Helping your child smile for years to come in Richland, WA.
Providing the Best Dental Experience For Kids and Parents
Smile Surfers was created because we have a deep passion for teaching children and making sure they receive the best dental care available at a young age. That’s why our pediatric dentists in our Richland location always take their time to explain and educate on the importance of good dental health while listening to your concerns to make sure you’re confident in the care your little surfer is receiving.
It doesn’t stop with our dentists. Our team reciprocates their passion for kids by providing outstanding customer service.
We offer the following pediatric dentistry services:
Our Pediatric Dentistry Services in Richland, WA
We help children from ages 0-18 (infants, adolescents, and teens).
- Preventative Care and Education
Along with our preventive dentistry, education is key in helping you and your children know how to prevent oral health problems. It’s our goal to encourage your children to make healthy decisions for their futures. This includes giving advice and tips for total wellness on top of oral health. We do this by:
- Providing nutritional advice
- Inspiring positive behavior for diet, exercise, sleeping habits, and so much more
- Teaching the connection of oral and overall health
- Encouraging your children to take positive actions to live a healthy, happy life
Ultimately, we want both children and parents to be comfortable and satisfied with all proposed treatment and feel confident to commit to healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
- Hygiene and Exams
It’s important to us your child develops a positive experience with the dentist at an early age. At Smile Surfers, your child is going to LOVE going to the dentist where we have play areas, video games, and an energetic atmosphere to get children excited about taking care of their teeth. On top of that, we respectfully educate on the proper steps to care for teeth, how to prevent cavities, and how you, the parent, can help encourage future oral hygiene routines. We start off your child’s regular dental visits with a comprehensive exam, which can include:
- Full digital x-rays, which will detect cavities and the future growth of your child’s teeth
- Evaluation of your child’s risk for gum disease and tooth decay
- Examining jaw and bite alignment
- Providing educational tips about common habits (thumb sucking, nutrition, etc.)
- Fluoride treatment
- A gentle and thorough cleaning from one of our specially trained team members where plaque and tartar will be removed.
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The right amount of fluoride can help strengthen teeth and protect against cavities. Make sure your child does not swallow the toothpaste. If they are too young to spit it out, use a toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. Also, make sure you are aware of other sources of fluoride before giving your child additional fluoride treatments. Many cities add fluoride to their drinking water and some foods contain fluoride, including infant formula, dry cereals, baby foods, and white grape juice.
A sealant is a white resin (plastic) material that is applied to a child’s teeth to help prevent food, plaque, and acid from getting into the deep grooves of the teeth, which can be hard to clean and are prone to decay. As part of our preventive care philosophy, this ensures your child’s teeth are healthy and cavity free for the present and the future.
There may be a time your child will get a cavity. Some patients are more prone to cavities than others, and that’s okay because the Smile Surfers team is here to help! We offer:
- Tooth-colored fillings
Our pediatric dentists will explain the procedure and ensure that you are involved with your child’s treatment from start to finish.
If not treated in time, a cavity can cause severe damage to the tooth. If your child’s tooth structure is severely damaged, we may recommend a crown to restore the tooth’s function and stability. This will protect your child’s tooth until the tooth naturally falls out.
There may be multiple reasons a child needs an extraction:
- The tooth is severely damaged
- Need to make room for orthodontic treatment
- Need to remove extra teeth
No matter the reason, we will make sure your child is comfortable throughout the entire procedure. We offer comforting amenities and sedation dentistry for children who need it.
- Baby Root Canal (Pulpotomy)
When a child has a severe cavity or a tooth injury, a baby root canal may be performed to remove the damaged pulp (inner core of the tooth) and seal the tooth to prevent further problems. A baby root canal removes the diseased pulp within the crown (top) of the tooth and uses an agent to prevent bacterial growth and calm the nerve tissue. A crown is then placed to protect the tooth. A baby root canal helps to restore the tooth’s function.
- Sedation Dentistry
Does your child have a fear of the dentist? At Smile Surfers, we use positive behavior techniques to help your child love our office. If you feel they need an extra boost to relax, we do offer the following sedation dentistry methods:
- Nitrous oxide
- Oral conscious sedation
- General anesthesia
We will do everything possible to ensure your child has a positive and stellar time at Smile Surfers.
