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Palos Pediatric Dentistry

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can we help you?

If you are looking for a new dental office for your child, you probably have a lot of questions about which office is right for your family. We understand! At Palos Pediatric Dentistry, we know that your little one is number one in your life, so Dr. Richard Facko has made a commitment that they are number one with us, as well.

Here is a list of some of the most commonly asked questions we hear in our pediatric dental office. We know this list does not include all of the questions you might have, so we encourage you to give us a call at our Palos Heights pediatric dental office to discuss your individual needs.
 

Other

children's dentistry | palos heights il dentistYour Child's Comfort is Our First Priority!

We value the parent-child relationship, and we do allow parents to accompany their child or children throughout their experience at our office. While we do invite you back into treatment rooms, we also ask that you are positive and supportive and that you let our experienced staff direct the interaction with your child.

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Contact us to schedule an appointment with our friendly, experienced team today!

permament tooth coming in | mom with daughter Permanent Teeth and Baby Teeth

You and your child are so excited about losing that first tooth, but then the permanent tooth starts coming in and the baby tooth hasn’t fallen out yet, and he starts to look like Jaws!  Don’t worry, this is very common, and it almost always resolves naturally.

We Will Monitor Your Child's Baby Teeth

During an appointment at Palos Pediatric Dentistry, I would want to check to be sure that they baby tooth is at least a little mobile.  Then I would monitor at their check-up visits to be sure that the baby tooth is loosening more and more.  Most often, the baby tooth falls out on its own.  After it does, pressure from the tongue helps to move the permanent tooth forward, toward the correct position.

Contact Us

Please give us a call if you're concerned about your child's tooth.

Pediatric Dentistry in Palos Heights, IL Palos Heights Area Map | Pediatric Dentistry in Palos Heights IL

We are a pediatric dental office located in Palos Heights, IL, and are involved in our community and the surrounding areas.  Many of our patients drive from Oak Lawn, Orland Park, Tinley Park, Homer Glen, and Palos Park.  Our location is centralized to serve many of these large communities.

Community Sponsorship

Are you hosting a local event?  Contact us about sponsorship! Palos Pediatric Dentistry loves being involves in our community. We would love to help support your event and connect with our community!

Are there any alternatives to sedation or general anesthesia?

single tooth anesethesia | dentist palos heights IL For a variety of reasons, there are some parents who are against sedation or anesthesia, or there are some children who are not able to tolerate anesthesia.  There are also situations where anesthesia is the only reasonable option.  I try to work with each individual family to come up with a treatment option that meets your child’s dental needs and fits with your values and priorities.

Where do you perform general anesthesia?

I work out of three locations for general anesthesia cases.  Advocate Christ Children’s Hospital is staffed by board certified anesthesiologists with advanced training in pediatrics.  The same anesthesia group covers Tinley Woods Surgery Center, where I am also on staff.  Finally, I work with both Dr. Messieha and Dr. Higgins for in-office anesthesia.  There are several factors that can affect which location might be best for your child.  I am happy to discuss those factors in person.

insurance | palos heights ILAccepted Insurance Plans at Palos Pediatric Dentistry

We accept most types of dental insurance. As a courtesy, we will submit your dental claims to your insurance company and apply payments to your account. Even if we are not an in-network provider, we will still submit all claims for you. We do ask for payment of the estimated patient portion at the time of service.  Please see our Financial Information for more details.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about financing your child's dental care, please do not hesitate to contact our Palos Heights office. A friendly member of our team would be happy to answer all your questions. 

Preventive Services

Your dental health is essential for your quality of life, and the journey starts as a child. It may seem like a chore when it comes to convincing little ones to get ready, taking time off work, and being on time for your dental appointments. 

However, it's essential that you and your child both see the value in their oral health investment. At Palos Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Richard Facko takes the time to explain the importance of clean and healthy teeth and gums. We know that dental cleanings may not be something your child looks forward to, which is why we make our appointments fun and gentle. 

The Importance of Dental Cleanings

Even if you and your family brush and floss every day, there is still plaque and particles of food that love to get into hard to reach spaces that only a dental professional can reach, especially if any teeth are crooked. 

When plaque builds up, it can lead to gum disease or infection, which can lead to premature tooth loss. Children can have a difficult time fully reaching or cleaning all surfaces of their teeth, which can make dental cleanings very important. We reach spots that children cannot reach with special tools and skills to prevent tooth decay. 

We recommend visiting your Palos Heights children's dentist at least twice a year to minimize plaque buildup and food deposits. If your son or daughter is at a higher risk for cavities, we may recommend fluoride treatments and dental sealants to keep their teeth healthy.

Call Us to Schedule Your Child's Next Dental Cleaning

We love keeping your child's teeth and gums strong and healthy, and it starts with our gentle and thorough dental cleanings. Call Palos Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule your next dental visit. 

Children's Dental Appointment | palos heights il dentistKids' Dentistry Appointments on Your Schedule

We understand that raising a family is a busy affair!  That's why we offer plenty of hours after school.  We are also open on Saturdays for your convenience.  We have found that many young children do better with morning appointments, before they are exhausted from a busy day at preschool or at home.  Teens with busy school and activity schedules will love the after-school and weekend hours so they don't miss a minute of practice!

