Children's Dentistry in Brentwood, TN

Serving the Brentwood, TN community

Is it time to look for a kids' dentist for your little one?

It’s important to find a team of gentle, compassionate professionals that your child can come to know and trust. Experience has taught us that if a child isn’t comfortable with the people around them, their visit is likely to be less positive.

Sullivan Dental Partners is a fourth-generation dental office and has been practicing children's dentistry in Brentwood, TN for decades. You can trust our team to know just how to handle your child’s unique needs, so they grow up feeling confident about their dental care. In fact, we’re proud to say that many of our adult patients started with us when they were children!

 

At what age do you like to start seeing children?

Early dental care for your child is essential. Many parents are surprised to learn that the number one chronic childhood illness is tooth decay that affects 42 percent of kids between the ages of 2 and 11. Unfortunately, early cavities often go undiagnosed, and 23 percent of kids in the same age group have untreated cavities.

Dr. Rick and Dr. Sully like to start seeing kids around age three or four. At this age, most of their baby teeth have emerged. By starting their dental care at an early age, we can better ensure their future oral health and help them develop a positive attitude about visits to the dentist.

The caring team of hygienists and assistants at our Brentwood, TN dental office have children and grandchildren of their own, so they understand what it takes to keep our youngest patients comfortable and happy during their time with us.

What happens during my child’s dental first visit?

During your child’s first visit, our focus is to approach them at a pace that’s comfortable for them. Children experience stress in new situations in the same way adults do, so we’ll let them dictate what happens or doesn’t happen during their first visit.

At our child-friendly dental office in Brentwood, TN, we have a children’s reception area that helps distract kids and puts them at ease the moment they arrive. When it’s time for their appointment, we’ll chat with them for a bit, show them the little mirror, give them a ride in the dental chair, and count their teeth.

If they’re receptive, we’ll perform an exam. If not, we’ll wait till the next appointment. With each visit, your child’s confidence increases until they are comfortable with us treating them. We realize that these visits may be stressful for you, too, so for your peace of mind, we encourage you to join your child in the treatment room.

Can I bring my child in for a visit before their first appointment?

We’re always happy to arrange a time for you and your little one to meet us and check out the office. A casual visit helps your child get used to the surroundings and new faces without any stress.

It’s also a good idea to bring your child along when you or their siblings have a dental exam. These experiences allow your son or daughter to take in the sights and sounds and get to know our team in a secure, non-threatening environment. By the time they’re ready for their first “official” visit, they will already be familiar with us and the surroundings.

I’m worried my child won’t sit still. How can you help?

At Sullivan Dental Partners, you can be confident that our friendly, experienced team will provide your son or daughter with the care they need in an environment where they feel safe and secure.

In fact, your child’s comfort is so important to us that we have added a new staff member to our team – Raley the Therapy Dog! Little children love snuggling up with Raley, which is often enough to distract them and help them relax.

If puppy love doesn’t do the trick, we also offer nitrous oxide, a mild form of sedation that is safe for children. Sedating your child with nitrous oxide won’t put him or her to sleep, but it will make them feel very relaxed and drowsy and give them an enhanced feeling of relaxation.

Why are baby teeth so important?

This is a critical time for your child’s dental development, so think of your child’s baby (primary) teeth as placeholders for permanent teeth. The conditions that affect baby teeth can also impact permanent adult teeth that will soon follow in their place.

The goal is to keep your child’s baby teeth healthy and problem free until it’s time for their adult teeth to emerge. Losing even one primary tooth too early can lead to crooked or crowded teeth and the possible need for orthodontic treatment in the future.

What dental services do you provide for children?

As your child grows, their dental needs continually change. A six-year-old whose permanent teeth are erupting has different needs than a three-year-old with baby teeth.

At Sullivan Dental Partners, we can accommodate your child as their needs change, and there are several procedures we may recommend:

  • Preventive dental cleanings that allow us to make sure your child’s teeth are as clean and healthy as possible.
  • Fluoride treatments and sealants to strengthen your child’s teeth and help protect them from bacteria and cavities
  • Tooth-colored fillings to remove decay and restore the tooth.
  • Extractions as a last-resort procedure if your child’s tooth is too decayed to be saved with a crown or filling.
  • Stainless steel crowns to protect severely damaged baby teeth and avoid the need for extraction.
  • Digital x-rays every six months for kids who are at high risk for tooth decay; children with a low risk for decay require less frequent x-rays.
  • Customized protective mouth guards for kids who play sports

What will you do if my child gets a cavity in a baby tooth?

Removing decay and filling a cavity is just as crucial for baby teeth as it is for permanent teeth. If we don’t treat the tooth, the cavity will grow, and your child may suffer the discomfort of a decaying tooth.

If your child gets a cavity, we will fill it so that it remains in place until it’s ready to come out on its own. In some cases, a filling may not be sufficient, and we would recommend a “baby” crown to further protect the tooth.

Sealants applied to baby teeth are very helpful for preventing cavities from forming in the first place. Our dentists usually recommend sealants for teeth like molars with rough or uneven surfaces that attract bacteria and lead to decay.

How often will my child need to visit the dentist?

Routine dental cleanings and exams with a children’s dentist in Brentwood, TN are as essential for your son or daughter as they are for you. During these exams, we’ll check for signs of decay so we can fill any cavities as soon as possible.

When we treat these problems promptly, we can preserve the tooth until it’s ready to fall out on its own. We’ll also use this time to talk to you and your kids about the importance of good oral hygiene practices and a healthy, nutritious diet.

Will my child need sealants or fluoride applications?

In some cases, our team finds that a topical fluoride application is needed to help your child maintain strong, healthy teeth. Another very effective treatment that helps protect your child’s teeth from cavities are protective dental sealants.

We recommend sealants for healthy teeth like molars that have grooved surfaces that attract bacteria and food particles. Sealants are a thin plastic coating that smooths the surface of the tooth to help minimize the risk of tooth decay.

We can place sealants on baby teeth or healthy permanent teeth that have not been filled. Sealants wear away on their own and need to be replaced every five years or so.