Welcome Back, Dental Benefits!

Another year is upon us! Did you know that goals related to a healthy lifestyle — such as eating better and exercising more — consistently rank among the top new year resolutions? Considering the connection between oral health and overall wellness, taking care of your child’s  smile fits right into the mix. And while some resolutions can be hard to stick with, prioritizing your child’s dental care is very easy to do. This is because dental insurance benefits typically reset at the beginning of the year, making room for your child to get preventative care and any needed dental treatment at a more accessible price. 

Preventative Care

While plans vary, most dental insurance providers cover preventative care in full. As Cigna explains on their website, this most often includes two cleanings and checkups, along with routine X-rays. Keeping up with routine preventative care lowers your child’s risk of gum disease and helps detect any problematic issues early. This can prevent more serious — and costly —  problems from developing down the road.

Annual Maximum

Delta Dental explains that an annual maximum is the most a dental insurance provider will pay toward your family’s dental work in a given benefit year. This amount can vary depending on the type of plan you have. At the beginning of a new benefit year, your annual maximum resets, so the entire amount is available again. For most plans, this amount is always the same, regardless of how much of it you used in the previous benefit year. Any unused funds do not roll over, so it’s a good idea to take full advantage of them.

It’s important to note that even if the entire amount of your maximum allowance is available, there may still be a cost associated with treatment. The amount you owe will depend on the type of insurance plan you have, the type of treatment you receive, and the maximum allowance amount. More information about how private dental insurance works can be found here. It’s always a good idea to get more information from your insurance provider so you are fully informed about what your plan covers and whether you are responsible for a patient portion and/or a deductible.

No dental insurance? You can still save!

For patients without insurance, savings are still possible for the entire family with our Smiles360 Dental Savings Club. Those who purchase an annual membership fee receive preventative care at no additional costs, along with generous discounts on a variety of treatments.

Contact Us Today

Make oral health a priority in 2022! If you have any questions about treatment options available or would like to make an appointment for your child, contact us any time.

Will my child need braces?

Did you know the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children get their first orthodontic check-up no later than age 7? That may seem early, but taking care of orthodontic needs from a young age can help your child build and maintain a healthy and confident smile for many years to come. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of early orthodontic care.

Why should your child see an orthodontist early on?

Being able to identify a child’s facial growth pattern early makes it easier to influence and redirect the arrangement of teeth, allowing for a straighter smile when permanent teeth arrive. Around the time your child reaches the age of 7, their first molars have erupted and their bite — the position of the teeth when the jaws are closed — is visible. In addition, incisors are erupting, making early signs of crowding visible. If an orthodontist identifies a potential future orthodontic concern, they might recommend a dental appliance now that could prevent the need for a more complicated or expensive appliance in the future. It may also decrease the amount of time your child wears braces later.

What are some of the early signs of potential future orthodontic concerns?

Early identification is critical in the timing of treatment and parent education. There are a few early signs that can help you to determine if the time is right to schedule an orthodontic consultation for your child. These include issues with bite, crowding, spacing and protrusion.

These visuals from the American Academy of Orthodontists can help you detect problems to watch out for with your growing child. 

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

If you’re near one of our BracesBracesBraces or American Family Orthodontics sister practices, you can schedule an initial consultation for FREE! During the initial visit, the team will perform a thorough examination to determine if orthodontic treatment is necessary. General questions regarding treatment costs and payment options are discussed during the first appointment. Keep in mind that the best time to treat a child orthodontically differs from patient to patient.

What do I do if my child has a toothache?

No parent wants to see their child in pain. When a child complains of mouth pain, the cause is sometimes unrelated to their teeth, like in the case of a sinus infection. Oftentimes, however, teeth are indeed the culprit. A quick look inside the mouth can sometimes help identify the cause, such as a new tooth sprouting or a stuck piece of food. As Seattle Children’s Hospital explains, however, the problem occasionally warrants further evaluation by a dentist. So how do you know for sure whether the issue is serious enough for a visit to the dentist? We’ve provided a few tips to help you identify the problem, ease your child’s pain, and help them get the care they need. 

Try to locate the site of the toothache.

If your child is old enough, ask them to point to the location of the pain. Look inside for red or swollen gums, tooth discoloration, broken teeth. If you see swelling or a “pimple” around the tooth, this could be a sign of a dental abscess and warrants seeing a dentist as soon as possible. If the child has pain only when they bite down with a specific tooth, this could indicate a cavity.

Rinse and floss your child’s teeth.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rinsing your child’s mouth with warm water and flossing to remove any food particles trapped between their teeth. If you haven’t identified a clear cause after looking around, it’s possible that removing a stuck food particle will resolve the problem. Remember to be gentle while flossing because your child’s gums might be sensitive. Colgate.com also suggests rinsing with salt water because of its abilities to inhibit harmful bacteria and ease discomfort.

Apply a cold compress for pain.

A cold compress slows blood flow to the affected area and may help ease discomfort and swelling. If you do not have a store-bought compress, you can make one by wrapping ice in a small towel or cloth. Try icing for 15 minutes and taking another 15 minutes off.

Use pain medication. 

If the pain persists, you can try giving your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen while you are waiting to be seen by a provider. Remember to make sure that any medicine is safe: carefully read the instructions to find the correct dosage for your child’s age. 

Make an appointment.

While the cause of your child’s toothaches may be as simple as a new tooth sprouting or a food particle that is easily removed with flossing, sometimes the problem is more serious. If your child has swelling, redness or a suspected cavity, it’s important to see a pediatric dental specialist as soon as possible. When in doubt, always contact us, particularly if the toothache persists for over 24 hours. We’ll get your child smiling again!

