Vision Dental Montana
A Great Dentist

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Pediatrics

How can we help you?

When choosing a family dentist, Santa Monica offers many choices. We want you to feel confident in the choice to trust your family's smiles to the Vision Dental team.

Asking questions is a natural part of the process of choosing your dentist, and we are here to help in any way we can. If your question is not listed here, the fastest way to get an answer is to pick up the phone and call. One of our friendly team members will be happy to help.


Our first goal for a child's initial visit is to do our very best to make the child feel comfortable and introduce him or her to the dental setting. Our hope is to provide a fun and positive experience for the child while at the same time ensure that the parents feel confident about their child’s dental health.Child's First Appointment in Santa Monica, CA

Starting the Conversation About Your Child's Health

A large portion of the first dental visit is spent discussing common dental topics and leaving plenty of time for questions and answers. Some common topics of discussion are:

  • How to brush a young child’s teeth
  • What types of foods/beverages are better for dental health
  • When to expect new teeth
  • How to manage teething, pacifier and thumb-sucking habits, bottle and sippy cup use
  • What to do in case of a dental emergency

A Thorough Dental Exam

The next step is often to complete a dental exam, which typically includes a gentle but thorough examination of the teeth, jaws, gums, bite, and oral structures. This is a great time to demonstrate good brushing and flossing techniques. A thorough cleaning and topical fluoride application may be completed. If the child is under age 3 or unable to sit in the dental chair alone, we may recommend completing the exam/cleaning with the parent holding the child in their lap.

From the beginning to the end of your visit, we do our best to ensure you and your child are comfortable and that all your questions or concerns are addressed.

Contact Our 90403 Dental Clinic

If it's time for your child's first appointment, please contact our office to schedule an appointment. 

Keeping a baby comfortable is a priority for every parent, and pacifier or thumb sucking can sometimes help to soothe a baby.effect of pacifier on children's teeth | santa monica, ca

When It Becomes A Concern

Most young children go through this phase, and it only becomes an area of concern if it goes on past the ages of 2 to 4 years old. Most kids will end these habits on their own by this time without any intervention.

What You Can Do If It Continues

Prolonged sucking habits can contribute to crooked teeth or bite problems. If the habit becomes an ongoing issue, a pediatric dentist can work with the parent and child to discuss ways to address this.

Contact Our Santa Monica, CA Dental Clinic

If you have more concerns about your child sucking their thumb or pacifier, we welcome you to contact our Santa Monica, CA dental clinic. We look forward to hearing from you.

My child's first dental visit | Santa Monica, CA

In most cases, we recommend that children visit our practice for their first visit before they celebrate their first visit (or within six months of their first tooth erupting. This recommendation is in line with that of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

All Ages Are Welcome at Our Santa Monica Clinic

While this may seem early, this visit actually serves an important purpose, allowing you to establish your child's new dental home and begin developing a relationship with a dental practice built on trust and comfort. 

When a child has their first wiggly tooth, it’s an exciting time both for the child and the parent!

What They Can DoLose your first tooth | Santa Monica, CA

Though kids may complain of mild discomfort associated with a loose tooth or avoid biting into hard things, there is no need to worry! You can encourage your child to gently wiggle the loose baby tooth with their clean fingers when they are at home, and eventually, the tooth should fall out on its own!

Things to Consider

Recommendations may change if a child has certain medical conditions. If a permanent tooth is coming in and the baby tooth is not showing any signs of being loose, you should let the pediatric dentist know at their regular dental visit. We see this commonly, and it is typically an early sign of dental crowding.

Call Our Santa Monica Dental Clinic

If you have more questions about your child's oral health, please contact our Santa Monica, CA dental clinic. We look forward to hearing from you at Vision Dental Montana.

Little boy smiling | Dentist santa Monica caWe recommend brushing your child’s teeth twice a day – once in the morning and once at night! At the dental visit, we can give you some tips on best ways to brush, even if the child is a bit wiggly!

Contact Our 90403 Dental Clinic

Please contact our Santa Monica dental clinic if you have more questions on your child's oral health or to schedule a pediatric appointment. We look forward to hearing from you at Vision Dental Montana.

