Pediatric Dentistry
of Central Iowa FAQs

“Creating & Caring For Beautiful
Little Smiles Since 1975”

We recommend the first visit occur between the child’s first and second birthdays. Not all one year old babies have teeth, but this is no reason to delay planning their first visit. The first visit is a “get acquainted” opportunity at which time the dentist will discuss infant oral hygiene, suckling habits, diet and nutrition, and make recommendations for fluoride supplementation. Children are then typically seen on an annual basis until they’re ready for periodic hygiene and re-care visits.

An emergency is any condition or event which results in damage or pain to the teeth or jaws. If you feel your child has injured him/herself sufficiently to cause pain or structural damage to their mouths, a call to our office is warranted. If you observe redness, swelling, or pain associated with any of their teeth or gums, a call to our office is warranted. Our staff is trained to receive your call and direct your concern to the appropriate doctor or technical staff. Our emergency call service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information, please visit our Services page. We are here to attend to your child’s immediate needs.

Thank you for your interest in visiting Pediatric Dentistry! To learn more about what you can expect, please visit the New Patients page.

The pediatric dentist has two or three years of post-graduate training beyond dental school which prepares him or her for the special needs of children. Part of the educational emphasis of post-graduate training focuses on child psychology, growth and development, interceptive orthodontics, and dentistry for the child with disabilities. Just as pediatricians are specially trained to treat the medical needs of children, pediatric dentists provide children with the highest degree of dental expertise.

X-rays are not routinely taken on any child. In fact, unless a dental condition exists warranting further investigation, radiographs on children under five years of age are discouraged. Check out our blog on the benefits of digital radiology, so you can be prepared for when the time comes.

Special needs children, those with mental and/or physical compromises, are a joy and privilege to serve. Our doctors are trained specialists in providing dental care to the medically compromised individual. Our facilities are wheelchair accessible, and your special child will be treated with the highest standard of care and the dignity they deserve. Please alert our staff if you or your child requires any specific attention.

Non-nutritive suckling habits, such as finger sucking, pacifiers, or baby blankets, should be discouraged and/or discontinued by the age of two years. These external forces can have detrimental effects on the positioning of the developing primary teeth and jaws thereby requiring early intervention of bite problems. Thumb and finger habits usually take longer to overcome for the child.  Most children will wean themselves from a thumb or finger habit on their own.  We do provide appliances for those children that aren’t able to stop by themselves. Cups with straws or sippy cups should be discontinued by two years with encouragement to transition to a regular cup or glass. All too often sippy cups contain sugary liquids, which promote decay formation due to the swallowing dynamics inherent with sippy containers.

Additional Resources

It is an Iowa mandated health screening that proves a student has had an oral examination completed by a certified dentist, dental hygienist, physician, nurse, or other qualified professional prior to school enrollment.

A certificate of dental screening can be completed by a licensed dentist, dental hygienist, physician, nurse, or physician’s assistant. If you are in central Iowa, Pediatric Dentistry of Central Iowa has offices in both Ankeny and Des Moines and would be more than happy to get an appointment scheduled for your child.

Make teeth brushing less of a chore, and more of a fun challenge! This brushing calendar gives children a sense of accomplishment, while instilling the habit of brushing twice a day. Download it here!

Take a look at some trusted online resources to help you understand and learn more about pediatric dentistry.