Children's Dentistry in Jonesboro AR
Do you want your child to have the highest quality of dental care but don’t want to take them to a different office for their treatment? At the office of Anthony Bartels, DDS, we welcome patients of all ages and look forward to treating your entire family.
Dr. Bartels is a children's dentist in Jonesboro with years of professional experience treating kids, and he enjoys helping them develop a positive foundation for their oral healthcare in the future. As a father of three, Dr. Bartels also has a special knack for meeting children on their level to gain their trust and help them feel safe and secure with us.
To make it easy for you to find the information you need about oral health care for your child, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions related to children's dentistry.
- At what age should I bring my child to the dentist?
- Why do my children need to see the dentist so early?
- How can I prepare my child for their first visit?
- What happens during my child’s first dental visit?
- What does children’s dentistry involve?
- What are some common childhood dental procedures?
- How do dental sealants and fluoride protect my child’s teeth?
- How should I clean my baby’s teeth?
- What can I do to promote good oral health for my child?
- My child is ready for their first appointment. How do I get started?
At what age should I bring my child to the dentist?
According to the American Dental Association, you should bring your child to the dentist within six months of the appearance of the first tooth, but no later than age one. This may seem early, but the truth is that dental problems can start at a young age in kids, and it’s not uncommon for young children to experience gum disease and decay.
Why do my children need to see the dentist so early?
When we meet your little ones at a very young age, we can also begin to acclimate them to the sights, sounds, and equipment of a dental office. This approach allows them to feel confident instead of fearful about future treatment and appointments.
If you wait to bring them for a visit until there’s a problem and they are in pain, they will likely associate dentistry with discomfort. Unfortunately, too many adults today are still fearful of the dentist because of a negative experience they had when they were young.
How can I prepare my child for their first dental visit?
Our team knows how to provide children’s dentistry in Jonesboro that will help your little one develop a positive, happy attitude about their dental care. There are also several things you can do as a parent to get your child ready for their first appointment:
- Keep it simple– When you talk to your child about the visit, avoid details or language like “needles” or “shots” that can confuse or frighten them.
- Keep it positive – Don’t speak negatively about dentistry in front of your child—ever. Little ears pick up a lot, especially when you think they’re not listening!
- Make it fun – Go online or visit the library and check out children’s books or videos that talk about dentistry. Playing pretend by letting them examine your mouth is another fun way to put a positive spin on the experience.
What happens during my child’s first dental visit?
During your toddler’s first visit, we focus on them, their needs, and their boundaries. Dr. Bartels and our team will help them feel comfortable in the dental chair, and if it helps them relax, they can even sit on your lap in the dental chair.
We take them for a ride in the chair and count their teeth, so they get used to having us look in their mouth. Our team knows not to push the boundaries of your child’s comfort level, but if he or she is receptive, Dr. Bartels will perform an exam to see if their oral development is on track.
These visits are also an opportunity for you to provide guidance and answer your questions about issues like thumb-sucking and bottle feeding.
What does children’s dentistry involve?
Once your little one is old enough to cooperate, it is time to implement routine dental exams and dental cleanings. Dr. Bartels monitors your child’s oral health to make sure there are no early signs of orthodontic conditions. He will also regularly monitor the health of their teeth and make sure that home care is on track. If improvements are necessary, he will review different techniques with you to help your child do a thorough job of brushing and flossing.
Stopping problems before they start is crucial. During these visits, we will also discuss preventative treatments such as fluoride or dental sealants to protect your child from decay.
What are some common childhood dental procedures?
Just like most every other area of their lives, children’s dental needs continually change as their oral development takes off. A three-year-old with baby teeth has different needs than those of a six-year-old who may already have permanent teeth erupting.
As your child develops and his or her dental needs change, there are several procedures we may recommend:
- Preventive dental cleanings – also referred to as prophylaxis, they allow us to make sure your child’s teeth are clean and healthy as possible at regular intervals.
- Digital radiographs (x-rays) – According to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, kids who are at high risk for tooth decay need x-rays every six months. Children with a low risk require less frequent x-rays.
- Tooth-colored fillings – repair decay in front or back teeth where appearance is an issue
- Fluoride treatments and sealants help strengthen and protect your child’s teeth from bacteria and cavities.
- Stainless steel crowns – protect severely damaged baby teeth until permanent teeth erupt.
- Extractions – a last-resort procedure used in the case of severe tooth decay. In some cases, we may recommend extraction as needed to facilitate tooth alignment for orthodontic treatment.
We work closely and communicate with you when we see a pattern of poor hygiene or decay. If treatment becomes necessary, we will treat your child as if he or she is our own. We will make sure they are completely comfortable and provide excellent care.
How do dental sealants and fluoride protect my child’s teeth?
The reason we are so concerned about baby teeth is that they play a critical role in your child’s dental development by holding space for permanent teeth that will follow. A baby tooth lost too early not only affects the health of other incoming teeth, but can also affect your child’s ability to eat and speak comfortably.
Preventive treatments like fluoride and sealants are an essential part of early care for your child.
- Fluoride works by strengthening the hard, outer shell of your child’s teeth and making it resistant to acids that form in the mouth and cause cavities. The process is quick and painless: Dr. Bartels applies a thin layer of fluoride to your child’s teeth and will instruct them not to eat or drink for about 30 minutes after application.
- A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating that we apply to teeth like molars with uneven chewing surfaces that tend to attract bacteria that causes cavities. Sealants can be used on baby teeth, on healthy permanent teeth, and can last as long as ten years.
How should I clean my baby’s teeth?
Believe it or not, oral hygiene for your child starts when they are an infant. Even though bacteria in their mouth doesn’t usually harm gums before teeth emerge, you can’t always be sure exactly when that first tooth is going to make its appearance.
It’s a good idea to start the habit of wiping down their gums with a soft wet washcloth or gauze during bath time. There’s no need for toothpaste yet – just wrap the cloth around your finger and rub it gently over the gums. Another benefit of starting early with oral hygiene is that your baby will get used to having his mouth cleaned, making the transition to toothbrushing easier.
When the first teeth appear, use a small soft toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste as big as a grain of rice twice a day and gently brush the surfaces of the teeth and around the gum line. As your child grows, keep them interested and motivated in the process by allowing them to choose their own brush and flavored toothpaste, putting on their favorite song while they brush, or even letting them brush your teeth.
What can I do to promote good oral health for my child?
Since we only see your child a few times a year, you as a parent, need to be proactive with their dental care between visits. There are several steps you can take to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to protect their healthy smiles:
- Maintain routine appointments – Dr. Bartels will recommend how often your child should come in for visits based on their unique needs. Keeping up with these appointments will ensure your child's dental development is on schedule and also help your child avoid the discomfort of dental problems.
- Help them brush – Your child won’t have the motor skills to brush their teeth until they’re able to tie their shoes around age five or six. Until then, you need to show them how to brush correctly.
- Make healthy food choices – We will explain which foods are best for your child and which you should avoid. Be conscious of the sugar content in different foods and drinks, especially fruit juices, which appear to be healthy but are really loaded with sugar and acid that cause decay.
- Make sure they wear a mouth guard – Let us know if your child plays sports, we will be happy to customize a mouth guard to protect their teeth from damage.
My child is ready for their first appointment. How do I get started?
If you are looking for a children's dentist in Jonesboro who's great with kids, call Anthony Bartels, DDS Family Dentistry at (870) 932-9911 and allow us to provide outstanding dental care to your entire family.