Pediatric Dentistry for San Diego
What can our award-winning pediatric dentists and orthodontists do for your child?
Gentle Services For All Stages
(All photos shown are of actual patients)
We like to call this the age one or “Baby and Me” visit because it is as important for the parent as it is for the child. We are passionate about the “Baby and Me” visit and have rooms specially designed to accommodate infants, young children, and their moms and dads!
As your partners in San Diego pediatric dentistry, we will:
- Review infant oral health.
- Discuss important milestones.
- Practical preventive strategies.
- Explain teething.
- Educate oral habits.
- Discuss injury prevention.
Depending on your child’s comfort level, the “Baby and Me” visit may include:
- A gentle, but thorough examination of the teeth, jaws, gums, bite, and oral tissues.
- Demonstration of appropriate home care techniques/preventive strategies.
- A Fluoride Varnish application (if indicated).
- Plenty of time for questions and answers.
- No dental x-rays will be taken.
- A review of dietary guidelines for decay prevention.
After the examination and diet/nutrition analysis, we will be able to provide you and your child with a preventive plan individually tailored to your child’s oral health assessment. Most importantly, practical tips for you, as parents, will be given on how to implement this plan for your child.
First Dental Visit
THE INITIAL NEW PATIENT EXAMINATIONIf your child is between two and three years of age, they will be ready for a formal new patient examination. At this visit, we will set aside plenty of time to help make your child feel comfortable and introduce them to the dental setting.
We like to engage the children in a "Tell, Show, Do" approach during the visit. This technique is very effective for this age group because it encourages the child to open up and become actively involved in the visit.
Once your child is comfortable, the doctor will:
- Gently examine the teeth, jaws, bite, gums, and oral tissues.
- Review at what point dental x-rays are indicated based on a patient-specific risk assessment for dental decay.
- Discuss with you any treatment indicated.
- Put together a preventive plan that is tailored to your child’s specific needs.
At Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists, we understand children have different needs and comfort levels. We frequently recommend scheduling a separate cleaning appointment after the initial examination, so we make dental hygiene and dentist visits a regular and essential part of their lives.
We take this responsibility very seriously. Our goal is to maintain an open dialogue with parents, so they are well informed and equipped to assist their children with the home care needed to maintain their oral health.
At each stage of dental development, there are important hallmarks for prevention that we will thoroughly review with you to optimize your child’s oral health. These may include:
- Diet counseling: We converse with parents regarding the child’s diet. Does the child eat between meals? Do they lean towards eating sugary carbohydrates or protein? We are able to determine their risk level and recommend alternatives as part of our prevention program.
- Hygiene: Daily brushing, proper flossing, and regular cleanings contribute to healthier teeth and gums. Optimal oral health contributes to a healthier body.
- Growth and Development:Guidance/monitoring of dental/skeletal growth and development.
- Sealants: A plastic sealant material that is flowed into the grooves of at-risk teeth to prevent decay.
- Xylitol: A unique sugar substitute that reduces plaque and directly inhibits the effect of bacteria in causing tooth decay.
- Mouthguards: Made for kids who participate in sports or activities that place them at risk for dental trauma.
- Fluoride: A natural mineral that makes tooth enamel more resistant to the acid from bacteria that causes tooth decay. Fluoride also helps repair areas where acid attacks have already begun.
Prevent problems today; your children will thank you tomorrow.
Even the idea of a routine visit may create a level of anxiety for patients who have had difficulty with dental care. Our doctors are specially trained to calm and care for even the most anxious patient.
The very foundation of our training as pediatric dentists involves an intensive study of pharmacology and patient care that equips us to provide all levels of sedation that may be appropriate for your child. Our doctors stay up to date in the latest and safest techniques through continued study and review of all levels of sedation.
The first step in determining what level of sedation may be needed for your child is to listen to your concerns and any important information regarding difficult past dental visits. Our doctors will then discuss what level of sedation (if any) will be needed to put your child at ease. Important factors in this decision include:
- Child’s level of anxiety.
- Past dental experiences.
- Child’s medical history.
- Parental concerns.
