Tag Archives: General dentists who treat children

Broken Front Tooth in Child

My seven year old daughter broke a front tooth after a fall. The dentist said it is not anything to worry about and he can schedule me for six weeks from now. I really want this taken care of immediately and asked him for a referral. Instead, he told me that the nerves needed time to settle before anything could be done and no one would see me sooner. Is that accurate?


Dear Karen,

No, there is no reason to wait. My only guess as to why he said that is he wanted to keep you at his practice. That being said, I do want to check something. Did he do an x-ray and tell you everything is fine and he can do the repair in six weeks or did he just tell you everything was fine when you tried to schedule an appointment without actually seeing her? If he didn’t examine her, I would feel more at ease if she at least had an x-ray done to see what you are dealing with.

If there is no damage to the pulp, then a cosmetic fix is all she will need. This can be solved with dental bonding, but you’ll want to go see a cosmetic dentist for that.

If the pulp was damaged, there may be a point where she’ll need a dental crown because the tooth will start turning gray. However, that is a wait-and-see situation.

Find a different pediatric dentist for your daughter. You can even see a general dentist who treats children. They all did a pediatric rotation and she will be in safe hands.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Two Sets of Teeth in Youth

I have two sets of teeth for some of my teeth. I mean that I have both the baby teeth and the adult teeth in my mouth at the same time. How do I fix this? I’m 16 and want a pretty smile before I leave for college.


Dear Kaycie,

teenager smiling with braces

If you have been under the care of a dentist this whole time, you need a new dentist. This should have been addressed a long time ago. You don’t have to see a pediatric dentist. It can also be a general dentist, especially at your age. Though, I would look for a general dentist who also treats children. They tend to be more patient.

To get your mouth in proper alignment, the first thing you will need to do is have every baby tooth that has an adult tooth erupted also extracted. Make sure whoever you end up with does a full set of x-rays so you are sure which teeth have the adult teeth.

From there you have three possible scenarios.

Scenario 1: All Your Adult Teeth Have Erupted

In this situation, you have all of your adult teeth and they have all erupted. If that is the case, the solution is fairly simple and can be done in two steps. Step one is for you to have your baby teeth extracted.

Once that is completed, step two is to have your teeth straightened with orthodontics. You are not limited to metal wires and brackets and more. These days, Invisalign can handle most cases. If you’re unfamiliar with Invisalign, they use clear aligners to straighten your teeth.

Scenario 2: Not All Your Adult Teeth Have Erupted

If you have the adult teeth, but they still haven’t erupted, your dentist can open the area to make it a bit easier. In most cases, they’ll come in after that.

Then, once they are in, you can then get orthodontics done as suggested in the previous scenario.

Scenario 3: You Don’t Have All Your Adult Teeth

In some cases, a patient will have genetically missing teeth. That means there never was an adult tooth to replace the baby one. When this happens, you will still need orthodontics to open up the space where all the teeth are in their proper positions. Once that happens, you will start with a temporary tooth replacement, such as a dental flipper, in order to keep the opening in the right place.

When you are older and your jaw is fully developed, it will be time to get a more permanent replacement. The ideal tooth replacement is a dental implant, so that is what I’d recommend. Though, your dentist can give you all the options.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Is a Pediatric Dentist or General Dentist Better for a Special Needs Teen?


I recently became a foster parent to a teen with special needs. He just wants to be treated like everyone else, so I’m not sure which dentist to take him to. he’s not a child, so he may balk at a pediatric dentist, but I think they may be more patient with him. I’m worried he may be nervous if I take him to a general dentist’s office, and the staff may not be used to treating patients like him.

Which should I go to? Any advice?

Elizabeth, from Raleigh, NC


Hi Elizabeth,

Your worries are valid and echo a lot of concerns shared by parents of special needs children and teens.

Either dentist will be able to accommodate your teen. A pediatric dentist is a dentist who has had additional post-graduate education pertaining specifically to children’s oral needs. Be sure to check your prospective dentist’s credentials, and feel free to call the dentist’s office with questions. Most pediatric dental offices will treat toddlers or young children in addition to teens. Dr. Peck in Phoenix, AZ has dental tips for parents on her website for what parents can expect for children at the dentist.