Contact Us

 Call us today to set up an appointment! Our caring team will work around your family's busy schedule to get your kids the dental care they need. 

Pediatric Dentistry in Palos Heights, IL

Dental x-rays serve a very important purpose for children. They allow us to detect cavities between the teeth early, when fixing these cavities is less complicated. Also, x-rays can help us to assess your child’s growth and development. However, we use x-rays sparingly and only when indicated. We prescribe x-rays based on your child’s risk for developing cavities, not by universal rules.

Fluoride is typically applied to your child’s teeth after cleaning. Using fluoride after a cleaning helps replace the fluoride-rich layer of enamel that was removed during the cleaning.

Contact Us

Contact our children's dental office in Palos Heights, IL to schedule a preventive dental appointment for your child. Frequent dentist visits are one of the best way to prevent cavities and help your child maintain their oral health.

 

There are a couple of different ways you can help ensure your child develops good oral health habits that can last a lifetime.

First Method

kid with good teeth and oral health habits The first is to make dental hygiene fun. Kids love to mimic what their parents do, so brush and floss together. You might want to invest in a special toothbrush or toothpaste that makes the experience more enjoyable for children. Because proper toothbrushing should last a full two minutes, invest in a timer for kids. An old-fashioned sand timer is a fun option because children enjoy watching the sand move through the hourglass.

Second Method

The second way to help develop good oral health habits is through regular visits to the dentist. These should start at an early age—usually be your child’s first birthday or when those first teeth begin to erupt. It’s important to bring kids in regularly from a young age; studies have shown that kids who go to the dentist regularly are more likely to become adults who continue to take good care of their oral health.

Our Palos Heights pediatric dental team loves treating kids, from their first appointment with us to meeting their pediatric orthodontics needs when they are a bit older. Call us today to make an appointment!

children's dental health and habits | palos heights il dentistOral Health for Kids

The cornerstone of our practice is prevention.  If we can help you keep your child's teeth healthy, this will lead to a lower cost of dental care, fewer appointments, less time missed from school, and no anxiety regarding dental care.  Some kids tend to be more cavity prone than others.  Part of every exam includes a parent and child interview to assess hygiene practices and diet at home.  This information, combined with findings from a clinical exam, help us to determine your child's risk for developing decay in the future.  Then, we provide guidance regarding a specific cavity prevention plan based on your child's cavity risk.

Children's Dentistry in Palos Heights, IL

For children at high risk for cavities, we offer a variety of preventive services.  Some things we like to think about for our cavity-prone children:

  • More frequent cleaning intervals
  • Prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste
  • Sealants on either primary or permanent teeth
  • Diet counseling to identify behaviors that are high risk for development of cavities
  • Oral hygiene instructions, including demonstration, to improve home care

 

Contact Us

If you have questions about preventing cavities in your child, please contact our local office to schedule an appointment.

children's dentist palos heights Dental care is the most unmet health need in children even though tooth decay remains the most common chronic childhood illness. Advancements in children’s dentistry, including water fluoridation, fluoride toothpaste, and improvements in preventative treatments make dental decay easier to control, yet most children will experience tooth decay at one time or another.

Is there anything I can do as a parent?

Many parents want to know how they can prevent decay in their children. What most parents don’t know is that until about the age of eight years old, children lack the dexterity to brush well enough on their own. They will need your assistance until then. When they are capable of brushing on their own, they may need assistance with their follow through.

What else can prevent decay?

Brushing with fluoride toothpaste and receiving additional fluoride treatments (if necessary) at their regular dental cleaning appointments can help keep their enamel strong. Regular professional dental cleanings are essential to maintaining your child’s dental health. 

We also offer another form of preventative children’s dentistry called dental sealants. Dental sealants are a clear coating Dr. Richard Facko may recommend for patients with deep grooves in their teeth or who are more susceptible to dental decay for other reasons. Sealants provide a barrier between the foods your child eats and the chewing surfaces of their teeth.

multiple children | children's dentistry | palos heights ilFamily Dentist Appointments at Palos Pediatric Dentistry

Balancing school, activity, and sports schedules of one child is hard enough.  With multiple children, there's what feels like an endless list of obligations.  We offer family block appointments so that all of your children can be seen on the same day.  Hopefully with all good checkups we'll see you again six months later!

Contact Us

Contact our dental office in Palos Heights, IL to schedule back-to-back dentist appointments for all your children.

family dentist palos heights It can be hard waiting with young children for an appointment - they get anxious and it can be hard for them to sit in the waiting room for long periods.  We do our best to organize our schedule in such a way that we run on time, even early!  We do not double-book appointments; we reserve time just for your child.  In order for us to run on-time with all of our patients, we ask that you arrive at your appointment on time.  If you are 15 minutes or more late for an appointment, we may ask you to reschedule to be fair to the family who is waiting for the appointment after your child's.

