Children's Dentistry in Winston-Salem

Dentistry for your whole familyChildren's Dentistry Winston-Salem

Does your office see children?

Yes, we love children.  Our office focuses on family dentistry, meaning we are passionate about providing care to your entire family. 

We make their visits fun.  During the dental appointment, we will do our best to make your child’s visit as enjoyable as possible.  From calling our instruments “Mr. Thirsty”, to prizes at the end of the appointment, we focus on making the dentist fun for the whole family!

When should I bring my child to the dentist?

Within 6 months of their first tooth coming in.  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a year one dental visit, or bringing your child to the office within 6 months of their first tooth erupting. 

The first visits are all about promoting oral health and checking development.  Before age 3, your child probably will not be able to cooperate for a dental cleaning.  However, it is still very important to take them to the dentist.  We will focus on discussing ways to promote oral health and prevent decay, such as with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene.  We will also examine your child’s teeth to make sure there are no cavities and everything is developing normally. 


Dental Sealants

Does my child need dental sealants? Dental Sealants in Winston Salem

Most children benefit from dental sealants on their permanent molars.  When your child’s back permanent molars come in, we will evaluate if they could benefit from dental sealants.  Teeth with deep grooves are at the highest risk for chewing surface cavities.  Drs. Benton and Nelson if your child has deep anatomy and will recommend sealants at your child’s cleaning appointment. 

What are the benefits of dental sealants?

Bacteria and plaque can’t get into the tooth. Dental sealants bacteria and plaque from being able to access the deep grooves and pits that exist on your back teeth.

Reduce cavy risk by up to 80%.  Studies have shown that chewing surface cavities can be reduced by up to 80%.

Quick, easy, and non-invasive.  Dental sealants are quick and easy to apply. This simple non-invasive procedure only takes a few minutes and can be completed at your cleaning visits.

Are dental sealants covered by dental insurance plans?

Children are covered by dental insurance.  In almost all cases, children can have their sealants covered by dental insurance. 

For adults, a sealant is cheaper than a filling! Unfortunately, dental insurances usually do not cover dental sealants in patients over the age of 18.  However, we encourage all patients to consider dental sealants as they are less expensive than needing a filling on the tooth later because it wasn’t protected. 

I thought dental sealants were only for children?

Dental sealants are beneficial at all ages.  Studies show that dental sealants can protect all back teeth from cavities, regardless of the patient’s age. 

What is the process of getting dental sealants like?

All it takes is 10 minutes.  The tooth is cleaned and kept dry.  A special adhesive is used, and the sealant material is placed on the groovy surfaces of the teeth.  The sealant material is then hardened with a UV light in just seconds.  



What is fluoride? Fluoride Varnish in Winston Salem

Fluoride is naturally found in water.  Fluoride is an element that is naturally found in soil and in water.  It is added to most public water supplies (city water) to prevent dental decay. 

It is one of the best ways to prevent cavities.  Fluoride is the best tool that dentists have to prevent smooth surface cavities, meaning cavities that form between the teeth and on the smooth outer layers of the teeth. 

Do you recommend fluoride for my child?

Yes, we recommend fluoride for most children.  There are many ways to protect the teeth with fluoride, including in-office fluoride varnish treatment, toothpastes, and fluoridated mouthrinses.  Drs. Benton and Nelson will assess your child’s fluoride exposure and risk of cavities and recommend a customized prevention plan for you. 

In-office fluoride varnish treatment

At the end of your child’s dental visit, we will recommend a fluoride varnish treatment.  Fluoride varnish is a topically applied, highly-concentrated form of fluoride that significantly reduces risk of tooth decay.  The great news is that fluoride is easier than ever to get at the dentist's office.  We no longer use the old fluoride foam trays.  Our office applies fluoride in a varnish form that tastes great and only takes seconds to apply, so there is no uncomfortable gagging!

Fluoride Toothpastes Dr. Nelson's daughter in Winston Salem

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends fluoridated toothpastes from the eruption of your child’s first tooth.  These recommended amounts below are precisely calculated so your child will receive the maximum benefit of fluoride while being completely safe to swallow.