- Extent of dental care needed
After discussing your concerns and reviewing your child’s needs, our doctors will decide what form of sedation may be appropriate, including:
- Nitrous oxide
- Oral conscious sedation
- IV sedation
- General Anesthesia (at Children’s Hospital)
Although emergencies cannot be planned, one can prepare for them. We try to accommodate all emergencies on the same day. If it is outside of normal office hours and your child has an emergency tooth issue, don’t hesitate to call Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists. You will be connected to an on-call pediatric dentist, who can provide recommendations and see your child immediately if needed.
“We are happy to offer a good emergency call system to our patients because in certain instances, there is only a window of time where we have the best chance of saving a tooth.” – Dr. Amodeo
The following scenarios may be considered emergencies:
- Displaced/knocked out tooth: If the tooth is displaced from the socket, the tooth can be taken out and placed back into the socket if it is relatively clean. If this is not possible, place the tooth in a cup of milk and gives us a call. An emergency of this nature needs to be addressed in a timely fashion to ensure optimal healing and treatment success!
- Chipped/Fractured Teeth: Not every tooth fracture is an emergency; however, if your child is in pain or you have a question, do not hesitate to contact us.
- Gum Swelling or Abscess: This may be caused by tooth decay that has reached the nerve of the tooth. The patient may or may not experience discomfort; however, a timely dental visit will likely determine whether the tooth may be saved or not.
- Toothache: If your child has a toothache, clean the area around the tooth. Rinse the mouth with warm salt water and use dental floss to remove any trapped food between the teeth. DO NOT place aspirin on the gums or tooth. This will cause a burn to the gum tissues. If there is swelling, apply cold to the outside of the face. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain. Call the office to schedule a visit for your child.
- Cold Sore or Canker Sore: Some patients get canker sores periodically. There is no definite cause for a cold sore. It could be due to stress, vitamin, or zinc deficiency or it may have a viral origin. Cold sores usually last for seven to ten days. There is no definite treatment for cold sores. Treatment is aimed towards relieving the discomfort either with over the counter medication or prescription medication.
Save our number!
San Diego Pediatric Dentists: (858) 676-5000
Frequently Asked Questions
The American Academy of Pediatrics and your pediatrician recommend you bring your child for their first dental visit by the age of one or six months after the eruption of their first tooth.
Absolutely. The baby teeth help children chew naturally and speak clearly. Also, starting early with regular brushing and flossing forms a lifelong habit and excellent oral health. Leaving decay/cavities untreated in baby teeth may lead to infections that may become very serious.
Most children are ready to stop an oral habit around the age of three. Habits that persist may alter your child’s bite, jaw form, and the position of their teeth. A critical factor in determining whether a habit may affect your child’s teeth is how frequent and intense the habit is. Our doctors will review tips and strategies to help extinguish difficult oral habits and minimize any risk to your child’s teeth.
Pediatric dentists exclusively attend to children and adolescents as their patients whereas general dentists work with primarily with adults. A pediatric dentist undergoes two to three years of intensive specialized additional training and study where they become very knowledgeable in:
- Complex diagnostic and surgical procedures
- Restorative dentistry
- Child psychology and behavior
- Child development
- Child-related pharmacology
- Care for patients with special needs
- Conscious sedation and general anesthesia
- Management of oral/facial trauma
Primary (baby) teeth can vary in their timing of eruption. In fact, some infants are born with a tooth that has already erupted into their mouth. Most children have their first baby tooth erupt into the mouth between the age of six months and one year. Of course, as soon as teeth erupt, they need to be cleaned either with an infant brush or washcloth. Typically, a child’s first permanent tooth will erupt between 5-7 years of age. However, some children may have early or delayed eruption of teeth that is an important marker for anticipating future oral-facial growth and development. Typically, the first tooth that is lost is a front tooth in the lower jaw.
Prevention is key to a lifetime of oral health, and it begins with daily brushing and flossing of your child’s teeth along with routine examinations and cleanings. Another important step in prevention is altering dietary patterns to limit a child’s exposure to sugar. Our pediatric dentists will thoroughly review all prevention strategies with you and create an individualized preventive plan for your child.
This depends on many factors including where you live and your child’s exposure to fluoride from sources other than water. Our doctors will walk you through a cavity risk assessment for your child to determine if a fluoride supplement may be of benefit to your child.
If your question isn’t here, feel free to ask us! We love parents who want to learn
more about their children's optimal dental health.