We take the time to meet all of your child's needs!

In addition to trying our best to seat your child on-time, we also spend as much time as needed with each individual child.  In the rare case where we are running late, please know that we always give everyone, including your child, the amount of time that they need at each appointment.  Call us today for more information!

It might seem like an unnecessary step to take your child to a completely separate dental office for their dental care. However, children’s dentists received the skills and training necessary to treat the unique needs of your child. In fact, children’s dentists often go through several additional years of training and residency in order to provide your little ones with the best care possible. Dr. Facko is no exception! He completed a two-year residency in pediatric dentistry and earned his Master’s Degree on Oral Science.

Dr. Facko understands children!

In addition to his specialized training, Dr. Facko has children of his own and intimately understands the expectations from his patients’ parents. He knows that they want high-quality, gentle care for their kids. They also want to know all of their options so they can make the best decision for their child.

What are your services?

We offer preventative, restorative, and orthodontic services as well as additional services including sedation and dentistry for kids with special needs. We know how to communicate in a way that will put your child at ease and help them learn about their dental treatment in a way that they can understand.

Children’s dentistry is never one-size-fits-all because each child is completely unique. That is why we customize your child’s dental care to meet their needs and to provide a foundation for a lifetime of excellent oral health.

children's dentistry | palos heights IL dentistChildren's Dentist in Palos Heights, IL

You may wonder what makes pediatric dentists different. After all, it might seem easier to take your little ones to your general dentist instead of making a special trip. However, numerous advantages exist for taking your child to a dentist that specializes in children’s dentistry. 

Specialized Training

Each pediatric dentist goes through approximately two additional years of training in order to learn the skills necessary to provide excellent dental care for your child. They learn everything from the language to use when explaining procedures to children to how to treat children with special needs. Dr. Facko served a two year residency in pediatric dentistry so that he could effectively and successfully treat dental conditions specific to children.

A Gentle Touch 

We hope all dentists are gentle, but it is especially important when treating kids. The experiences they have now will shape the future of their dental wellness and we want to make it a positive experience! 

We avoid scary words and describe treatment in such a way that helps them understand and feel safe.

Your Child is Still Growing

Children are not little adults. They are still growing! That means that the correct interceptive treatment now can help them avoid many dental conditions in their future. We proactively treat children in order ensure a beautiful and healthy smile for a lifetime.  Call us today for more information.

 

Infant Oral Health

Babies first tooth | Palos Pediatric Dentistry

baby | Dentist for Babies Palos Heights

The first year as a parent is one of the most exciting times in anyone's life. It's easy to see why many times people forget that when the first tooth comes in, a lifetime of oral health is just beginning. Those early days, months, and years help to build a solid foundation of healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Our focus at Palos Pediatric Dentistry, PC is to start with healthy habits from the beginning, so that all children can enjoy a lifetime of oral health.

Don't overlook finding a dentist who is specially trained to care for your young child's unique dental needs. Richard Facko, DDS, is an American Board Certified Pediatric Dentist and is excited to share with you some tips to keep your baby's teeth healthy!

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

We recommend a child's first dental visit by their first birthday. While many parents can't imagine what a dentist could possibly do with an infant, we strongly believe that this is one of the most important dental visits in your child's life. During this first visit, in addition to addressing any specific concerns you may have, we will:

  • Clean your baby's teeth (at this age, a thorough toothbrush cleaning is sufficient)
  • Examine your baby's mouth, and provide information about dental development
  • Apply fluoride, a protective coating to help prevent cavities Demonstrate how to properly clean your baby's teeth and gums
  • Discuss your baby's dietary habits- it's much easier to start off with a tooth-healthy diet than to have to make changes late
  • Provide information about what to expect with your baby's dental development in the future
  • Discuss trauma prevention, and what to do in case of an emergency If we start early and establish good habits at home, we can avoid problems in the future, ensuring that your child grows up with positive dental experiences and saving money on expensive dental treatment!

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

While some families choose to bring their babies and infants to their family doctor, the majority prefer that their child sees someone who specializes in health care for children. Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. We are sensitive to the unique needs of children, and our practice is limited to children and adolescents. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of specialty training following dental school, including advanced training for children with special healthcare needs and with extensive dental needs.

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?

Your child's "baby" teeth are very important! They help your child speak clearly and chew nutritious foods. Primary teeth also provide a path for permanent teeth to follow when they erupt. Studies show that children with healthy teeth are more likely to grow up into adults with healthy teeth.

Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?

The "dentist" answer is that thumbsucking and pacifier habits should cease by a child's first birthday. Our answer as parents ourselves is that there isn't much that can be done at three years old, particularly for children with thumb and finger sucking habits. We generally recommend stopping pacifier use by three years old, unless a child begins sucking a thumb as a replacement for the pacifier. Prolonged sucking habits result in problems that are usually easily fixed with braces or other appliances. Our approach to sucking habits is based on each individual, and we would be happy to discuss your child's habit with you.

How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?

