Dr. James Heaton
Serving the Areas of Chandler and Tempe, AZ

Pediatric Dentistry in Chandler, AZ

At Smiles of Chandler, we value your child’s oral health, and are equipped to give them the special care they need. We offer many options to help your child off to a good start, focusing on dental education and instruction in healthy habits, and extending to restorative care and orthodontics.

Do I Really Need A Pediatric Dentist For My Child?

Pediatric Dentistry Chandler AZ

Many parents ask this question. The official recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is “that children be seen by a dentist within 6 months of [the appearance] of the first tooth or 12 months of age, whichever comes first” (AAP).

It is important to get your child in to see your doctor at Smiles of Chandler early since tooth decay can begin as soon as the first tooth appears. This is especially true for children of parents who have had lots of cavities. Since the oral environment (types of bacteria, acidity and mineral content of the saliva, etc.) and dietary habits of children closely mimics their parents, these children tend to be at higher risk for cavities themselves.

In addition to being on the watch for cavities, your doctor will be looking out for any signs of a problematic bite, potential sources of trauma to the oral tissues, and other issues that are best corrected in their very early stages.

A child’s first dental visits are almost as important for you as the parent as they are for the child directly. These early appointments will give your doctor opportunities to provide you with education on how to best care for the oral health of your child and allow you ample opportunities to have questions answered.

What can I do to prepare my child for their dental visits?

We feel that it is a great idea to bring your child with you to your regular appointments when they are very young so that the child has a chance to get used to the dentist and surroundings. This way, it will be easier for the child to be comfortable seeing the dentist for themselves.

There are also a plethora of picture books available for purchase that can help your child to know what to expect at the dental office. This can go a long way in making them feel comfortable when they get here. Telling them about how fun their appointment will be, and that they will be able to pick out a toy when they are done, can help a lot too.

What about sedation?

The dentists and staff at Smiles of Chandler will be there to help your child feel comfortable. Optimally, we feel it is in the pediatric patient’s best interest to avoid sedation if other techniques will work. By helping the child to feel safe and know what to expect ahead of time, sedation can often be avoided. Sometimes, however, ‘option A’ doesn’t work, and your doctor at Smiles of Chandler may offer sedation in order to calm the child and be able to proceed.

What type of toothbrush and toothpaste should my child use?

Pediatric Dentist Chandler AZ

We recommend that you use a toothbrush with soft bristles to clean your child’s teeth. Using stiffer bristles won’t get their teeth more clean, but they are likely to damage their gums. Children’s brushes are recommended because the heads tend to be smaller, and the handles are easier for the child to grip as they begin to brush their teeth with more independence. The colors and designs also help to make the experience more fun for the child.

The type of toothpaste used is typically not incredibly important. A flavor that the child enjoys can help the child to be less resistive to brushing. Fluoride content is important because it strengthens the tooth and slows the activity of cavity causing bacteria.

How can I help my child to brush their teeth?

Helping your child to brush their teeth can be tricky at first, but it will usually become much easier as the activity becomes routine for both you and your child.

In addition to selecting a toothbrush and toothpaste that your child likes, you may want to make a game out of brushing, act as if the brush is a spaceship, or tell them about how you are “chasing down the sugar bugs.” Be sure to brush each surface of all the teeth by the time you finish.

You may find it helpful to stand behind your child and use the bathroom mirror, or sit with them between your legs if they are too squirmy. Take things slow at first and find something that works for you and your child.

How can I prevent cavities in my child?

Basically, cavities are the result of acid on the teeth, produced by the digestion of sugar in the mouth by particular types of bacteria. The best tool you have for cutting down the amount of bacteria in your child’s mouth is regular and thorough brushing. Cavities won’t occur without sugar (although other mechanisms for tooth erosion exist), so limiting sugary snacks will greatly benefit your child’s oral health.

Foods and snacks high in carbohydrates (e.g. crackers), also contribute to the formation of cavities because starches begin to be broken down into the same sugar molecules that make up refined sugar while still in the mouth. You can greatly minimize the impact of snacking on oral health by allowing your child to have larger snacks, but with less frequency (e..g, consolidate) throughout the day.

What is “baby bottle” tooth decay, and how can it be avoided?

Sometimes parents will put a child to bed with a bottle containing milk or juice. Both products contain large amounts of sugar. When a child sips on these sugary drinks throughout the night, the bacteria in the mouth feast and acid sits on the tooth for long periods of time.

The consequences of this habit can be devastating, causing rampant decay throughout the mouth. The good news is that the situation is easy to avoid. Since water does not contain sugar, it is safe to send a child to bed with a bottle of pure water.

Is it time for my child to receive a dental check-up?

Pediatric Dental Care Chandler AZ

If you have been wondering when is the right time to bring your child to the dentist, the time is probably now! Please call and schedule an appointment for your child with a doctor at Smiles of Chandler today.

References:

American Academy of Perdiatrics (AAP), (n.d.). Dental Visits. Retrieved from https://www2.aap.org/oralhealth/pact/ch5_sect5.cfm.

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Our Reviews

Dr Heaton is as kind as he is competent. He treats me like a person, not a paycheck and I feel like I can trust him to only recommend what I need. I also referred an employee of mine who needed serious dental care and did not have a lot of money. Dr Heaton was flexible and kind and so helpful. Highly Recommend.

Jason J.

Most people dread going to the dentist but I'm always excited to go especially when it means seeing all of the wonderful people who work there. My family has been going here for more than 20 years and I've never had a bad experience. You can count on walking out the door with a huge (minty fresh) smile on your face. Highly recommended!

Gina D.
Smiles of Chandler, 4940 W Ray Rd #8, Chandler, AZ 85226, USA
  • Smiles of Chandler,
    4940 W Ray Rd #8,
    Chandler, AZ - 85226, USA
  • (480) 899-9484
  • Mon, Tue & Thur : 8am – 5pm Wednesday : 7am – 6pm Friday : 7am – 2pm Saturday : 7am – 1pm Sunday : Closed
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