Pediatric Dentistry

Howard Kaufman, DDS and Eveline Hamdani, DMD provide oral health care to patients of any age. This includes seeing children who do not immediately require the skills of a pediatric dentist. Long Beach Smile Co. provides family dentistry in Long Beach, Los Alamitos, Cypress, and all surrounding communities.

Which Children Can See Us?

A pediatric dentist, also called a pedodontist, is a specialty dentist whose additional training is focused on treating children. You might not be sure when to send your child to a pediatric dentist instead of a general dental practice like us, which is common when deciding between specialists.

Of all the considerations behind this decision, we want you to assure you that physical age is not one of them. If your child is mature enough to sit through a dental appointment, we can treat them! Young patients who have strong anxieties at the dentist might be best served by a pedodontist. Additionally, children with special needs or complex medical concerns will need to see a pediatric dentist, as they will have the training necessary to successfully address those concerns.

 

Recommended Age of First Visit

 

WITHIN 6 MONTHS

after the first baby tooth arrives

NO LATER THAN

his/her first birthday

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child visit the dentist for an initial oral evaluation within 6 months of the eruption of his/her first baby tooth and no later than their first birthday. It is important to start children early in the right direction to good dental hygiene and building healthy, life-long habits.

 

 Dental exam and Cleaning

During your child’s first appointment, we will perform a thorough cleaning and examination that will help us determine proper diagnosis, caries risk level and treatment options. We place high importance on prevention of dental disease—some of the preventative services we provide include: dental prophylaxis (cleanings), fluoride treatments, digital radiographs (x-rays), sealants, mouth guards, oral hygiene instructions, dietary counseling, and anticipatory guidance counseling on growth and development concerns (i.e., teething, thumb or pacifier habits, injury prevention, malocclusion). We believe that healthy smiles should not stop at our office, so we will educate you and your child on how to make good food choices and how to properly brush and floss at home.

 

how often should children have dental checkups?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) advises parents to make biannual dental appointments for children, beginning approximately six months after the first tooth emerges.

These two important yearly visits allow the pediatric dentist to monitor new developments in the child’s mouth, evaluate changes in the condition of teeth and gums, and continue to advise parents on good oral care strategies.

The pediatric dentist may schedule additional visits for children who are particularly susceptible to tooth decay or who show early signs of orthodontic problems.

What is the purpose of dental checkups?

First, the pediatric dentist aims to provide a “good dental home” for the child.  If a dental emergency does arise, parents can take the child for treatment at a familiar, comfortable location.

Second, the pediatric dentist keeps meticulous records of the child’s ongoing dental health and jaw development.  In general, painful dental conditions do not arise overnight.  If the pediatric dentist understands the child’s dental health history, it becomes easier to anticipate future issues and intervene before they arise.

Third, the pediatric dentist is able to educate parents and children during the visit.  Sometimes the pediatric dentist wants to introduce one or several factors to enhance tooth health – for example, sealants, fluoride supplements, or xylitol.  Other times, the pediatric dentist asks parents to change the child’s dietary or oral behavior – for example, reducing sugar in the child’s diet, removing an intraoral piercing, or even transitioning the child from sippy cups to adult-sized drinking glasses.

Finally, dental X-rays are often the only way to identify tiny cavities in primary (baby) teeth.  Though the child may not be feeling any pain, left unchecked, these tiny cavities can rapidly turn into large cavities, tooth decay, and eventually, childhood periodontal disease.  Dental X-rays are only used when the pediatric dentist suspects cavities or orthodontic irregularities.

Are checkups necessary if my child has healthy teeth?

The condition of a child’s teeth can change fairly rapidly.  Even if the child’s teeth were evaluated as healthy just six months prior, changes in diet or oral habits (for example, thumb sucking) can quickly render them vulnerable to decay or misalignment.

In addition to visual examinations, the pediatric dentist provides thorough dental cleanings during each visit.  These cleanings eradicate the plaque and debris that can build up between teeth and in other hard to reach places.  Though a good homecare routine is especially important, these professional cleanings provide an additional tool to keep smiles healthy.

The pediatric dentist is also able to monitor the child’s fluoride levels during routine visits.  Oftentimes, a topical fluoride gel or varnish is applied to teeth after the cleaning.  Topical fluoride remineralizes the teeth and staunches mineral loss, protecting tooth enamel from oral acid attacks.  Some children are also given take-home fluoride supplements (especially those residing in areas where fluoride is not routinely added to the community water supply).

Finally, the pediatric dentist may apply dental sealants to the child’s back teeth (molars).  This impenetrable liquid plastic substance is brushed onto the molars to seal out harmful debris, bacteria, and acid.

If you have questions or concerns about when to schedule your child’s dental checkups please contact your pediatric dentist.

Get in Touch

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Hours

Monday // 8.30 AM – 5 PM
Tuesday // 8.30 AM – 5 PM
Wednesday // 8.30 AM – 5 PM
Thursday // 8.30 AM – 5 PM