Nursing a baby to sleep is natural, but as your child gets older it may become problematic. By your child's first birthday, we recommend that you stop nursing when your child wakes up in the middle of the night. Nursing your child to sleep or feeding during the night may allow the last sip of milk to sit on your child's teeth for hours. If your baby wakes at night, switching to a bottle with water in it may also help deter your child from waking up, since it isnt as appealing to them, and could result in more restful sleep for you and your baby in the long run.

Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?

Fluoride toothpaste is safe for ALL children, and should be used as soon as the first tooth begins to erupt! Use a "smear" of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child under two years old. This means, if you turn the brush sideways, you don't really see a "lump" of toothpaste; just enough to cover the tips of the bristles. After the second birthday, dispense a "pea-size" amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child's toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. It is expected that young children will likely swallow all of the toothpaste that is on their brush, and it is safe to swallow toothpaste in the amounts mentioned. Please keep the fun-flavored toothpaste out of your child's reach to prevent accidental ingestion.

children's dental health and habits | palos heights il dentistOral Health for Kids

The cornerstone of our practice is prevention.  If we can help you keep your child's teeth healthy, this will lead to a lower cost of dental care, fewer appointments, less time missed from school, and no anxiety regarding dental care.  Some kids tend to be more cavity prone than others.  Part of every exam includes a parent and child interview to assess hygiene practices and diet at home.  This information, combined with findings from a clinical exam, help us to determine your child's risk for developing decay in the future.  Then, we provide guidance regarding a specific cavity prevention plan based on your child's cavity risk.

Children's Dentistry in Palos Heights, IL

For children at high risk for cavities, we offer a variety of preventive services.  Some things we like to think about for our cavity-prone children:

  • More frequent cleaning intervals
  • Prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste
  • Sealants on either primary or permanent teeth
  • Diet counseling to identify behaviors that are high risk for development of cavities
  • Oral hygiene instructions, including demonstration, to improve home care

 

Contact Us

If you have questions about preventing cavities in your child, please contact our local office to schedule an appointment.

Studies show that dietary preferences are established very early in life, sometimes within just the first year. It is a great opportunity as a parent to provide your child with a healthy foundation that will stay with your child forever. Many products are on the market and targeted toward children that can be harmful to their teeth, including those "squeeze packs" of pureed fruit, juice boxes, and fruit snacks. We work with all of our families to give personalized recommendations for each child. Investing a little time and energy now pays huge long-term dividends for your child.

Stay Away From Juice!

Avoid giving your child juice. Avoid giving your child juice. That's not a type-o, we believe it's the most important thing you can do for babies and toddlers to prevent cavities. This includes no-sugar-added, all-natural, 100% organic juice, or whatever else the manufacturer wants to tell you to sell their product. There are no nutritional benefits to drinking fruit juice; it would be much better to eat whole fruit and drink water or milk. And sweetened beverages are the most common reason why young children get cavities.

All of our dental check-ups include diet counseling. We take the time to review your child's diet, and make specific recommendations for ways to improve to reduce the likelihood that your child will get cavities. Sometimes little changes can make a huge difference!

Your Orland Park pediatric dentist recommends cleaning your child's teeth as soon as possible. Right after birth, parents can gently clean their baby's gums with a soft toothbrush made for infants or even a clean, damp washcloth. 

Brushing your son's or daughter's teeth is essential once they start teething. Using a minimal amount of fluoride toothpaste (no bigger than a grain of rice), they can begin brushing baby teeth as soon as they emerge, twice a day. 

Your child's first teeth serve many purposes, including serving as a placeholder for permanent teeth and aiding in digestion. Even though they are temporary, it is still essential to take care of them in order to set forth healthy oral health habits.

When baby teeth are neglected or decayed, they can affect your child's nutrition and speech development. If a baby tooth falls out prematurely, it can cause the adult tooth to emerge crooked. 

Keep Your Child's Teeth Healthy

Your children's dentist, Dr. Richard Facko of Palos Heights, IL, can provide guidance or tips on how to keep your baby's smile healthy and happy. It's essential to start early, be gentle, and help promote healthy oral health habits.

Bringing your child to regular dental cleanings, even as a baby, can help them normalize the dental office and feel comfortable once their teeth start coming in. 

Bring Your Baby in for a Dental Check-In

It's never too soon to start caring for your child's oral health. Give Palos Pediatric Dentistry a call today to schedule your baby's first visit. 

Infant Oral Health in Palos Heights, IL toddler with sippy cup | Infant Oral Health in Palos Heights IL

A bottle or sippy cup is only a method of delivery, neither is inherently “bad”.  However, they both can promote bad habits.  Much more important than the bottle or sippy cup is the contents of the container.  A bottle or sippy cup with anything other than milk or water is a big no-no.  The reason is that it allows your baby to sip as she pleases, often resulting in long periods of exposure to sugared beverages.

