We want our patients to understand all of their treatment options, and never feel rushed during their visit. If you have questions about your child’s dental care or oral health in Mesa, Arizona, our pediatric dentist, Dr. J. Cam West, and the team at Desert Sun Pediatric Dentistry will be happy to help you. You can reach our office at 480-275-5099, and you can also read our Frequently Asked Questions below.

Why does my child need to see a pediatric dentist?

A pediatric dentist specializes in caring for the mouth and teeth of children and teens. In addition to their regular dental education, pediatric dentists also receive additional years of training, focusing on the dental needs of young people. Your child’s first set of teeth are just as important as their adult teeth; a pediatric dentist can help your child to enjoy a healthy smile for life!

What services are offered by a pediatric dentist?

Your pediatric dentist can provide your child with regular dental cleanings and exams, and help you with questions about diet and nutrition. The dentist can also provide dental sealants, fluoride treatments and fillings. Your child’s dentist can also assist with oral conditions associated with problems such as diabetes, congenital heart defect, asthma, hay fever and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. You can contact your child’s dentist for issues involving soft tissues, including ulcers, short frenula, mucoceles and pediatric periodontal disease. A pediatric dentist can also help with issues such as thumbsucking, which can damage your child’s oral health.

How should I care for my infant’s or toddler’s mouth?

You can clean your baby’s gums with a clean towel after each feeding. But when the first tooth comes in, it is time for the first toothbrush. The first trip to the dentist should be within six months of a child’s first tooth and before his or her first birthday. Use a tiny smear of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice and as your child gets older, you can increase the amount of toothpaste to the size of a pea. Once your child will not swallow the toothpaste, you can allow them to use a fluoride toothpaste. They should be old enough to brush on their own with supervision at around age 4 or 5 and should be able to brush on their own by age 8. Make sure they brush twice a day for two minutes at a time.

Is thumbsucking bad for my child’s teeth?

Do not be surprised if your child starts to suck his or her thumb. Usually children grow out of the habit between the ages of 2 and 4. However if it continues, you should talk to the dentist. Over time, thumbsucking can lead to problems with your child’s bite and the structure of his or her mouth.

When can my child have fluoride?

Generally, as soon as you know your child will not swallow the toothpaste, it is fine to start giving them toothpaste containing fluoride. In most cases, if a person has drinks fluoridated water and is using a fluoride toothpaste, they are getting enough of the mineral. The dentist will be able to evaluate your child’s teeth and make a recommendation.

What is baby bottle tooth decay?

This type of tooth decay occurs in babies and is brought on by children being exposed to sugary drinks in their bottles. When you put your child down for a nap or for bedtime, make sure that your child’s bottle and pacifier are clean and that the bottle contains water, formula or milk. Juice or other drinks may have sugars that could damage your child’s teeth. You should also make sure to wipe your baby’s gums with a clean towel after feeding them, and brush their teeth when they come in.

How safe is sedation, and when do you suggest using It?

If a child is too young to sit through a dental treatment, or is dealing with dental anxiety, we may talk with you about ways to help your child relax during his or her dental visit. You can be assured that your child’s safety is of the utmost importance to us, and that we will follow the sedation guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Why are primary (baby) teeth so important?

While the primary teeth eventually fall out to make way for your child’s permanent teeth, they are no less important. After all, your child needs them to eat and speak properly, and they are needed to make sure that the permanent teeth erupt properly. Primary teeth are also needed to ensure that the jaw bones and muscles develop properly. So even if baby teeth are not permanent, they still need to be brushed twice a day and flossed once a day. And your child needs to see the dentist on a regular basis.

What are dental radiographs?

Radiographs are X-rays. We make X-rays a part of your child’s treatment and give us a chance to give your child a comprehensive dental exam. Using X-rays, we can detect tooth decay, including between the teeth, infections, cysts and abscesses. At our office, we use digital X-rays, which are comfortable and extremely accurate. They use 90% less radiation than traditional X-rays and do not need chemical processing. They allow us to view the information about your child’s teeth within seconds, allowing us to plan the best course of treatment for your child.

How does my child’s diet affect his or her oral health?

A well-balanced diet is good for your child’s body and their smile! Fruits, vegetables, grains, meats and dairy are all good for your child’s oral and overall health. Snacks are fine, but remember that sugary and starchy foods, or foods and drinks that are high in acid can be harmful to your child’s teeth. Crunchy fruits and vegetables, low-fat yogurt and cheese are great choices for children’s teeth.

When Should I Start Thinking About Orthodontic Treatment for My Child?

According to the American Orthodontic Society, a child should have an orthodontic screening between the ages of 6 and 7. This screening can identify potential orthodontic issues early, and is key in preventing them, or creating a treatment plan. This screening can save your family money, and may help avoid more extensive treatment in the future.

What age does a child first need to go to the dentist?

AAPD reccomends: In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.


2040 E. Brown Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85213