What is a lip or tongue tie?

Tongue and lip ties occur when the string of soft tissue under the tongue or lip, called the frenum, is too tight, thick or short. Depending on the degree of the severity, infants and young children with a tongue or lip tie can experience a variety of symptoms, including trouble with feeding, speech and sleep. Keep reading to learn more about what tongue and lip ties are, signs to look for in your child, and when to consider seeking treatment. 

What are tongue and lip ties?

In the case of a tongue tie, also known as ankyloglossia, the frenum under the tongue, or the lingual frenum, is too tight, thick or short. This makes it more difficult to move the tongue.

A lip tie, on the other hand, happens when the labial frenum, the one that connects your lip to your mouth, is too tight, thick or short.  This makes it more difficult to move the lip.

What problems can occur with tongue and lip ties?

Tongue- and lip-tie symptoms can vary based on the degree of the severity. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a tongue- or lip-tie may cause the following issues for babies, young children and moms.


  • Poor latch during nursing
  • Poor weight gain
  • Frequent hunger
  • A clicking sound while feeding

Young Child

  • Speech impairments
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Problems sticking tongue out
  • Difficulty playing wind instruments


  • Pain while nursing
  • Sore cracked nipples 
  • Insufficient milk supply

Can a tongue and lip tie be repaired?

Yes! Releasing a tongue or lip tie is a relatively simple procedure that we can do right here in our practice with minimal discomfort or risk of complications. If you would like to schedule a consultation to learn more about the procedure, please contact us today.

Recognize World Autism Month in April

April is an opportunity to recognize World Autism Month. Kicking off with World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, the purpose of World Autism Month is to increase both understanding and inclusion of autism in our communities and around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, autism affects approximately 1 in 54 children in the United States each year. While the cause of autism is unclear, it is likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

Symptoms of Autism

Autism spectrum disorders are marked by a wide range of behavioral and communication symptoms.These can include:

  • Difficulty with verbal communication.
  • Difficulty with nonverbal communication, such as eye contact, tone of voice and facial expressions. 
  • Trouble expressing emotions or understanding emotions in others. 
  • Repetitive behaviors, like rocking or repeatedly touching objects.
  • Strong need for routine. 
  • Sensitivities to light, touch, sound, smell or other sensory stimuli.

In addition, many children with autism are hard working, sociable, honest, respectful, and kind.

Visiting the Dentist

Visits to the dentist can often be challenging for children with autism, but our goal is to make it as positive and comfortable an experience as possible. With years of advanced training, our pediatric specialists are able to adapt to the needs of every child we meet, including those who need that extra level of care. Our goal is to create a relaxing atmosphere where we can instill positive associations with visiting the dentist and reduce feelings of anxiety. In cases where an additional level of relaxation would be helpful to the child, our specialists are also qualified to perform sedation in the office and/or hospital.

We welcome children with autism and other special needs to our practice! If you are a parent of a child with autism and have any questions for our team, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Celebrate National Dentist’s Day this Saturday!

Saturday, March 6 is National Dentist’s Day! Celebrated annually, National Dentist’s Day is an opportunity to show appreciation for the dentists and dental specialists who keep our mouths healthy, including general dentists, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons and prosthodontists. As part of our celebration, we’ve combed history to recognize a few of the very first dentists and dental specialists.

First Dentist of Ancient History

The first recorded dentist, Hesy-Ra, lived and worked in Ancient Egypt around 2600 BC. He was known as the “Chief of Dentists” and was a person of high distinction under the pharaoh. According to New World Encyclopedia, the inscription on Hesy-Ra’s tomb reads, “The greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians.”

First Women Dentists 

Did you know that March is Women’s History Month? Women have played a vital role in dentistry. Emeline Roberts Jones was the first woman to practice dentistry in the United States. Since women were not allowed to enter dental school at the time, Jones secretly provided dental services until her husband allowed her to join his dental practice in 1855. Lucy Hobbs Taylor was the first woman to actually graduate from a dental school, earning her degree from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery in 1866.

First Pediatric Dentist

Another noteworthy woman in dental history is M. Evangeline Jordon, the first dentist to specialize in pediatric patients. Jordon began her career as a teacher and worked summers as a dental assistant, but eventually devoted herself to dentistry full-time, limiting her practice entirely to children in 1909. Jordon aimed to find methods for reducing children’s fear of going to the dentist. She also wrote and lectured on the importance of proper oral hygiene habits for kids.

First Orthodontists

While there is evidence that orthodontics has been around since ancient times, two French dentists are credited with progressing the field to where it is today. Pierre Fauchard developed a device called the “blandeau” in 1728, which helped to expand the mouth arch. Later, Louis Bourdet, who was dentist to the King of France, perfected the blandeau and was the first dentist to recommend extracting premolar teeth to ease crowding and to improve jaw growth. A century later, American Edward Hartley Angle developed the first classification system of malocclusion and the first school of orthodontia, establishing orthodontics as a specialty distinct from general dentistry.

First Oral Surgeon

Simon P. Hullihen is regarded as the “father” of oral surgery. Graduating as a medical doctor, he specialized in treating problems of the mouth and head, performing over 1,100 operations using instruments he invented himself.

First Prosthodontist

The practice of prosthodontics goes back to ancient times, when ancient Egyptians used gold wire to stabilize and replace missing teeth. However, the birth of modern implantology is often credited to Italian Manilo Formiggini, who developed a spiral stainless steel implant that allowed bone to grow onto the metal.

This National Dentist’s Day, give thanks to dentists for the important work they do to help keep our mouths healthy. If it’s time for your check-up, be sure to contact us.

KidzSmile Dentistry is a part of Mortenson Dental Partners.

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