Pediatric Carmel Dentistry
Your Child's First Visit
male patient walking his daughter into Carmel Pediatric Dentistry
put parents & children at ease

Dr. Katie and her staff are amazing. They take such great care of us. We are grateful to have found their practice. I highly recommend this pediatric dentistry practice. They are extremely compassionate and put parents and children at ease. I wish I had this kind of Dentist experience when I was a child. A+

Jo-Ann F.
Dr. Katie smiling with a female patient and two young girls

Relaxed Parents

We provide a safe, attentive, stress-free environment that parents love. We give all new patient families a tour of the office, brushing and diet tips specialized for your child, and a plan for what to expect next. Connecting with you and giving you your new patient gift are our favorite parts of your first visit.

Comfortable Treatment

During your child’s first visit, they will have a fear-free visual exam as well as a gentle cleaning with the “Tell-Show-Do” method so your child will know what’s going to happen first. For the parents, we always welcome you into the treatment room and provide guidance to prevent potential problems and disease for your child through healthy hygiene habits.

young boy wearing sunglass while flossing
young girl pointing at a poster with Dr. Katie

Exceptional Education

Not only is our “magic air” the best around, but so is our education. We stay up to date with the latest in pediatric care to provide you with effective educational tools to help your child create healthy hygiene habits that will carry them through adulthood.

Convenient Options

Because we care about your finances, we offer several payment options to fit your family including payment plans, Care Credit, and online payments.  We are considered an out-of-network provider for all insurance carriers.  However, we will be happy to file with your insurance company to maximize your benefits and only bill you for what insurance does not pay.

female dental assistant on the phone smiling
Dr. Katie smiling with a young male patient

Extra Special Care

We love treating children with special health care needs. To personalize their care to meet their needs, we thoroughly review your child’s condition and needs with you first. We always want to know as much as we can about your child before their visit so we can help them feel as comfortable as possible. If you think it would be better for your child to visit the office before treatment, we also offer desensitization appointments so they can experience the dental environment before they visit for treatment.

What is a board certified pediatric dentist and why should I choose one for my child?

By choosing a board certified pediatric dentist, you are choosing doctors who are committed to staying up to date with the latest recommendations in pediatric dentistry and practices at the highest standard of care. A board certified pediatric dentist means that not only did Dr. Laura and Dr. Katie complete an additional two years of residency training in pediatric dental care after dental school, but they also took the extra step to become board certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry which requires a separate board exam and stringent continuing education requirements to maintain board status.

Click here for a link to our sticker chart to track your child’s habit cessation progress.

thumbsucking sticker chart

My child gets nervous for his/her dental appointment. How can I help them prepare for our visit?

You, as a parent, play an important role in getting your child started with a good attitude toward dental care. You will want to keep talk about your child’s upcoming visit “low key” and refrain from using any words that could cause unnecessary fear, such as “needle” or “drill.” Be positive. This approach enables your child to view the upcoming dental visit as an enjoyable opportunity to stay healthy. We are experienced in dealing with children with anxiety and can explain treatment procedures in a positive and pleasant manner to avoid any anxious or negative feelings toward dentistry.

Treating your child is our passion. Restoring a happy, healthy child’s smile is very rewarding.  Please help us gain cooperation from your child to have a wonderful dental experience.
Also, please let our team know if there are any special adjustments we can make to provide a more positive experience for your child (i.e. bring in their favorite lovey and let Dr. Laura or Dr. Katie check their teeth first, bring a favorite movie from home to watch on our TVs, leave chair sitting up as much as possible)

Why is it important to take care of and fix baby teeth? Aren’t they going to fall out anyway?

Primary “baby” teeth are designed to function throughout the childhood years. Some of your child’s baby teeth are not lost until age 12. They help in the development of face and jaws and support facial structures and tissues (just imagine grandpa without his dentures on). They are also important for eating, and chewing food to aid in proper digestion through your child’s “growing” years.

Another vital function of primary teeth is holding space and guiding the permanent teeth in place. Baby teeth have relatively thin enamel (hard outer-layer of teeth) and large pulps compared with adult teeth, and can become decayed and infected (abscessed) easily. Infected baby teeth can damage your child’s adult (permanent) tooth developing below them. Healthy, decay-free primary teeth create a healthy environment for your child’s permanent teeth and reduce the chance for tooth decay. Give your child a healthy self-esteem with a healthy, beautiful smile.

How do sealants work and what is the process of having them placed?

