Why won’t my daughter’s dentist use fluoride varnish?

Our previous pediatric dentist painted something on our daughter’s teeth, instead of using fluoride trays. We were thankful for this because it prevented the nasty taste that comes along with the trays.

Unfortunately, we had to change dental offices, for insurance reasons, and our new provider uses the trays. When I worriedly asked the hygienist, I was assured that this was a new foam version, with a better taste.

Well, my daughter hated it! She spat it out immediately and began crying hysterically.

When I asked about the painted version, used in our previous dental office, I was told it was “too new” and they don’t stock it. Was the painted version an experimental treatment used on my daughter? I am also now worried about how future dental visits will go.

Thank you,

Jen Smith

Dear Jen,

In regards to your question about the painted fluoride treatment, please rest assured that the varnish method is not experimental. It has been recommended by the American Academy of Dentists since 2006. It is the preferred method for children because it is easy to apply and tolerated much more positively by kids.

However, some dentists are resistant to change, even regarding something like fluoride varnish that has been successful for over a decade. The foam you are referring to is also safe, effective, and trusted, but the varnish is a more favorable option for children. It seems the choice to use the foam method is being made by personal preference, and your dentist should not have advised that it was “too new” or untrustworthy.

In regards to your question about your future dental visits being scared, please keep in mind that if you are fearful or nervous, your daughter will see this and feel the same. Dental trauma and anxiety can be difficult to overcome. If you are ever nervous or questioning a treatment that your child is receiving, try not to let this show on your face. If possible, ask to pause the treatment and speak to the provider in private, so as to not alarm your child. This will allow you to, hopefully, get your questions answered, and feel calm and confident going into the treatment, which will, in turn, help your child to feel the same and have a positive experience with her pediatric dentist.

This post is brought to you by the office of Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Lumineers with Dental Problems?

I wondered if it’s still possible for me to get Lumineers if I have dental problems? I’ve got some mild gum disease as well as a tooth grinding habit. Am I still able to get my smile makeover?


Dear Dana,

Lumineers Advertisement

You’ve asked some great questions. Let’s start with your gum disease. While this won’t keep you from getting a smile makeover, it does absolutely need to be treated. If it progresses, you will eventually lose your teeth. Often people don’t realize how serious periodontal disease is. I would make this treatment a priority.

I’d love to know what type of protection your dentist has provided for you with your tooth grinding. As you grind your teeth, it wears them down. This leads to decay, cracked teeth, and even wearing them down to nubs, requiring a full-mouth reconstruction.

This will be a problem with Lumineers. Grinders tend to break off and chip their veneers. There is a simple solution. A custom-fitted night guard will protect both your teeth and your veneers, giving you a gorgeous smile for many years.

Are Lumineers the Right Choice?

We’ve noticed that many patients who want to remake their smile ask for Lumineers specifically. This is because they’re highly marketed. However, they are just one brand of porcelain veneers. Many cosmetic dentists don’t feel they are the best brand. A lot of that has to do with their lab, which tends not to have the best results.

Other brands of porcelain veneers allow the dentist to choose where they have the veneers made, but the Luminners brand is owned by DenMat and they insist their lab be used.

If you want a beautiful smile makeover, my suggestion is you allow the dentist to choose the brand and not insist on Lumineers. They’ll know what brand will best give you the look you’re trying to achieve.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Cosmetic Dentist Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

Why are silver fillings used with children?

I am a mom of three children under 10. Two of my three have had cavities in need of fillings. The pediatric dentist placed a silver filling for both children. I have also noticed that other children in our lives have silver fillings as well. As an adult, I know I would prefer a filling that matches the natural color of my teeth. I’m just wondering if there is some medical reason that the dentist uses the silver fillings on children?

Thank you,


Dear Stacey,

Thank you for writing. There are several reasons pediatric dentists place silver fillings on children.

  1. Cost: Stainless steel or amalgam fillings cost less than the natural tooth-colored crowns, normally placed on adults. Because baby teeth are eventually replaced by permanent teeth, dentists typically use this option, because these fillings are premade in various shapes and can be placed less expensively.
  2. Decreases number of visits: Because most young children are feeling wiggly, dentists often use nitrous oxide or an anesthesia before a procedure. Therefore, limiting the number of visits is important. This is another advantage to using the premade fillings.
  3. Strength and effectiveness: When a significant portion of the tooth structure is damaged or lost, it needs the full coverage and strength that the stainless steel provides.
  4. The tooth is protected longer: the stainless steel helps to prevent sensitivity, future decay and the need for repairs.

Recommended: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the stainless steel crowns. Therefore, dentists who place these on children are following the recommendation.

This post is sponsored by the office of Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.