- Space Maintainers
When a child loses a baby tooth before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, a space maintainer may be used to help prevent the shifting of your child’s surrounding teeth. This will help maintain room for the permanent tooth when it erupts. Once a space maintainer is placed, one of our specially trained team members will show you how to properly care for it and keep it clean.
- Pediatric Dental Emergencies
A frenectomy is a procedure to release a lip or tongue tie. Ensuring that your child has the proper movement and range of motion in their lips and tongue is crucial to their long-term health and development. The pediatric dentists at the Richland location of Smile Surfers are trained to perform frenectomies using state-of-the-art CO2 laser technology.
Have Questions About Pediatric Dentistry?
- What's the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist?
All dentists are required to hold a bachelor’s and Doctor of Dental Surgery degrees. However, pediatric dentists go through two or more additional years of training.
During this training, pediatric dentists focus on learning the treatment of developing teeth, child behavior and psychology, children’s physical growth, how to create positive dental experiences for children, treatment of children under sedation and anesthesia, and the unique requirements of children’s dentistry.
Pediatric dentists only treat children, which inherently gives them more exposure to and experience with children than general dentists.
You will often find that pediatric dental offices are more kid-friendly with fun and happy atmospheres, and staff who are trained to care for and communicate with children and parents uniquely.
Want to meet our pediatric dentists? Click here!
- When should I take my child to the dentist?
According to American Academy of Pediatrics, your child should visit a pediatric dentist after his or her first birthday or as soon as the first tooth appears. Seeing our pediatric dentists will help prevent future dental problems.
- When will my child's tooth come in?
Your child’s teeth began forming even before they were born. Their primary teeth should start appearing around 6 months of age and by age 3, they should have all of their primary teeth. Though each child’s development is different, below is a general guideline of when you can expect their teeth to appear.
- 4-10 months: lower central incisors (the 2 bottom middle teeth)
- 8-12 months: upper central incisors (the 2 top middle teeth)
- 9-16 months: upper & lower lateral incisors (the teeth on either side of the 2 middle teeth)
- 13-23 months: upper & lower first molars and canines
- 23-33 months: upper & lower second molars
Your child will likely start losing their primary teeth around age 6. Their permanent teeth will grow in their place soon after. Additional molars will also come in as your child enters adolescence.
- 6-7 years: lower central incisors and upper & lower first molars
- 7-8 years: upper central incisors and lower lateral incisors
- 8-9 years: upper lateral incisors
- 9-10 years: lower canines
- 10-12 years: upper & lower first and second premolars and upper canines
- 12-13 years: upper & lower second molars
- 17-21 years: upper & lower third molars
- When should my child start brushing his or her teeth?
Start those healthy habits early!
It is important to help children establish good brushing habits early on.
- While they are still babies, wipe their gums with a soft cloth and water after each feeding.
- As teeth start to emerge, use a soft toothbrush to clean the teeth and gums daily.
- For toddlers, choose a soft toothbrush and a toothpaste designed specifically for children. Make sure you choose a toothpaste that is recommended by the American Dental Association and that is free from harsh abrasives which can wear away your child’s developing tooth enamel.
- For children age 2 and younger, use only a smear of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
- For children aged 2 to 5, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Don’t let your child swallow the toothpaste.
- If your child is too young to spit out the toothpaste, use fluoride-free toothpaste to avoid them ingesting too much fluoride.
- For the first few years, you should help your child brush their teeth. Make sure they brush their teeth at least twice a day.
- Use gentle, circular motions and make sure to clean all the teeth, the gums, and the tongue. Even after your child is old enough to brush their teeth on their own, you should supervise the brushing until about age 7.
- Flossing is also an important part of home care. Flossing removes plaque from in between the teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach.
- You should start flossing your child’s teeth when they have two teeth that are touching.
- Floss your child’s teeth daily until they have the dexterity to do it on their own.
- What's the best toothpaste for children?
The biggest thing you should watch for in children’s toothpaste is fluoride.