Your child’s first permanent molars appear (erupt) around age 6. These teeth have deep grooves and fissures on the chewing surfaces that can harbor cavity-causing plaque, bacteria and acids that are difficult or impossible for toothbrush bristles to reach. Your child can protect these molars with sealants, a clear composite (plastic) material that is flowed into the grooves and fissures and then instantly hardened with a special light to act as a “shield” against harmful plaque, bacteria and acids. After they are placed, your child’s sealants are checked at each 6 month check-up and touched up if necessary.

Are dental X-rays (radiographs) safe and why are they necessary for my child?

The AAPD states that, “Radiographs are valuable aids in the oral healthcare of infants, children, adolescents, and persons with special healthcare needs. They are used to diagnose oral diseases and to monitor dentofacial development and the progress of therapy.” Dentists are unable to diagnose what they cannot see, and the risk from undetected dental problems outweighs the risk associated with exposure to dental radiographs. Dental radiographs use a very small amount of radiation to get the image your dentist needs to ensure good health. Additionally, Carmel Pediatric Dentistry utilizes digital radiographs, which use even less radiation than traditional X-rays, and they provide an instant image that can be saved electronically in our system. We will be very conscientious about minimizing the exposure of your child to radiation, which includes the use of proper shielding with lead aprons.

What causes a dental abscess and why might an antibiotic be indicated?

A dental abscess is a pocket of infection at the base of a tooth’s root. The tooth becomes abscessed after the pulp (nerve) of the tooth becomes infected. An abscess is usually caused by deep decay or an accident (trauma to the tooth involving nerve damage). There may or may not be the presence of pain. As the infection spreads, there may be swelling in the gum tissue near the affected tooth, and a fistula (or gum boil) may develop. If the abscessed tooth is a baby tooth and left untreated, damage to the permanent tooth underneath will occur over time.

A more serious problem (cellulitis) may occur with the development of swelling in the jaw or face on the side where the affected tooth is located. If left untreated, this swelling can spread upward toward the brain or downward into the neck and in rare cases can become life threatening. If your child appears to have an abscess or facial swelling, please contact Carmel Pediatric Dentistry immediately. An abscessed tooth will require either pulp therapy or an extraction. In many cases, an antibiotic will also be prescribed. If the swelling is large (easily visible simply by looking at the face) and your child has a fever and you cannot reach us immediately, please take your child to the hospital ER right away!

Are parents welcome in the treatment room with their child?

Yes! In fact, we prefer that you accompany your child. We only ask that you allow your child’s attention to be on the doctor or hygienist so they can gain the confidence of your child during their visit.

Are thumb sucking and pacifiers harmful for my child’s teeth?

Thumb sucking is a habit that often starts while your child is still in the womb. It is a natural instinct that helps prepare your infant for nursing. Infants and young children often use thumbs, fingers, pacifiers, or other available objects to satisfy their sucking needs. This can give your child a sense of security, happiness, and relaxation that can even lull them to sleep.

Most children quit their thumb/pacifier sucking by age 3, or at least by school age (due to peer pressure). At this stage, any dental problems (tooth movement, jaw-shape changes) that have resulted from your child’s sucking habit will usually correct on its own. If your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier use continues past 4 years of age, full self-correction is far less likely, and there are possibly other issues that are perpetuating the habit that should be explored. Stress may exacerbate the thumb-sucking problem, thus scolding your child for thumb sucking is not recommended. It is better to use positive reinforcement to motivate your child to quit the habit. Finding and eliminating the source of stress can also be really helpful. Click here for a link to our sticker chart to track your child’s habit cessation progress.

Thumb sucking appliances use stiff wires installed into the child’s mouth to obstruct the thumb and should be a last resort.  Thumb sucking is a habit that develops early in age and comforts babies and toddlers.  Typically, children stop thumb sucking as they transition to becoming a toddler around the age of two and up to four years old.  Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth can, and usually does, cause improper growth of the ought and misalignment of the teeth.  Also, thumb sucking that persists past two years old can cause speech problems.  

Several thumb sucking products or thumb sucking appliances are available that are specifically designed to break the early childhood habit that exists in about 10% of children over the age of four.  Using the appliance the dentist will attach a mechanical device by wires to rear molars, extending to the front of the mouth.  These devices work behind the upper front teeth at the roof of the mouth to either block or cause a firm pressure/slight pain when sucking of the thumb is attempted.  

thumbsucking sticker chart

We can't wait to meet you & your child

We look forward to meeting you. Call (317) 846-3496 or request an appointment online to set up your first visit. We’ll be in touch soon.