Pediatric Care

Your Trusted Pediatric Dentist
Serving Grand Rapids, Cascade & Grandville, MI

Creating “Forgettable” Visits to the Dentist Office

Too many of our adult patients tell us about the fear and pain they associate with their childhood dental visits. Years later, these memories can still create very real anxiety and lead to avoidance of the dentist.

When it comes to our smallest patients, we want to set the stage for a lifetime of dental health by providing pediatric dentistry. Since people are more likely to remember a traumatic experience than a routine one, our goal is to create a “forgettable” visit for each child—and an unforgettable experience for the parents. Prepare for your child’s dentist appointment by checking out our What to Expect page, and take a look at some common questions below.

Our Pediatric Care Services Include:

Cavities & Cleanings:

When more than a routine exam is needed, we will make every effort to provide a safe, calm environment for your child. Parents also can help prepare children to be relaxed and cooperative. If helpful, we have televisions in the rooms and can provide laughing gas (nitrous oxide) to help alleviate any nerves.

We also have sunglasses to protect against overhead lights, hand mirrors for close-up views of their own teeth, televisions, and movies, and a “Treasure Chest” of toys that serve as rewards for good behavior. Your kids will walk away with a new toothbrush of their choice, and toothpaste and floss if needed.


In most cases, the dentist will need to provide an anesthetic for treatment. This is generally the most anxious event in the appointment. Time after time, this seems to be a pivotal moment; if all goes well, the rest of the procedure will more than likely be tolerated well.

Fluoride for Children:

The greatest benefit of fluoride occurs when it is presented at the correct level in growing children. In this manner, it becomes incorporated into the developing tooth and gives a lifelong benefit of lower decay rates. When children do not live in an area with fluoride in the water, we recommend testing their drinking water so we can prescribe an appropriate supplement.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric Dental Care

Why are primary (baby) teeth important?

Problems with baby teeth can lead to problems with developing permanent teeth. Neglected baby teeth can become infected, causing pain and potential damage to the developing teeth below. Baby teeth are also important for regulating when the permanent teeth come in. When baby teeth are lost too early, the permanent teeth can become crowded and possibly damaged.

When will my child’s baby teeth come in?

Baby teeth usually start to erupt around six months of age, with the bottom central teeth emerging first. While there can be a lot of normal variation, ask your dentist about guidelines for when to expect baby and permanent teeth to come in.

When should a child begin using fluoride toothpaste?

A child should be able to spit the toothpaste out before using fluoride toothpaste. Swallowing excess fluoride can lead to fluorosis, or staining, cracking, and pitting in the permanent teeth. Until a child has learned to spit properly—usually around four years of age—fluoride-free toothpaste may be used. After the age of eight, most children are not at risk for fluorosis.

When should my child first come to the dentist?

Between your child’s second and third birthdays, children can come in for a “happy visit” to get used to the office, the sounds, and the equipment. Without your child even realizing it, our hygienists and dentists can make sure the baby teeth are emerging properly, look for any cavities, and assess fluoride needs. This also is a good time for parents to talk about any habits that impact dental health, such as thumb sucking, night feeding, and proper brushing and flossing.

Should my child get sealants?

Tooth sealants can help prevent decay. Around six or seven years of age—the same time the permanent molars start to erupt—our dentists will evaluate your child to see if sealants are appropriate.

When do I start brushing my child’s teeth?

Once the child has teeth, you can begin cleaning them with a damp cloth. As more teeth erupt, you may find a pediatric toothbrush to be more efficient. At this point, toothpaste should be fluoride-free until the child is able to spit efficiently. As you are cleaning, be sure to observe the teeth. Be on the lookout for dark spots or other signs of trouble. This information will be helpful at the dental appointment.

When should my child see an orthodontist?

If necessary, a referral can be made as early as seven, or once the two front teeth and 6-year molars are present.

If you are in need of a qualified and experienced pediatric dentist, we invite you to visit Northway Family Dentistry. We offer various pediatric care services for children across the Grand Rapids, Cascade & Grandville, MI area. Make an appointment for pediatric dental care for your child today!