Contact Us

Contact our local, kid-friendly office in Palos Heights, IL to learn more about how to care for your child's oral health.

baby with a few teeth | Infant Oral Care in Palos Heighs IL

Infant Oral Care in Palos Heights, IL

Caring for your infant's oral health can be challenging for new parents. I don’t have any better way to get your baby to cooperate than you do.  Here’s my advice: be consistent, don’t get frustrated, do your best.  If you’re getting the fluoride toothpaste in her mouth, you’re doing some good.  Some babies are more difficult with brushing than others, it’s just part of who we are.  If you’re really concerned, use your energy and frustration to motivate yourself to keep them away from juice and sweets.  That will more than make up for any deficiencies with tooth brushing.

Contact Us

Contact our office to schedule an appointment for your child or to learn more about strategies to help with brushing your child's teeth.

Thumb sucking and pacifier use are normal for babies.  It helps to soothe them and keep them comforted.  Most babies who use a pacifier or suck a thumb do so when they are tired, sleeping, or in need of comfort.  It’s a natural thing, and I think it’s great.  Babies who are able to self-soothe tend to sleep better, are well-rested, less crabby, and interact better within their own environment.  If given the choice between a baby who sucks her thumb, sleeps well, and learns well, who might need braces because of the sucking habit, OR a baby who doesn’t suck her thumb, doesn’t sleep as well, is tired and crabby, and still might need braces (for other reasons), I think you know my answer.  Some kids do have problems that need to be corrected by the orthodontist with braces, but I wouldn’t let that worry me with my own kids.

When will this stop?

As your baby grows, you’ll probably notice she sucks her thumb less during the day.  Eventually, the habit ceases altogether.  Most thumb and pacifier habits have stopped by the time your child enters kindergarten.  For those who make it past kindergarten, I would be happy to discuss ways that you can help your child stop his habit.

children's toothache | dentist palos heights ilToothache in Kids

I find that Children’s Motrin or the generic version, ibuprofen, works best for tooth pain.  I do not prescribe narcotics for dental pain under any circumstance.  If ibuprofen is not effective at managing your child’s tooth pain, you can call my office to discuss alternatives for pain management. 

Children's Dental Emergencies

If your child is in a lot of pain, they knocked out a tooth, or their tooth pain presents as sensitivity to temperatures, then it may be a dental emergency. If that is the case, our office will be able to get your child in sooner to treat their dental pain fast.

mother and daughterI have mixed feelings about “teething”.  The research that is available today doesn’t support many of the teething complaints that parents have.  The most common finding when a baby is actually teething is an elevated temperature, maybe 99 degrees, for a day or two before the tooth breaks through the gums and lasting for a day or two afterward.  Most times this goes completely undetected by parents.  Any fever over that temperature (99 is not considered a fever) is not likely to be dental in origin.  If you have concerns about a fever, it is best to contact your pediatrician.

What about other symptoms?


The other symptoms related to teething simply aren’t supported by any research.  I am not saying that they do or don’t exist, but I do feel that they are often overstated.  If your baby seems to be having a difficult time with teething, I recommend one of those teething rings that you can keep in the freezer.  If you feel that your baby needs more comfort than that, ask your pediatrician if you can use Tylenol.  Don’t give your baby any topical anesthetic such as Orajel.  It’s a drug, just like Tylenol, except it isn’t dosed by weight.  Although rare, there have been cases of babies having too much Orajel and getting sick.  Not to mention it doesn’t seem to be an effective treatment anyway.

 

When should I begin brushing my baby’s teeth?

I always recommend that you begin brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts.  Don’t start brushing your baby’s teeth, start brushing your baby’s tooth! Because there’s only a tooth or two, it only takes a few seconds.  But, it’s important to remove plaque from your baby’s teeth, and it also teaches them very early on what a toothbrush is and what it’s used for.  It will quickly become part of your baby’s routine.  Before long, you’ll have a three-year-old who is reminding you that you forgot to brush his teeth!

What kind of toothbrush should I use?

There’s a whole shelf full of baby toothbrushes, but simpler is usually better.  I like the silicone brushes as a “toy”, but not as your baby’s real toothbrush.  I always recommend a regular nylon-bristled toothbrush, similar to the one adults use but in a miniature size.  I don’t feel comfortable with kids running around the house with a real toothbrush in their mouth, so if your baby wants a brush to play with I would use the silicone variety as a toothbrush toy.

What kind of toothpaste should I use?

This used to be a risk versus benefit question, and the old answer was to use fluoride toothpaste for “high-risk” babies.  Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to identify at such a young age who is really at high-risk for cavities.  As a result, I recommend using fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first tooth erupts.  For babies, I recommend a “smear” of toothpaste – just enough to cover the tips of the bristles.  The benefit of using fluoride toothpaste to strengthen enamel outweighs the risk of such a small amount of ingested fluoride toothpaste.

When it comes to fluoride toothpaste, they’re almost all created equal.  Both kids and adult fluoride toothpaste contains 1000ppm fluoride.  The main difference is the flavor, and some adult toothpaste contains additives for whitening, sensitivity, etc.  I would recommend finding a flavor that seems pleasing to your child.  Then keep it out of her reach so she doesn’t get a hold of it when you’re not looking.

When do we begin flossing?