However, you should involve him in the decision-making process. Ask him where he would like to go, and check websites together. To make him feel more comfortable, see if you can schedule a walk-through of the office prior to your appointment, so he knows what to expect. If you have a dentist’s appointment coming up, invite him along to show him its no big deal. Little things like these can make a big difference when it comes to your child’s treatment.

This blog post is brought to you by Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck, of Peck Family Dentistry.

How Expensive is a Pediatric Dentist?

Hi there,

I have a six-year-old daughter and currently take her to see our family dentist. Recently, I was thinking of switching, though. Our family dentist does not seem used to working with such young children. My daughter was chided for fidgeting during her last cleaning. I think seeing a pediatric dentist would be a good change, but I am a single parent on a strict budget. Do pediatric dentists usually charge more, or would the price be the same as a family dentist?

Taylor, from Rochester, NY


Hi Taylor,

Pediatric dentists are general dentists who have undergone additional training to hone their skills. Each office sets their own fees. You’ll have to check with pediatric dentists in your area to compare prices.

If you are able to find a pediatric dentist in your insurance network, the price will be about the same. The insurance company dictates the fees that dentists can charge. If the work your child needs is preventative, such as cleanings, your plan should cover it. If you go outside your network, the fees may vary.

You don’t necessarily have to see a pediatric dentist. Many general dentists are comfortable working with children – you just need to find an office that sees a lot of children. This way, you won’t need to worry about higher fees, either.

Call your insurance beforehand. They can let you know pricing if you see a specialist, or even refer you to an in-network pediatric dentist. If you do not have insurance, call individual offices and ask for a price quote on common, preventative services. This way, you can make an informed decision on whether you will stick with your current family dentist.

This blog post is brought to you by Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

How to prepare for a child’s first dental appointment

We have scheduled our 5 year old son for his first dental visit. He is very shy and quite apprehensive to people he isn’t comfortable around. Are there are specific ways we can prepare him so he will not be afraid?

Thank you,

Dear Brooke,
It can definitely be stressful to take your child to the dentist for his or her first time. However, there are many things you can do to make the experience a fun and teachable one. The biggest thing to remember is that if you are stressed or anxious, he will feel that. Try not to say things like, “Don’t be afraid,” “It’s not scary,” or “It won’t hurt,” when you discuss the dental appointment. Be sure to remember that any negative dental experiences you have had are your experiences and not necessarily indicative of the type of experience he will have. Talk about the appointment like it is a natural thing for him to do, but show excitement about it being his first appointment, like you would his first haircut. It is a great idea to let him come along with you to one of your appointments, so he can become familiar with the office, the staff, and the routine. If this is not an option, or you are using a new office, call ahead to to find out what you can expect, or visit the office’s website, in order to talk with him about it. Read books about going to the dentist, or watch cartoons. You could also role play at home, first with you playing the dentist role, then switch and let your son be the dentist. But, again, the most important component in this is to build-up the experience as a positive one.

It is also a good idea to try to schedule a morning appointment, so he can be well-rested and have had a good breakfast beforehand. Be sure to arrive to your appointment somewhat early, to allow your son a chance to become used to the office. If, by chance, your office does not allow parents to accompany children to the exam room, you should be aware beforehand to decrease his anxiety about this. However, if you are able to go back, snap a photo of her being a good patient and cooperating.

Many offices give children toothbrushes and other goodies such as balloons or tokens when they are finished. If the dental office does not provide these, it’s a great idea to have a toothbrush and small toy or reward to give him at the end of the appointment. You just want to be sure to reinforce the good behavior.

Also, please remember, if the visit is not as positive as you hoped for, and practiced for, don’t fret. Many children take time to become comfortable to new places and things. It will be good to have already been in the office and provided the experience. Then, try again after a few months. Good luck!

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

Should I see a pediatric dentist for my child’s loose tooth?

My elementary school-aged son has had loose front-teeth for a couple of months now. He complains that they hurt and give her trouble when he eats and applies pressure on them from his tongue. When I look at them, I can see them moving around and that they are very loose, so I can tell they are ready to come out. However, he will not let me near him in order to extract them myself, nor will he pull them out himself. I know a pediatric dentist could remedy the issue quickly and easily but am not sure this is something for which they see patients? I know they will pull teeth that need to be pulled, but will they remove a tooth that is basically hanging by a thread?


