FAQ & Dental Topics

Why choose a Pediatric Dentist?

A Pediatric Dentist has completed at least a two year residency in addition to the four years required to earn a degree in Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.). The D.D.S. degree is preceded by a bachelors degree from college. During Dr. Caple’s two year residency, he provided dental care exclusively for children under the instruction of experts in the field. While providing treatment for the children, Dr. Caple was required to have all treatment decisions backed up with scientific research which had to be approved by his instructors. This two year intensive “hands on training” is what makes a Pediatric Dentist more uniquely prepared to meet the high standard of care fro you child.

What is Dr. Caple’s educational and professional background?

Dr. Brent Caple graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a B. S. in Medical Science. Then Dr. Caple graduated with high honors from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Dentistry. At the University of Tennessee Dr. Caple received the following academic awards: American Society of Dentistry for Children, American Association of Endodontists, and High Honors Certificate of Merit. Dr. Caple then completed a two year residency program specializing in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Tennessee. During this residency Dr. Caple completed rotations at St. Joseph’s Hospital, LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, and Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

What age should a child see Dr. Caple, a Pediatric Dentist?

Two years old is an appropriate age for this geographic area. Most all baby teeth are in at this age. If you have a concern, Dr. Caple is still happy to see children before two years of age.

Does Dr. Caple have an age limit for new patients?

Yes. Dr. Caple sees new patients 10 years and under.

How long is my child able to see Dr. Caple, a Pediatric Dentist?

Some children continue to see Dr. Caple thru 17 years of age. However, if cavities are developed in the second molars or between permanent teeth, than Dr. Caple may refer the child to a general dentist of the parent’s choice.

How do I prepare my child for his or her first visit?

You can play a large part in preparing your child for his or her first visit with Dr. Caple. Try to act relaxed and at ease. Any anxiety on your part will be sensed by your child. Tell your child that we will “count” and “take pictures” of his or her teeth. Do not use any fear provoking words such as “hurt, drill, pull, and needle.” Avoid statement like “the doctor will not hurt you.” (If I say to you, “Don’t think of a banana!” what is the first thing you think of? A banana! It’s the same with the word “hurt.”)

What should I expect at the first visit?

You and your child will be invited back to the operative area so that we may review your child’s health history, diagnosis, or specific concerns. We will thoroughly explain each of the procedures to your child in terms that he or she can understand before we do the procedure. Be assured that we will treat your children with as much care and concern as we treat our own. However, some children will cry, as this is a normal response to an unfamiliar situation.

What procedures are usually performed at the first visit?

At this visit we will emphasize oral hygiene techniques to be practiced by both you and your child. We will answer any questions for you. A full examination of the teeth and supporting structures will be done, and the occlusion (bite) will be evaluated. Radiographs (x-rays) will be taken as necessary, usually every twelve months, to assure a thorough and comprehensive examination. Depending on the age of your child (usually 3 years or older), a prophylaxis (cleaning of teeth) and fluoride treatment will be performed. When treatment has been completed, your child will be placed on a periodic exam (recall) schedule, and you will receive a text message and, or an email reminder before the appointment.

What age do you recommend for first teeth cleaning and bitewing x-rays?

Dr. Caple recommends to start teeth cleanings at three years of age, unless the child is ready to start at two and a half years. Bitewing x-rays are not usually recommended until four years of age, unless absolutely needed.

How often should a child have bitewing x-rays?

Dr. Caple recommends bitewing x-rays beginning at age four. Dr. Caple takes bitewing x-rays once every twelve months. If a child is cavity-prone then Dr. Caple recommends one set of bitewing x-rays every six months until a decrease in cavities is determined.

How often should a child a Panorex?

Dr. Caple recommends a Panorex x-ray every three to five years. Dr. Caple usually takes the first one after the front teeth erupt and the last one when the wisdom teeth need to be evaluated. Dr. Caple takes this type of x-ray to check the number of teeth, the direction of growing teeth, and missing teeth.

How often does Dr. Caple recommend Fluoride?

After a professional teeth cleaning, Dr. Caple recommends a fluoride varnish. This fluoride varnish has been proven effective in reducing cavities. If you have well water or live in an area with no fluoride in the water, sometimes Dr. Caple will also prescribe a fluoride vitamin, rinse, or prescription toothpaste. Dr. Caple recommends having the varnish treatment every six months, even though some insurance companies only reimburse one time per year. The parent will be asked before fluoride varnish is applied, so it is the parent’s choice.

Will Dr. Caple take a child to the hospital for some dental procedures?

No. If Dr. Caple recommends going to the Hospital, then he refers young or special needs children to another pediatric dentist to provide this service. This is usually reserved for the extremely anxious child due to age, medical condition, or developmental issue

How does Dr. Caple help a child manage his or her anxiety?

If a child needs help in managing his or her anxiety for an operative procedure, Dr. Caple will recommend a light sedation, consisting of oral medication and nitrous oxide (happy gas). This usually accomplished on children who are over three years old and at least 30 pounds.

Does Dr. Caple recommend whitening teeth?

Dr. Caple recommends Crest White Strips. Crest White Strips can be used at any age as long as your child can tolerate the treatment. Dr. Caple does not recommend daily use of whitening toothpaste at this time. Some patients have used Ultra-Bright toothpaste successfully for short term use.

Should I be concerned if teeth are growing in behind or over baby teeth?

This most commonly occurs on the lower front teeth. No worries if baby teeth are loose. Just keep wiggling the baby teeth. You may also try Oral Gel in conjunction with wiggling the teeth. If new teeth are halfway in and baby teeth are not loose, give two weeks to loosen up. If baby teeth are not loose after two weeks, then call Dr. Caple for an appointment to have the baby teeth removed. This is usually accomplished by using nitrous oxide and local anesthesia. Most children do well with this type of treatment.

Should I be concerned about teeth grinding?

You do not need to be concerned if they are baby teeth. Most children out grow this by the time the permanent teeth erupt. If grinding continues, then you may want to consider a mouth guard.

Does Dr. Caple do orthodontics?

No. If your child’s teeth are crowding, you will want to call an Orthodontist of your choice or call our office for a referral.

Where can I find more information on pediatric dental topics?

For more topics visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry website at AAPD.org under the Parent Resource Center. You may also reach Dr. Caple’s office at (479) 273-6030.