I don’t typically recommend floss for babies.  Focus on brushing twice per day with a smear of fluoride toothpaste.  We’ll get to that when they get older.

 

children's dentistry | palos heights il dentist Infant Oral Health in Palos Heights, IL

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child sees a dentist by their first birthday.

Your Child's First Visit

There are several reasons for your child to have their first visit at such an early age. First, it allows us to review healthy feeding practices and oral hygiene. It also allows your child to experience the dental setting during a fast and "happy" appointment. During your child's first appointment, we typically brush their teeth with a toothbrush, perform an exam with a mirror, and apply fluoride. Lastly, visiting the dentist at such an early age really gets kids on the right track and establishes a “dental home” for your child so they can feel comfortable and confident in future dental visits.

Pediatric Restorative Dentistry

kid's dentist palos heights ilOur One-Year Dental Warranty

All dental work completed at Palos Pediatric Dentistry is covered by our no-questions-asked one-year warranty.  This means if your child falls again and breaks the same tooth, we will complete any needed repairs to treatment completed in the past year free-of-charge!

Our Warranty on Sealants

We also warranty our sealants for three years, which is important if the tooth erupts farther, or even if your child chips a sealant while chewing on ice!  We know you work hard to provide the best dental care to your kids, and we're always willing to stand behind our work!

Contact us for any questions!

Most people, including children, will develop one or more cavities in their lifetime. This dental health issue is typical. However, it is possible to lower your child's risk of decay with excellent oral care habits at home and regular dental visits.

Children may indulge in sweets, and it is difficult or impossible to brush their teeth following every partaking—especially school-aged children. But as a rule, the following tips should help reduce cavities in your child:

  • Take your child to the dentist twice each year for check-ups (and teeth cleanings for older children).
  • Lower their intake of sweets and acidic fruit juices.
  • Assist with brushing until your child is ready to handle the task on his or her own.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Talk to your child's Palos Heights, IL dentist if you notice teeth grinding.

Your child's dentist in Palos Heights can provide fluoride treatments and dental sealants to help combat tooth decay, and teeth cleanings help eliminate the debris and bacteria that lead to tooth decay.

Schedule an Exam with Your Child's Palos Heights Dentist Today

We love to help children get excellent head starts with their oral health. If you're looking for a children's dentist, or if you have any questions, we are here for you. Contact a member of our kid-friendly team today.

family dentist palos heights It can be hard waiting with young children for an appointment - they get anxious and it can be hard for them to sit in the waiting room for long periods.  We do our best to organize our schedule in such a way that we run on time, even early!  We do not double-book appointments; we reserve time just for your child.  In order for us to run on-time with all of our patients, we ask that you arrive at your appointment on time.  If you are 15 minutes or more late for an appointment, we may ask you to reschedule to be fair to the family who is waiting for the appointment after your child's.

We take the time to meet all of your child's needs!

In addition to trying our best to seat your child on-time, we also spend as much time as needed with each individual child.  In the rare case where we are running late, please know that we always give everyone, including your child, the amount of time that they need at each appointment.  Call us today for more information!

Behavior Guidance

kid's dentist palos heights il Establishing Trust With Your Palos Heights Dentist

If you think your child will have a difficult time cooperating, it is a great time for you to come in! We would rather meet your little one several times for happy check-ups so that your child gets to know our office and builds trust with our team. This way, if your child is ever in need of dental treatment or has an emergency, cooperation will be easier because they will have established a level of trust with us.

The Importance of Regular Dentist Visits

For children who are inherently anxious, regular dental visits are even more important.  If we can see your child regularly for cleanings and check-ups, we can help keep your child's teeth healthy.  Healthy teeth mean fewer appointments, less invasive treatment, fewer missed days of school, no dental pain, and less anxiety about the dentist.

How often should I brush my child’s teeth?

I always recommend brushing twice per day, once in the morning and once before bed.  The timing of the first brushing isn’t critical – it can be as soon as your child wakes up, before or after breakfast, or before he leaves for school.  At night, it is best to brush right before bed.  After your child’s teeth have been brushed at night, he should not have anything else to eat, and only water to drink.  Rather than fight the food battle at my house, my kids know that if they eat after they brush, they just have to brush again before they go to bed.

Is an electric toothbrush better?

Research studies regarding electric toothbrushes has been flawed – it is almost always performed by the companies that manufacture and sell electric toothbrushes. There’s a more recent study that was designed properly and did actually show that patients brushed better with an electric toothbrush than a manual toothbrush.  For kids – I would say use whatever they like.  If they don’t like the feeling of an electric toothbrush, there’s no way that they will be as effective with brushing as a manual toothbrush, regardless of what anyone says.  Also, even the most expensive toothbrush doesn’t do anyone any good if it’s buried in a bathroom drawer and never gets used.  Toothbrush effectiveness is more about time and technique than it is about the tool that you use.

What kind of toothpaste should we use?