It is very normal for children to be nervous about coming to the dentist! We understand that, and it is our priority to provide a child-friendly environment where both the child and parents feel comfortable.

Your Child's Comfort is Our PriorityTwo young girls at edge of swimming pool | Dentist Santa Monica CA

Just like adults, children like to know what is happening so there are no surprises during the visit! A common technique we utilize is “Tell-Show-Do,” where we explain what we are going to do, demonstrate it with models and fun puppets, then let the child watch in a mirror while we work on their teeth.

Things become a lot less scary when a child can understand what we are doing in their own way. That scary “sharp pokey tool” is no longer scary once it’s merely the “tooth counter.” That loud noisy suction is a lot less intimidating once it’s known as “Mr. Thirsty.” Even in the case of fixing cavities, that infamous “dental drill” becomes a lot friendlier when it’s just the “tooth tickler” that washes away the “sugar bugs.”

Forming a Positive Relationship with the Dentist

The best part of being a pediatric dentist is that we have the wonderful opportunity to create a positive first impression about dental health when a child comes in for the first time. We have the chance to show them what a fun and positive experience going to the dentist can be and get them excited about their own dental care at home!

With that said, there are times when dental treatment is necessary and a young child is unable to cooperate. There are methods to address this, which depend on the child’s age, health, and dental needs. In this case, we will work closely with the parent to develop an appropriate prevention-focused treatment plan customized to the child's individual needs. 

Contact Our 90403 Dental Clinic

If your child is ready for their dental appointment, contact our office to schedule with a pediatric dentist. 

Little boy brushing teeth | Dentist santa Monica caThere are definitely certain types of dental issues that can run in the family. For example, if a parent has a history of significant crowding, an underbite, or congenitally missing teeth, it is very possible that the child may develop similar issues. However, this is not always the case, and it will be up to the pediatric dentist to monitor your child’s dental growth and consider orthodontic intervention when indicated.

Call Our Santa Monica Dental Clinic

If you have more questions about your child's dental crowding, please contact our Santa Monica dental clinic. We look forward to hearing from you at Vision Dental Montana. 

Teething Starts YoungBaby smiling | dentist santa monica ca

The first baby tooth typically comes in around six months and the last baby tooth (not counting molars) by the time your child is 2 1/2 to 3 years of age. If you notice your child is extra fussy, drooling, or just an unhappy camper, he or she may be teething! Some youngsters aren’t bothered at all by teething, but for the ones that are, there are definitely remedies to help ease the discomfort.

Our Recommendations in Santa Monica

We generally recommend that you take a more conservative, non-medicinal approach at first. This can include providing your child with a clean, safe item to chew on such as a cold teething ring/toy or a clean cold cloth. The chill from chewing on it will help relieve the irritation. Be careful that the baby is chewing on something age-appropriate without small parts that could be choking hazards. Parents can also try gently rubbing their baby’s gums with a clean finger, but be careful of those new chompers in there!

Medicinal Options

If you would like to try a medicinal pain reliever, you can choose an over-the-counter option such as Children's Tylenol, particularly if your child is irritable or has a slight fever. There are topical gels that can be applied to the gums to soothe them, but the American Academy of Pediatrics states that these medications are usually not necessary or particularly helpful. Your child's saliva will quickly wash away the applied medication, and if too much is swallowed, it can actually be dangerous.

Check with your pediatrician for correct dosages for pain relievers or if your child has significant fever spikes and irritability.

mom helping daughter brush teeth Scientific research has shown that the use of fluoride toothpaste can significantly reduce the risk of dental cavities by strengthening tooth enamel.

Recommended Toothpaste Amount

The AAPD supports using no more than a smear of toothpaste for children under age 3 and a pea size of toothpaste for children ages 3 to 6. Parents should be careful to control the amount of toothpaste used to ensure the child does not swallow too much of it.

Our Santa Monica Clinic is Here To Help

For young children who are unable to rinse or spit, there are non-fluoride toothpaste options available. Each child has unique needs, and your pediatric dentist can make recommendations for you after a visit with your child.

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