If your child is not old enough to spit after brushing, we recommend using a fluoride-free toothpaste. This will prevent the possibility of fluorosis.
As for flavors, we recommend finding one your child enjoys. This will make brushing their teeth so much more enjoyable.
- Should I worry about what my child eats?
Your child’s teeth need the nutrients from a well-balanced diet in order to grow and stay healthy. Make sure that your child eats a variety of foods and eats more whole fruits, vegetables, and grains instead of sugary or fatty foods. Be careful with snacks; not only do sugary snacks lead to the formation of cavities, but the more frequently they snack the more likely they are to have tooth decay. Hard candy, mints, and other foods that stay in the mouth for a long time can also increase tooth decay because they give bacteria more time to build up acid that can damage teeth.
- What are some bad habits my child should avoid?
- Baby bottle tooth decay: Infants and young children can have a much higher risk of tooth decay if they are frequently put to bed with a bottle containing juice or milk. The sugars pool around the infant’s teeth as they sleep, letting bacteria produce acids that wear away at the tooth enamel. To prevent this, avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle of anything other than water and wipe their gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or pad of gauze after each feeding.
- Sippy cups: Sippy cups should only be used for a short time to help infants transition from a bottle to a regular cup. Do not let your child carry around a sippy cup full of anything other than water during the day. Juice, milk, or other liquids with sugar can quickly grow bacteria which increases the chance of cavities.
- Thumb sucking: Many young children suck their thumbs, fingers, or pacifiers to help them feel secure and relax. Most children stop sucking their thumbs by the age of 3 or 4. However, if they continue sucking their thumb too long, it can interfere with the growth and alignment of their teeth. Children should stop sucking their thumb or any pacifier before their permanent teeth erupt. If your dentist has expressed concern that the thumb sucking will cause a problem with your child’s teeth, there are a few things you can do to help them stop.
- One is to address the root cause of the thumb sucking. Since children often suck their thumbs when they feel insecure or need comfort, helping them feel more secure or finding comfort in other ways can help replace the need for thumb sucking.
- You can also reward your child when they go for a certain amount of time without sucking their thumb. If the habit is subconscious, you may want to help your child remember not to suck their thumb by bandaging their thumb or using another reminder.
- Chewing on objects: Many children put toys, pencils, and everything they can find into their mouths. This should be discouraged because it introduces harmful bacteria into their mouth which can increase the chance that they will get sick. It can also lead to teeth grinding.
- Teeth grinding: Many children grind their teeth at night due to stress or inner ear pressure. Most of the time this does not cause a major problem and children outgrow it between the ages of 9 and 12. However, in some cases, the grinding can wear down the child’s teeth. In this case, your dentist may recommend they wear a night guard to protect the teeth.
- Tongue piercing: As your child enters their teenage years, they may begin trying to establish their individuality by making their own choices in clothes and accessories. Many teenagers want to get a piercing and some want to pierce their tongue, lip, or cheek. However, these oral piercings can cause serious dental problems, including cracked teeth, nerve damage, receding gums, scar tissue, and infections. So encourage your teenager to express their individuality in another way.
- Tobacco: Tobacco in any form can cause serious health and dental problems. Teach your child about the dangers of tobacco while they are young. As they become teenagers, help them understand why it is important to avoid cigarettes, chew tobacco, and other forms of tobacco. Tobacco can lead to discolored teeth, bad breath, heart and lung problems, and cancer.
- How can I tell if my kid has gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. This condition is caused when there is a build up of plaque on the teeth, which leads to an inflammation of the gum tissue. If left untreated, it can cause serious problems, which is why it’s best to treat it at its earliest form. If your child shows any of these symptoms, contact us today to schedule an appointment:
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Spitting blood after brushing or flossing
- Discolored or inflamed gums (they should be pink, not red, swollen, or tender)
- Signs of the gums pulling away from the teeth
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Loose permanent teeth
You were all so wonderful, kind, and compassionate to my girl this morning. She was very nervous and the three of you were nothing short of amazing helping calm her fears! I’m so glad we’ve chosen you to be our dental office for the kids!
Sarah P., Smile Surfer Parent in Richland