Pediatric Dentist



Do you have a parking lot? Directions? Location? Hours?

Please visit our Contact Us page.

Are the parents allowed in the back with the child?

One parent is allowed in the treatment areas with their child. It is highly recommended to sit back and relax as we navigate your child through their appointment with ease and joy. Rest assured that all your questions will be answered. Many times, children sense anxiousness and distrust from their parent, which can affect their behavior and cooperation. Although rare, we may ask for you to leave your child with us in the office if we sense that this is occurring.

We value referrals, and they are truly appreciated. We believe that observing your child and our techniques, it may be easier for you to recommend us to friends and family.

Can my child’s cavities be fixed the same day of my first appointments? Even if we live far away?

The two most important things to our office are 1)the experience and 2) the quality of care. There are many offices that offer same day services. We are not one of them. Fixing cavities is not what the specialty of Pediatric Dentistry entails, it is only a small portion of what we do. Our job is to successfully build trust in your child. Through behavior management strategies such as positive reinforcement, tell show do, modeling, etc etc – we strive to motivate your child to cooperate with us, so that they enjoy their experience. This is done so that “when” we fix your child’s teeth, we do so under the most satisfying and psychologically positive/rewarding conditions. Cavities develop over a long period of time of sustained poor diet and hygiene. Think of dental caries as a process that requires the same amount of time to restore. Rest assured, we will do everything we can to not leave your child in dental pain, however, the worst thing for your child is to traumatize them AND perform poor quality of care. When we are able to successfully establish trust and cooperation in your child, the quality of care is substantially improved.

Please understand that it can take multiple appointments for us to establish these conditions with your child. Depending on their anxiety levels, we may choose to “desensitize your child” over a period of time which involves several “easy” appointments. This builds trust and confidence. In certain cases, we may even treat only the most severe lesions, or place temporary restorations to buy more time, or even delay treatment. Although time consuming, our strategies are proven to work and speak for themselves. Our behavior management strategies are firmly within the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) found here.

Are Xrays safe? Is Fluoride safe?

Our office policies regarding x-rays and the use of Fluoride are firmly within the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD), the Illinois Society of Pediatric Dentists (ISPD), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Medical Association (AMA).

Our xray policy is dependent on the child’s risk factors regarding the development of dental caries. After initial examination, we evaluate a child’s risk factors to develop cavities. If that risk is high, then we recommend xrays at a higher interval (every 6 months) to verify the absence of caries in between the teeth. If the child is considered at a low risk, we use a longer interval (1 yr, 18 months, or 2 yrs). It is critical that the doctor use all pieces of information available to accurately diagnosis dental caries in your child, therefore we support the use of xrays whenever we feel we need that information. We use digital xrays at our office which produce a significantly lower level of radiation and proper protection (thyroid collars) for our staff and patients. Please be assured that dental xray radiation is equivalent to walking outdoors on a normal day from the sun and other sources.

The number 1 thing that you can do for your child to substantially reduce their risk of dental caries is use fluoride. Fluoride is found in our tap water and toothpaste. Using risk assessment, a child may benefit more from the use of fluoride if they are considered to be at high risk of developing caries. Fluoride is highly recommended by all associations listed above, and is safe and effective in preventing caries. Over the counter fluoride supplements may be recommended for further protection (ACT rinse).

Breaking news…..fluoride is now recommended for use in ALL children, regardless of age….

Prevention is the most important aspect of pediatric dentistry and oral health. Caries is preventable! It will ALWAYS be easier to use the recommended current therapies for prevention as opposed to restoring caries in the office.

What are some ways to prepare my child for his/her first dental visit?

The best way to prepare your child for the visit is to be open and honest with them. Encourage them that the doctor will count their teeth, take pictures of their teeth and even tickle their teeth. Practice opening and closing at home and counting. Inform them that they will be receiving a goodie bag and that many kids go and enjoy the experience.

What age should my child stop nursing? using the bottle? Pacifier?

Nursing should cease anywhere from 8 to 16 months. Frequent night time breast feeding has been associated with dental caries. It is recommended to wipe the child’s mouth after nursing. Bacteria may harbor the tongue and cheeks and can be present even before the teeth erupt.