Dear Dan,

The ligaments which hold a tooth in place are just like a rubber band. They will stretch out but then tighten back up, causing the process of losing a baby tooth to be quite a process. It appears that your son could be experiencing this to some extent, which could be why it is taking the tooth longer to fall out on its own than you might be used to.

It’s generally a good idea to let baby teeth do their thing until they fall out naturally. Attempting to pull a baby tooth prematurely not only hurts the child but can cause unnecessary trauma to the area. The baby tooth also helps keep the space open for the adult tooth to come in.

If the tooth is bothering your child, seeing a pediatric dentist would not be a bad idea. He or she can assess the situation and ensure nothing out of the ordinary is happening or causing the delay. If the dentist determines that the baby tooth will not come out on its own, he or she may suggest extraction as a solution. But, if you think your son will oppose a dentist, as he does when you try to touch the tooth, it may be better to wait it out and let nature take its course.

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

Why are there white spots on my child’s teeth?

My son is a healthy, growing 14 month-old little boy. He is eating what he should be at this age and was breastfed for his first year. Recently, his front two teeth started to appear and have white spots on them. I haven’t seen this before and wondered if it is something I should have checked by a pediatric dentist, or mention it to my child’s pediatrician? I am not sure if this is something I should be concerned about, or if I should just let it be.

Thank you,

Dear Abby,

It is recommended by the American Dental Association that children visit a dentist for the first time after their first year of age and following the arrival of their first teeth. Typically, this is a quick visit to ensure that everything is developing as it should. It is not like that of an adult visit, which would normally include x-rays, a cleaning, and an exam. Most insurance companies cover this visit as a diagnostic visit and even have a  different billing code for it.

The spots you mention are somewhat concerning. Spots such as these are often times called decalcification spots, or signs of early decay.  They appear when minerals are removed from the tooth and it becomes exposed. Although this doesn’t mean she has a cavity, the exposure of the tooth can cause decay and lead to future cavities. It’s important that your child is seen by a pediatric dentist right away, as they may suggest fluoride treatments to strengthen the tooth and prevent future decay.

This decalcification is not typically seen in children this young and may be the cause of another issue. It’s important to take steps to care for your child’s teeth, but, at this point, it is too early to be seeing signs of decay. Therefore, it could be a problem with the development of your child’s teeth and you should work with your pediatric dentist, as well as your child’s doctor, to better determine the cause.

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

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.

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.

Pediatric Dentist Missed Long Coming Cavity

My son has a bit of trouble at the pediatric dentist’s office. We’ve only been twice, but both times they were unable to get x-rays on him. The exam and cleanings seem to go fine. The x-rays scare him. Both times, they’ve sent us on our way saying everything looked fine. Then, two days after our last appointment, he came to my room crying with a toothache and massive fever. I gave him some pain reliever and called the pediatric dentist. They weren’t open, so I called my dentist who agreed to see him. Thankfully, because he turned out to have a massive tooth infection on his back molar. My dentist was able to give him an x-ray without any problem. The decay was so bad he couldn’t save the tooth, which worries me because it was a molar. He gave him some dental sedation and extracted the molar right there. He said that cavity was a long time coming. How did the pediatric dentist miss it?


Dear Lucy,

A child holding a teddy bear at the pediatric dentists office

It’s hard to say why the pediatric dentist missed it. I’m curious as to what your dentist did differently than your pediatric dentist which helped your son feel comfortable with the x-rays. It sounds like your family dentist is good with children. If you’re not satisfied with your current pediatric dentist you may consider you and your son going to the same practice. It’s perfectly fine for general dentists to treat children if they’re good with them.

I’m glad your dentist was able to deal with the infection so quickly. That could have turned out horribly if it spread further. You’re right it’s a shame that the molar couldn’t be saved. Hopefully, your dentist placed a space maintainer there for him. Otherwise, your son’s teeth will shift and cause crowding in his teeth. That will mean expensive orthodontics. You definitely don’t want to deal with that.

Effective Pediatric Dental Care

You’re wise to take your son to the dentist regularly. Too many parents wait until there’s a dental emergency to bring their children to the dentist. That makes their first experience a negative one, which often leads to dental anxiety.

It sounds like he responded well to dental sedation for the extraction. That’s good news too. The goal in pediatric care, along with good oral health, is to feel positive about the dentist.

Hopefully, this infection hasn’t completely thrown him off and he can enjoy going again.

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