Pediatric Dentistry FAQs

When should I schedule my child’s first visit to the dentist?

It is a good idea to make a dental appointment as soon as your child gets his first tooth, or at six months of age. Let us know of any special medical needs that your child has. We use standards from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to determine what’s best for treating pediatric patients.

What will you do on the first visit?

The first visit is introductory: we focus on getting to know your child, and on giving you basic information about what to expect with pediatric dental care.

During the first visit, Dr. Kim will check out your child’s teeth, looking for any potential problems or special dental needs. We’ll get you started out with some home care materials and resources so that you can monitor your child’s dental health and follow up accordingly.

After the first visit, if you have any questions, call us!

What is the difference between family dentist and pediatric dentist?

A family dentist treats patients of all ages, from infancy to adulthood. When you go to a family dentist, you can bring the whole family! The dentist and staff will apply the treatments and philosophies that are right for each patient on the basis of his or her age.

A pediatric dentist, on the other hand, only treats patients from birth up until the age of 18.

As a family dentist, Dr. Sonny Kim is experienced in treating dental patients of all ages, with a set of specializations that provide treatment through the entire dental life cycle.

How often should my child visit the dentist?

It’s a good idea to get your child dental checkups every six months. We view the child’s first teeth as critically important in his/her early development. The primary teeth help with key tasks including speaking, chewing food properly, and making faces. They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. The health of the teeth and gums is also important to your child’s general health.

What’s the best way to clean my baby’s teeth?

Clean a baby’s teeth after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth. You may choose to start with a tooth brush after the eruption of the first tooth. Pediatric tooth brush styles are made with soft bristles for little mouths. Start out with relatively gently home care until you can get more in-depth advice from the dentist on-site.

How can I help my child avoid cavities?

After the age of two, your child can brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Ask Dr. Kim about fluoride in pediatric toothpaste. Help your child to avoid sugary foods and drinks. It’s also important to make regular appointments to allow for good dental evaluation.

How do I create dental care habits for kids?

To get kids interested in dental care and set them up for good dental health later on, get into a routine of caring for the teeth. Have appropriate tooth brushes and tooth paste available, and get kids to initiate. Show them a timer so that they can see how long a two-minute brush is. And of course, take them to the dentist for regular checkups!

When does my child need dental sealants?

We recommend sealants, especially for molars, at an appropriate time after the teeth have sufficiently developed.

When should my child have dental X-rays taken?

We recommend taking X-rays around the age of two or three. Annual x-rays may be performed when the baby teeth in back are touching one another, and are especially important after permanent teeth start coming in around age six.

Overwhelmingly positive experience

I have been a patient at Dr. Kim’s practice since 2015 and have had an overwhelmingly positive experience to date. Dr. Kim and the staff are courteous, genuine, and professional. After having neglected my teeth for a few years, Dr. Kim provided several fillings and two crowns on my teeth. During the procedure Dr. Kim took numerous photos and extensive documentation. Dr. Kim explained multiple times that this was necessary when insurance companies decided to deny claims. A few months later, as dental providers do, my claim was denied as unnecessary, and they suggested that I should have first attempted a filling. While I am not a dentist, the tooth appeared barely intact after the plaque removal, and I am quite certain that Dr. Kim made the right choice. Helen, one of Dr. Kim’s staff members called me when my claim was denied and informed me that they were challenging the insurance companies decision with additional documentation and a write up. Additionally, I was assured over voicemail that under no circumstance would I pay anything more than I already had paid in the office (which was the amount I would have paid assuming my insurance gave coverage). After 3 or 4 repeated submissions by my provider, the insurance eventually caved and paid the bill. All of this based on two factors: the thoroughness of Dr. Kim’s documentation, and the insistence of Dr. Kim and his staff (Helen in particular) that my insurance provider pay their dues instead of myself. Additionally, at my last visit I mentioned I was getting married in the near future to Helen. She informed me that the practice provides a complimentary teeth bleaching to one of the parties! In summary it is hard to differentiate one dental practice from another, because quite frankly, teeth are teeth and we all want them to just work, it is easy to differentiate good people from predatory people. In a time where dental insurance providers seem quite predatory (at quite a penalty to the wallet!), I am glad to have a strong advocate in my dental provider. Dr. Kim and his practice are good people. I think good people deserve some degree of a shout out and that is why I am writing this review on my Friday night!

Jesse A., McLean, VA