Bottle use should be ceased by 1. Sleeping at night with milk or juice in the bottle throughout the night is a substantial risk factor for caries. The child is encouraged to use a cup by the age of 1.

Finger or pacifier sucking has been shown to be nurturing and calming to the developing psyche in a child. Depending on the frequency, intensity and duration, and child may reshape the facial skeleton and move teeth due to this habit. Crossbites may occur which can lead to future braces. Pacifier habits are less harmful than thumb sucking. Most children stop spontaneously but positive reinforcement by the time the child is 24-36 months has been shown to be the most successful method of breaking the habit.

Do you do sedation?

Our goal for dental treatment involves the doctor putting your child in the best possible environment to cooperate. The goal is to have a positive experience and delivery optimal care. The best thing to use for this scenario is behavior management which includes such things as positive reinforcement, tell show do, modeling, distraction etc etc. On occasion, we may decide to use supplemental aids to achieve these goals. The first such aid available is Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas). Laughing gas is extremely popular and safe to use, as it works to reduce the anxiety level in your child to aid in cooperation. Although very mild, it works well in most children. Under laughing gas, the child is able to speak and maintain consciousness on his own and is completely reversible. It has been used for many decades in dentistry.

The second aid available is conscious sedation which involves giving your child a medication to use which will cause sleepiness and aid in cooperation. We do NOT provide this service at the office due to potential side effects. The last aid available is the use of general anesthesia at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. An anesthesiologist is present at the hospital which will administer the anesthesia and place a breathing tube for your child. All work is completed in one visit on an outpatient basis. This service is very popular and comes with associated fees depending on insurance. We will make EVERY effort possible to provide your child with the proper guidance and confidence they need to cooperate in the dental office, but sometimes this is simply not possible.

What can I expect at my child’s fist dental visit?

The first visit at our office is a critical one, and we truly strive to make it a memorable first impression. For young children (4 yrs or younger), it is HIGHLY recommended the visit take place in the morning time. Children are much more rested and more cooperative as opposed to bringing your child during their nap time or after daycare/school. These little tricks of the trade make a huge difference in the ability of your child to cooperate. We also can provide excuse forms for work/school.

The best way to prepare your child for the visit is to be open and honest with them. Encourage them that the doctor will count their teeth, take pictures of their teeth and even tickle their teeth. Practice opening and closing at home and counting. Inform them that they will be receiving a goodie bag and that many kids go and enjoy the experience.

Upon entering the office, you will be greeted immediately by friendly staff and our front desk receptionist. You will be given all patient information forms we require (only first visit). Our specialized dental assistants will walk the parent and the child to their dental chair, and introduce the child to the dental equipment. Children are usually distracted by the disney movies we have running at each chair. The dental assistant will interview the parent and will begin desensitizing your child by establishing trust using behavior management strategies. They will continue on and clean your child’s teeth and potentially take x-rays if needed. The doctor will then meet the child and the parent and perform a thorough examination. They will spend adequate time with you and your child reviewing the cavity process, diet, hygiene, thumb-sucking, pacifier use, fluoride exposure and many more things! We will also review caries, formulate a treatment plan, and review all options available to help your child cope. We provide in office nitrous oxide use and general anesthesia at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago for the treatment of dental caries.

What if my child is very scared or traumatized from a previous visit?

This is a very common concern that we face on a daily occasion from parents. The staff and the techniques that we use at BrightSmiles significantly reduce your child’s anxiety levels. We are a different office, different staff, and have a different approach. Many parents and patients are impressed at our abilities. Many parents underestimate how well their child does with us and tell us their child did a complete 180 with us. And you will be present to witness the process.

How can we donate to your cause or the Boys and Girls Club?

Because we are housed inside of the Pederson McCormick Boys and Girls Club, many parents enjoy the experience of meeting and seeing many of the club members, staff, and programs. They are impressed by what they see and are moved to offer donations. BrightSmiles is a for profit organization and does not accept donations, but has and will always support and recommend donations to the Pederson McCormick Boys and Girls Club. Any donation is tax deductible and will be put to use directly. Ask if interested!