I always recommend using fluoride toothpaste.  For younger children who are still swallowing the toothpaste, I suggest using a small amount – like the size of one or two grains of rice.  Once children are able to spit out the toothpaste, you can increase the amount to the size of a pea.  Adult toothpaste has the same amount of fluoride as kids’ toothpaste.  The main difference is the flavor, but adult toothpaste can also have additives for whitening, sensitivity, etc.  I would try to find a flavor that your child likes, whether it’s fruity kids toothpaste or mint flavored adult toothpaste.

When do we start flossing?

Cavities on the baby teeth are most common in those in-between areas – where two teeth touch.  While your first thought might be that flossing is the best way to prevent cavities between the teeth, the research doesn’t support that idea.  The best way to prevent any cavity on any surface of a tooth is to drink water and white milk only, avoid sticky sweets and brush twice per day with fluoride toothpaste.

Studies regarding the benefits of floss are very conclusive that floss does help to prevent gum disease, but gum disease tends to be a problem in adulthood, not childhood.  I do believe that flossing daily is a great habit for children to get into, but I would never sacrifice time or effort with tooth brushing in order to add floss to their routine.  When you feel that your child has mastered tooth brushing, then I think it’s appropriate to encourage flossing daily.

Emergencies

dental emergencies | palos heights il dentistWe know that when your child experiences a dental emergency, it can be scary and traumatic. We are here to help! Because children are active and playful, they are at a greater risk for dental emergencies on the playground, but dental emergencies are not limited to accidents.

Pain, decay, tooth loss, and gum disease can all affect your child. We can help and share a few things to remember when it comes to your little one and potential dental emergencies.

Suspicious symptoms? 

If you suspect a head injury, dizziness, or if your child experiences bleeding that will not stop, take them to the nearest emergency room for treatment. They may have other injuries that require immediate attention.

Don’t panic. We are here to help. If your child experiences dental pain, call us right away. We will advise you about the next best step. If an emergency exam is necessary, we will do our best to fit your child into our schedule quickly.

If your child loses a tooth in an accident, try placing it back in the socket and holding it there. We may be able to save the tooth. If you cannot place it back in the socket, keep it moist in a small container of milk and call us right away.

When in doubt, call us! 

We know that as a parent, you never want to have to take your child to the dentist for an emergency. We would like to help you avoid emergency dental visits as well! One of the best ways to keep your little one’s teeth healthy and comfortable is by bringing them in for their routine preventative appointments and professional dental cleanings. That way, we can stop most dental emergencies before they start!

Prevention, Prevention, Prevention!

When we see a condition that we’re concerned about, we will let you know right away. That way, we can address the issue before it causes your child pain or problems.

In order to keep your child free of dental emergencies while at play, we offer custom sports guards for them to wear during practice. Wearing a sports guard can protect your child’s smile when they miss the ball or get a little too rowdy on the field. 

We also know that some dental emergencies are unavoidable and we are committed to being your emergency dentist. We always have your child’s best interest in mind, so if you’re ever in doubt about your little one’s condition, call us and we can walk you through a series of questions to determine the next step to restore your child’s health.

kid playing football | palos heights ILI don’t know why I always struggle with this question.  The sports that carry the most risk – football, hockey, lacrosse – all require mouthguards.  It’s no coincidence that I don’t see many dental injuries from any of these sports.  The remaining sports are “less physical”, but although the likelihood of injury might be less, when injuries do happen they can be really ugly.  A baseball to the mouth, an elbow to the teeth while playing basketball, or a head-to-head collision playing soccer can all be severe injuries.  The challenge is that these sports don’t require mouthguards, so often if your child wears one he is the only one on the team doing so.

Prevention is key!

Breaking an arm might seem more severe, but breaking a tooth is far more likely to affect someone later in life.  A broken bone heals, and we’re left with just a story.  But a broken tooth requires repair, and that repair often requires maintenance and eventually replacement.  I recommend you use your own judgment.  We can’t possibly prevent every injury, but we can prevent injuries that we might be able to foresee.  If your son or daughter is playing competitive sports and you have any concerns about injuries, a custom-fit mouthguard will be less bulky compared to the store-bought version, and they’ll be able to talk and breathe more easily.  Call us today if you have any more questions.

 

children's toothache | dentist palos heights ilToothache in Kids

I find that Children’s Motrin or the generic version, ibuprofen, works best for tooth pain.  I do not prescribe narcotics for dental pain under any circumstance.  If ibuprofen is not effective at managing your child’s tooth pain, you can call my office to discuss alternatives for pain management. 

Children's Dental Emergencies

If your child is in a lot of pain, they knocked out a tooth, or their tooth pain presents as sensitivity to temperatures, then it may be a dental emergency. If that is the case, our office will be able to get your child in sooner to treat their dental pain fast.

Pediatric Emergency Dentistry in Palos Heights, IL

Parents sometimes don’t know when to call our office or what constitutes a dental emergency. Certainly, some situations are clear, but others may make you question whether it’s time to call on the weekends or after hours.

It is important to remember that if your child is bleeding severely, dizzy, or has a broken jaw or other serious condition, call 911 or take your child to the nearest emergency room immediately. We can address their dental issues once the more serious injuries have been treated.