  • Ages 1-2 years get a “grain of rice” amount:  At ages 1 and 2 years, your child can have a “grain-of-rice” sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. 
  • Ages 3-5 get a “pea sized” amount:  At ages 3, 4, and 5 years, your child can have a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. 
  • Ages 6 and older will be able to spit it out: Once your child is 6 years or older, he or she will be able to completely spit out the toothpaste, and you do not have to restrict the quantity. 

Am I getting fluoride in my drinking water?

It depends on your water source.  If you are on city water, then your tap water has fluoride added to prevent dental decay.  If you are on well water, your water supply likely does not have high enough levels of fluoride.  We are happy to give you a home well-water test kit to determine your water’s fluoride levels. 

I thought fluoride was only for children?

  • Fluoride is beneficial at all ages.  Studies show that fluoride is effective at preventing dental decay at all ages.  Whether a patient is 5 years old or 90 years old, fluoride could be beneficial to help keep their mouth healthy and cavity-free!

Are fluoride applications covered by dental insurance plans?

Children are covered by dental insurance.  In almost all cases, children’s in-office fluoride varnish treatments are covered by insurance.  

For adults, a fluoride is cheaper than a filling! Unfortunately, dental insurances usually do not cover fluoride applications in patients over the age of 18.  However, we encourage all patients to consider fluoride as it is less expensive than needing a filling later on because the teeth weren’t optimally protected.


Laughing Gas (Nitrous Oxide) 

Do you offer laughing gas for children during dental treatment? Nitrous Oxide for Children Dentistry in Winston Salem

Yes, laughing gas is a great option for children requiring dental treatment.  Nitrous oxide is often recommended for children, especially those under age 8, to help them cooperate and have a more pleasant dental experience. 

Laughing gas is an excellent way to reduce nervousness. Laughing gas could be a great option for your child if he or she is nervous about an upcoming appointment.

It wears off by the time you leave the office.  The effects of nitrous oxide wear off within minutes, so your child is free to go to school afterwards.

Is Nitrous Oxide safe for my child?

Yes.  Nitrous oxide is very safe and has been used in dentistry for decades.  Nitrous oxide administration probably has the least effects and adverse events that any drug we use in dentistry.

The most common, but rare, side effect is nausea.  Occasionally, some children will feel nauseous while on nitrous oxide.  To reduce this side effect, we recommend not giving your child a heavy meal within 2 hours of your dental appointment. 

Most patients are candidates for laughing gas.  There are very few contraindications for nitrous oxide.  However, we will need to complete a medical history to ensure it is safe for you.  Certain patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), uncontrolled asthma, or other breathing issues may not be good candidates for nitrous oxide. 


X-Rays For Children

When should my child have x-rays taken?

X-rays to look for cavities within 6 months of the back teeth touching.  We recommend your child have bitewings radiographs, or x-rays that look for in-between teeth cavities, within 6 months of their back molars touching.  This will help us make sure your child doesn’t have dental decay in areas that we can’t see during the exam.  For most children, this means they will have their first set of x-rays around ages 4-6 years old. 

X-rays to check growth and development when the top permanent teeth are coming in.  We recommend your child have a panoramic radiograph, or developmental x-ray, when their permanent top front teeth are coming in.  The panoramic radiograph takes a full image of the lower third of the face, and will allow our doctors to see if there are any missing permanent teeth or poorly positioned permanent teeth. 

Should I be nervous about radiation from dental x-rays for my child?

No.  Our office uses digital dental x-rays, which have very little radiation.  A flight from New York City to Los Angeles has about about 40 times the radiation exposure than a digital dental x-ray.

We use only the lowest possible dose for our patients.  Our modern Winston-Salem office utilizes digital xrays to make your experience safer, faster, more efficient, and to ensure the lowest possible doses for you and your family.

Our office’s x-ray promise: Our office will only recommend the x-rays that are appropriate and absolutely necessary. For patients who rarely have dental issues, we will take less frequent x-rays than normal. Just like other medical screening procedures, patients have different risks and that is reflected in the x-rays that we prescribe.


Can I afford to take my child to the dentist?

We accept and file all dental insurance policies

Our office provides excellent care at an affordable price.  We accept and file all dental insurance policies and will fight on your behalf so that you receive the maximum benefit.

Financial plans are available

We offer financing plans that allow you to fit your needs into your budget.

Discounts for patients without dental insurance (cash pay)

We also offer discounts to patients without dental insurance or for those who prefer to pay in cash.