Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What should I look for in my child's new dentist?

From routine care to restorative dental work, each appointment with your child is very important. You should look for a pediatric dentist who prioritizes giving you time to ask questions about oral hygiene, after appointment care and treatment plans. Ask friends for recommendations or research kid-friendly dentists in your community. Ask to meet ahead of time, and make sure they have strategies to make kids comfortable and that they care about making the experience enjoyable.


When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that a child have a dental home by the age of one or shortly after their first tooth. This first visit at an early age is equally important for the parents, to help them understand exactly what they can do to prevent cavities and to help get them started on proper oral care.


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

Pediatric dental offices are geared to serve the unique needs of children, just like your pediatrician’s office. The catered, specialized care helps children develop better habits, care and understanding in regards to oral health. This is important for lifetime care, since positive dental experiences during childhood encourage kids to continue to visit the dentist well into adulthood.


Why are baby teeth important?

What are “baby teeth”? In the dental world, we call them primary teeth or deciduous teeth. These “baby teeth” are extremely important in early physical, emotional and social development. They play a role in socialization, speech and nonverbal communication, eating habits and much more. Without proper care of primary teeth, a child could have a lifetime of oral health issues. You can learn more about primary teeth on our blog.


How often should my child see a pediatric dentist?

Ideally, you should take your child to the dentist every six months. This may sound like a lot, but frequent visits are essential to the health of your child's developing teeth. Regular visits allow your child's dentist to detect early signs of dental disease and decay.


How can I prepare my child for a visit to the dentist?

Choose the right dentist. Make sure they have strategies and knowledge to work with children. Talk to your child. Get some books about going to the dentist and talk to your child honestly about what they can expect at their appointment. Make sure your kids see you brushing and flossing as a natural part of the daily routine. And if you’ve got a bit of dentist phobia, try your best to shield the kids from it. According to a recent study, most fear of the dentist is passed down from parents to children.


How do I find a pediatric dentist for my family?

Ask friends and family. Read reviews. Trust other’s experiences with their pediatric dentist. At our office, the most important relationships we have are with our patients and their parents.  At your child’s appointment, we want to take the time to get to know you and your family. Find a pediatric dentist who values your family’s specific needs.


What is the policy on missing or rescheduling appointments?

We understand that life happens. Dr. Francois and his wife have a busy life as well and kids get sick, cars break down and calendars get messy quickly. We ask that you give us 24 hours advance notice to cancel or reschedule an appointment. We often time have emergency appointments that we fit into cancellations and it is important to us that we see these patients who are injured or in pain promptly. Repeat missed dental appointments without any notice will be addressed by our office on a case by case basis.


What insurance policies are accepted at Pediatric Smiles Dentistry?

We accept many dental insurance plans and will file claims on your behalf, saving you the time and hassle. Our knowledgeable benefit coordinator can help you maximize your dental benefits and minimize your out-of-pocket cost. Below is a list of a few of the insurance plans we accept. If you don’t see your insurance plan on this list, please give our office a call and we can discuss your options to reduce cost.

The following are just a few of the dental insurance carriers we're providers for:

  • Aetna

  • Anthem Blue Cross

  • Assurant

  • Cigna

  • Delta Dental

  • GEHA

  • Guardian

  • Humana

  • MetLife

  • Sunlife

  • United Health Care


How do I clean my baby's teeth?

Good dental care actually starts before you can see your child’s teeth. Even before they start teething, you should run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to clear away any bacteria daily. When teeth begin to erupt, you can begin to use a toothbrush. By two years old, every child should be using a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste on the toothbrush. When teeth start to touch, you should start to floss as well.

As your child gets older, you can begin practicing spitting after brushing with your child. It is important that you always supervise tooth brushing until at least the age of 6.


How can I build a diet that is healthy for my child's teeth? What foods are healthy for teeth?

A balanced diet that is rich in nutritious, low-sugar foods is also important for maintaining a beautiful smile. If your child consumes too many sugar-filled sodas, sweetened fruit drinks or starch-laden snacks, they could be at risk for tooth decay. You can learn more about healthy snacks and your child’s dental health on our blog.

Eating frequent snacks makes it easier for bacteria to flourish in the mouth and form plaque on your child's teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends limiting the number of snack times during the day to prevent cavities. At mealtime, there is an increased amount of saliva in the mouth that can help wash away those starches or sugary treats, counteract acid-producing bacteria and remineralize teeth. That “natural mouth wash” isn’t always there for snacking throughout the day!


What should I do my child knocks out a tooth?

Pick up the tooth by the top (crown) and place it in a small container of milk. Use a cold compress to reduce swelling and call the dental office immediately. If handled correctly, knocked out teeth can be returned to their place in your child’s mouth. To learn more about handling this and other dental emergencies, check out our blog post by Dr. Francois about handling dental emergencies.


What should I do my child cracks a tooth?

Rinse mouth with warm water as soon as possible to clean the area. Call the office as soon as possible to have the tooth checked by a pediatric dentist. If you don’t currently have a dentist for your child, you can call us at (816) 479-5562. You can learn more about this and other dental emergencies on our blog.


What should I do my child bites his/her tongue or lip?

Clean gently with warm water. Apply a cold compress to help reduce swelling. If swelling, pain, or bleeding persists, feel free to call your dental office or another healthcare professional to determine if additional treatment is needed. You can learn more by checking out our blog post about handling dental emergencies.


What should I do my child has a toothache?

Rinse your child’s mouth with warm water and gently floss to remove any debris that might be causing discomfort. Call your dental office. If you don’t have one, feel free to contact us at (816) 479-5562.

The following precautions can be taken to help avoid dental injuries:

  • Always wear a mouthguard to participate in sports

  • Avoid popcorn kernels and hard candies

  • NEVER tear open a package with your teeth! Stick with scissors


How can I prepare for a dental emergency?

If is helpful to keep the following supplies on hand in case your child has a dental emergency:

  • Small container with a lid

  • Gauze

  • Ice Pack

  • Our office phone number: (816) 479-5562. We are always here to help!

If you want to learn more about how to handle dental emergencies, read more about it.


Are mouth guards really necessary?

Mouthguards are vital for protecting your oral health during sports. According to the American Dental Association, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. Wearing a mouthguard not only protects your teeth, but also keeps your gums, lips and tongue safe. If your child is participating in sports and they have braces, a mouthguard is especially important. It helps keep brackets and other orthodontic fixtures in place and also protects the lips and tongue from painful contact with braces. You can learn more about mouthguards on our blog.