Pediatric Dentistry

Giving your child a head start on good dental habits is one of the best gifts you will ever provide. Our dental health is closely tied into our overall health, and developing good habits early on – even before your child is born! – sets the stage for a lifetime of better health. At our office, we welcome children and are very proud to set them on the path to excellent dental health. Dr. Kivett and the rest of our staff are caring, friendly, fun, and gentle, and kids love coming to see us.

Attention Moms-to-Be!

Thanks to fluctuating hormones, pregnant women are actually at an increased risk of developing periodontal disease, which has been linked to the delivery of lower-weight, preterm infants.

Practicing good oral health habits and maintaining your oral health is essential while you are pregnant, and Dr. Kivett as well as the rest of the staff at Associates of Dental Arts in Joplin, MO are committed to helping you. If you are expecting, please let us know right away so we can provide you with one of our mother-to-be kits!

Pediatric Dentistry for Infants and Toddlers

Starting oral care at home as early as possible will help your child get used to the feeling of a clean mouth as well as set the stage for healthy habits and decay prevention. You can begin oral health care in your infant by gently wiping his or her gums with a clean, wet gauze pad or washcloth after every feeding.

Once your baby cuts his or her first tooth, it will be time to start gently brushing the tooth using water. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you start using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste by the time your child turns 2. During these early years, it’s important to supervise and assist your child while he or she learns to brush. You will also need to work with your child to make sure that toothpaste is spit out and not swallowed.

The First Dental Appointment

We recommend that you schedule your child’s first healthy baby check-up appointment six months after his or her first tooth comes in. At this appointment, Dr. Kivett will check for signs of decay and other conditions. He will also show you the best way to properly clean your child’s teeth and provide tips to help you both develop good oral health habits.

Even though your child will eventually lose these baby teeth, they do serve an important purpose. Baby teeth act as placeholders for the permanent teeth, and if they are lost too early, the other teeth may drift and cause the permanent teeth to come in crooked. Crooked teeth are difficult to clean properly and are more prone to decay than straight teeth.

When your child does start losing baby teeth, have him or her write a letter to the tooth fairy and send it and a picture to our office so your child can receive a gift from the tooth fairy!

What Causes Tooth Decay?

When your child eats sugary foods (including starchy carbs) and drinks sugary drinks (including fruit juice), the bacteria in his or her mouth convert the sugar into acid, which then attacks the teeth. This is why good nutrition habits are just as important as good oral hygiene habits. We will discuss your family’s dietary habits with you and look for ways to make improvements.