurances (please call or visit our office if you have any questions or would like to inquire about an insurance not listed): Aetna, Anthem, Connection Dental, Cigna, Delta Dental, DentaQuest/Smiles for Children (Virginia), Dominion Dental Choice PPO, Metlife, United Concordia, and United Healthcare. As a courtesy, we may verify your dental insurance coverage.
*Please bring your or your child's insurance card or insurance information (member ID and plan) with you on your visit. See Sample Insurance Card
Here at Pediatric Tooth Journeys, we try our best to address every concern and provide the best treatment with our patients in mind. After the exam/consultation, we typically recommend possible treatment options and set up an approved treatment plan before performing them at a later appointment. This is because some treatments may be extensive and may require multiple appointments so as to not over-stress your child with long hours on the chair. In addition, some treatments may require prior authorization with your insurance company, as the procedure(s) may not be covered or only partially covered by your plan (some companies may require prior authorizations from in-network providers). By carefully discussing and setting up a treatment plan with the dentist, your child can receive the best and most relaxed care and reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
First, don't panic! Children look to their elders and parents for guidance, and keeping calm will help your child keep calm too. Contact your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Next, determine if the tooth is a baby tooth or a permanent tooth.
If a BABY tooth fell out, do NOT try to place it back in. This may damage the developing permanent tooth. Contact your pediatric dentist, through in most cases no treatment is necessary.
If a PERMANENT tooth fell out, try to find the tooth. Be sure to handle it only by the crown and do not touch the root. You may rinse the tooth in water to remove any dust or dirt, but do NOT scrub and do NOT use soap. Inspect the tooth for fractures or damage. If it is intact, try to reinsert it into the socket and have the patient hold the tooth in place by biting on gauze or clean cloth.
If it is painful or does not go in with pressure, do NOT force the tooth in. Contact your pediatric dentist immediately and let them know your situation. If the tooth cannot be reinserted, transport the tooth in a cup containing the patient's saliva or milk. If the patient is old enough, the tooth may also be carried in their mouth, beside their cheek. See a dentist IMMEDIATELY, as time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.
Not many parents have heard of this type of exam. It is a technique typically reserved for young infants and toddlers to help ease their anxiety and still allow the dentist to examine their mouth. We first have the parent hug their child and wrap their legs around the parent's hips. The parent and dentist's knees then come together to form a bed for the child to lay on, with their head on the dentist's lap. This technique allows for the child to feel and see their parent, easing their anxiety, while also allowing the dentist to see into the child's mouth and examine their baby pearly whites.
Dentists or other healthcare providers who are "in network" or a "participating provider" of an insurance company are providers that have been carefully scrutinized and pre-approved to provide service for their members. Participating in an insurance network benefits both the patients and the providers. By participating, insurance companies help its members reduce out-of-pocket costs and encourage preventative care. In addition, they help ensure that its members/subscribers receive the best care, by providing a list of pre-approved providers to choose from. For providers, participation provides access to the subscribers of that insurance, increasing their customer base. Some plans may require its subscribers to visit in-network providers for full coverage. However, different plans have different requirements for their members, and you should always consult your insurance company directly regarding coverage and benefits, and for help looking for providers best suited for your plan.
Our office, the AAPD, and the ADA encourages visiting your dentist at least twice a year for regular check-ups for children. But, every mouth is different, just as everybody is different, and you should always consult your dentist to establish an appointment schedule most suited for you or your child. After your comprehensive exam or consultation, your dentist will be able to let you know if more frequent visits are required because of increased risk of tooth decay, unusual growth patterns, poor oral hygiene, or other factors.
X-rays are needed to help diagnose and confirm damage or disease not visible during an exam, like how deep a cavity is or if your child's teeth are developing correctly. Dental x-rays will not be taken at every appointment, but its frequency will depend on the oral health, age, risk, and possible symptoms of disease of the patient. Children may require X-rays more often than adults because their teeth and jaws are still developing and have a higher risk of decay. We may recommend X-rays if you are a new patient to determine a baseline for future treatment and preventative services. For example, we would recommend an application of fluoride and regular use of fluoride toothpaste if we see thinning enamel, which has a higher risk for decay. If you have taken X-rays with a previous dentist, please ask their office to provide you with a copy or to forward them to our office. Dental X-rays are very safe and the level of radiation exposure are very low; our digital X-ray machines, leaded apron and collar, and licensed training ensure minimal exposure and minimal risk of potentially harmful effects.
For more information, see this brochure by ImageGently.Org
Yes! It is important to establish healthy habits for your child early in life, and regular check-ups help establish a dental home, where your child feels comfortable having their teeth cleaned and restored. Regular visits to the dentist helps ensure that your children are practicing healthy oral habits like brushing and flossing correctly and monitor their progress, much like report cards from school. In addition, cleanings and check-ups ensure that debris (especially the kind that brushing doesn't remove) is removed and don't irritate the gums or cause decay. Oftentimes, there are things that a dentist recognizes, such as tiny cavities, swollen gums or worn-down molars, that at home you don't see or realize may indicate worsening conditions (for example, worn-down molars may be from teeth grinding at night). Remember, caring for your child's mouth is our specialty!
Once your child's pearly whites pop out from their gums, they are at risk for tooth decay. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth, and regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste is the best way to prevent cavities. Fluoride strengthens and rebuilds weakened tooth enamel, helping fight decay by bacteria.
If you are unsure or have more questions, be sure to give your dentist a call or ask during your next visit.
In the meantime, read more at mouthhealthy.org
The length of the dental appointment depends on the patient and what needs to be fixed. Some appointments take longer than others because restorative and preventative procedures like filling in cleaned cavities, root canals, or crowns require more precision and attention to restore the tooth back to its original shape and function. With children, sometimes it takes a little longer to coax their nerves and apply numbing gels or analgesia (laughing gas), making sure they are comfortable and relaxed. Some appointments, like routine cleanings or exams may not take as long, since numbing or treatment is not necessary. If your child's appointment runs longer than scheduled, please bear with us, as we are trying to provide the best treatment for your child.