FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Vital Smiles Georgia

What is Vital Smiles Georgia?
Vital Smiles Georgia is devoted to dental care for children and adolescents under the age of 20. We offer compassionate, high-quality care in a child-friendly environment. We consider ourselves a dental home that we hope will be the place for your family from your children’s first teeth until they reach adulthood.

Can I sit with my children during their appointment?
We provide viewing windows so that you can observe your children during visits. Our compassionate and friendly staff will remain with your children during exams, cleanings, and procedures. We believe children have a better dental experience if they are with other children and our expert staff. However, if you feel it is important, you are welcome in our clinical areas.

Can I speak with the dentist during the appointment?
Vital Smiles Georgia fosters open communication between parents and our team members. We encourage you to visit with the dentist during each appointment to ask questions, receive updates on your children’s oral health, and to learn valuable at-home techniques for maintain good oral hygiene.

When should I schedule my child’s first appointment?
As soon as your child gains his or her first tooth, schedule the first dental exam. After that, maintain a routine schedule of cleanings and check-ups every six months. You may find that morning appointments are better for younger children since they are well rested.

Do I need to be present at the appointment?
Vital Smiles Georgia seeks to partner with parents in maintain good oral health in children. We strongly encourage you to attend your children’s dental appointments, so you can be part of this process and stay in communication with the dentist. However, we understand that this is not always possible. If a parent or legal guardian is not available to accompany your child during the dental visit, then you must sign a Vital Smiles Georgia letter of consent and have the adult bring that signed letter during the visit. This person will then be allowed to complete and sign the forms required to authorize treatment.

Will my child need braces?
During your child’s routine visits, the dentist will examine his or her mouth. If the dentist believes that he or she would benefit from braces, we will suggest a consultation with an orthodontist. Vital Smiles Georgia can assist you with referrals if you choose to meet with an orthodontist.

Frequently Asked Questions about Children’s Oral Health

What causes tooth decay?
We all have bacteria in our mouth. But when too much bacteria accumulates, it begins to form a layer of plaque on the tooth surface. Once plaque beings to build up, problems such as gum disease and tooth decay can occur. However, good daily habits of brushing and flossing can decrease the amount of dental plaque. Routine dental visits every six months can remove the plaque and decay that was not removed at home.

What is a cavity?
Cavities, or dental caries, result when bacteria break down the tooth. Several factors contribute to cavity formation including the strength of the tooth, saliva flow (which cleanses the mouth), sugar intake, bacteria levels, and length of exposure to bacteria. The cavity may begin forming in the tooth enamel or in the substance that covers the root, call the cementum. The cavity then expands into the internal sections of the tooth, such as the dentin or the tooth pulp. If left untreated, the cavity can eventually affect the nerve and roots of the tooth, causing extreme sensitivity and pain. A cavity this large can even lead to nerve infection. At this point, a root canal or extraction will be required.

Why does my child need fluoride?
Fluoride is an element that helps to strengthen the outer layer, or enamel, of the tooth. This strengthening helps to prevent the tooth decay that leads to cavities. Once your child is old enough to spit out toothpaste properly, begin using a fluoride treatment at home. During routine dental exams, we will also apply a fluoride treatment to further strengthen your child’s teeth.

Why are baby teeth so important?
Baby teeth serve a vital role in your child’s development. They aid in speech development, proper chewing, and prepare the mouth for permanent teeth. If tooth decay leads to premature loss of baby teeth, this can cause the permanent teeth to grow in incorrectly. Also, establishing good oral hygiene habits at this very early age will help ingrain these habits into your child. You will find that it is much easier to maintain the good habits you start early than it is to being new behaviors or correct bad habits at an older age.

What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, typically caused by plaque along the gum line. You will notice that your child’s gums have become red and swollen, and perhaps bleed during flossing or brushing. Gingivitis can be treated with proper dental hygiene and routine visits to the dentist. However, if left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis, a more advanced stage of gum disease.

Does my child need a dental sealant?
Dental sealants are a great way to protect your child’s permanent teeth, especially if they are prone to cavities. This thin, clear coating helps to protect the grooves of their teeth from decay. Typically, the sealant is added to the first and second molars, and it lasts up to several years. Talk with your child’s dentist about whether this option is right for your child. Your insurance company may cover this procedure before the age of 13.

Vital Smiles Georgia wants to help you to foster good oral hygiene in your child. If you would like to speak with our team of dental experts about the future of your child’s oral health, contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.

Cleaning

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We keep your child’s teeth sparkling clean with the help of our electric tooth brush (a motorized prophy brush). We then apply bubbles (fluoride) to keep his or her teeth strong.

Filling Cavities

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We use fun tools like Mr. Bumpy (our slow speed drill) to remove decay. Your child will then receive a silver star (filling), and the tooth will be good as new.

Sealants

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Sealants are thin, protective coatings used to prevent tooth decay. They fill in the tiny grooves of the tooth surface so that brushing becomes more effective.

X-Rays

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We use a tooth camera (X-ray machine) to take pictures of your child’s teeth. This gives us a better look at his or her smile. Our Digital X-rays are state of the art, limiting radiation exposure.