Typically, anytime your child experiences dental pain, we encourage you to give us a call. Teething is naturally painful for toddlers, but beyond that, we should see your child to make sure everything is okay. 

A broken or lost tooth is another situation where we want to see your child as soon as possible. Sometimes, we can save the tooth if proper steps are followed.

If your child has swollen or bleeding gums, a pimple-like eruption on their gums, or something that is painful, sensitive, or out of the ordinary, we will want to perform an exam to make sure that they do not have something lodged in their gum tissue or an infection that needs treatment.

Other situations like dark teeth, broken orthodontic wires or brackets, lost fillings, and other conditions can be addressed on a case by case basis. We will always err on the side of caution with your child in order to keep his or her smile bright and healthy.

Contact Us

If you are concerned about your child's oral health, please do not hesitate to call our local Palos Heights office. An experienced member of our team can answer all your questions, help you determine if it is a dental emergency, and schedule you for an emergency appointment.

Orthodontic Services

kid's dentist palos heights ilOur One-Year Dental Warranty

All dental work completed at Palos Pediatric Dentistry is covered by our no-questions-asked one-year warranty.  This means if your child falls again and breaks the same tooth, we will complete any needed repairs to treatment completed in the past year free-of-charge!

Our Warranty on Sealants

We also warranty our sealants for three years, which is important if the tooth erupts farther, or even if your child chips a sealant while chewing on ice!  We know you work hard to provide the best dental care to your kids, and we're always willing to stand behind our work!

Contact us for any questions!

Sedation Dentistry & Anesthesia

shots | palos heights il dentistNumbing for Kids

In certain situations, children benefit from being numb for a procedure. Our team always strives to make your child's dentist visits as pleasant, easy, and not painful as possible. In order to avoid discomfort, certain procedures require numbing, anesthesia, or light sedation. 

Reducing Fear Surrounding Shots

However, we do not use scary words like “shot,” “poke,” or “hurt.” Instead, we say things like “sleepy juice” and other child-friendly words. When in doubt, do not describe your child’s upcoming appointment in detail. Explaining dental treatment in advance to a child usually leads to elevated anxiety. When you arrive in our office, we will explain to them what we are going to do in child-friendly terms.

Contact us

If you have any concerns about your child's up-coming visit or if you need tips on how to talk to them about the visit, please do not hesitate to contact our office. A friendly member of our team will be happy to answer all your questions. 

 

Are there any alternatives to sedation or general anesthesia?

single tooth anesethesia | dentist palos heights IL For a variety of reasons, there are some parents who are against sedation or anesthesia, or there are some children who are not able to tolerate anesthesia.  There are also situations where anesthesia is the only reasonable option.  I try to work with each individual family to come up with a treatment option that meets your child’s dental needs and fits with your values and priorities.

Where do you perform general anesthesia?

I work out of three locations for general anesthesia cases.  Advocate Christ Children’s Hospital is staffed by board certified anesthesiologists with advanced training in pediatrics.  The same anesthesia group covers Tinley Woods Surgery Center, where I am also on staff.  Finally, I work with both Dr. Messieha and Dr. Higgins for in-office anesthesia.  There are several factors that can affect which location might be best for your child.  I am happy to discuss those factors in person.

Special Needs Dentistry

Special Needs Dentistry in Palos Heights, IL 

For children who have special challenges – and even for those who don’t – visiting the dentist doesn’t always seem like much fun! Fortunately, a compassionate dental staff and a dentist who is trained in special needs dentistry in Palos Heights can make all the difference.

Keeping Kids Comfortable at the Dentist Office

Sitting in a dentist chair for an extended time can be challenging for kids of all ages. But for little ones with sensory, behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or physical impairments, dental treatments and exams can be especially challenging.

  • A caring, gentle manner that makes kids feel more comfortable goes a long way towards helping them adapt to the dentist office. That’s why special needs dentistry requires a compassionate dentist and dental staff.
  • Nitrous oxide can be helpful if your child has trouble relaxing or sitting still. We also offer sedation or general anesthesia for longer treatments.
  • A familiarization visit at the dentist before any treatments begin often puts kids at ease so they know what to expect.
  • A quiet treatment room may help children with sensory and other challenges.

When you’re looking for the best kids’ dentist office in Palos Heights, you may also be looking for an experienced special needs pediatric dentist. Finding both is one place is what you’ll find at Palos Pediatric Dentistry.

kid's dentist palos heights il Establishing Trust With Your Palos Heights Dentist

If you think your child will have a difficult time cooperating, it is a great time for you to come in! We would rather meet your little one several times for happy check-ups so that your child gets to know our office and builds trust with our team. This way, if your child is ever in need of dental treatment or has an emergency, cooperation will be easier because they will have established a level of trust with us.

The Importance of Regular Dentist Visits

For children who are inherently anxious, regular dental visits are even more important.  If we can see your child regularly for cleanings and check-ups, we can help keep your child's teeth healthy.  Healthy teeth mean fewer appointments, less invasive treatment, fewer missed days of school, no dental pain, and less anxiety about the dentist.

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