Project Description

Pediatric Dentistry

“A child’s smile is worth more than all the money in the world.” ~ Lionel Messi

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Having a great smile as an adult starts with great care as a child. At The Smile Anchorage we are enthusiastic about treating all of your family’s dental needs, including your children. From toddlers to teens and beyond, we approach your family and their dental health with care.

With very young children it is our primary goal to make sure that their first visits to see a dental care professional are as easy and trauma free as possible. So often we see adults that had such poor experiences as children that they have stayed away from the dental office for long periods of time, only adding to the problems that they may then face when returning to the dental care setting. We want to avoid these unpleasant memories for our child patients. This starts with simple, friendly visits where we can take some extra time to make sure that your little one is comfortable and ready to be seen.

In those cases where your child already has a high level of anxiety about seeing a dentist, we can evaluate their need to be seen in a pedodontist’s office. A pedodontist is a specialist that has special training for children that exhibit certain behaviors, and have offices that are better equipped to serve children with these kinds of needs. Not all children will need a pedodontist, but for those who do have that need, we can refer you to one of many area pedodontic specialists that will take great care of your child.

When Should My child See A Dentist?

During dental school, one of Dr. Ranney’s professors said that a person should bring their child to see a dentist “when they have teeth”. Today, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says that children should have their first visit by their first birthday. It’s very important to introduce children to good oral health care early, as some statistics tell us that as many as 25% of children have a cavity by age four! These early visits to the dental office can help to determine your child’s risk for getting dental decay. We can see the current status, and recommend a plan for how to maintain or improve things like diet, habits and prevention. Dr. Ranney even suggests bringing your child by the office for a visit before they have any actual exam. Let them come by the office, meet the staff and get to know the environment before they have any actual time in the chair.

If your child is complaining of tooth pain, call us right away and schedule a time to have us take a look and assess the problem. With tooth pain, the problems usually get worse rather than get better. The lower amount of discomfort that is occurring when your child gets to our office will greatly help with their level of comfort and openness to treatment.

You Have Questions. We Have Answers.

Here are some frequently asked questions about your kids and dentistry.

The cost of any particular procedure is going to vary depending on a number of factors. For example, you may have an insurance plan that has a specific contracted payment amount, or you may have an insurance co-pay or deductible. For an accurate cost on any particular treatment, please contact our front office staff and we will gladly help you determine your out-of-pocket costs.

In general, the lower front teeth on an infant come in around six months of age. The two upper front teeth usually follow soon after. There are no exact ages or order that teeth follow, but the following table can help you to see when the averages are for each tooth.

tooth eruption chart

There is no exact way to say for certain when your child will lose a particular tooth. There are some general guidelines, however. Kids will start to lose teeth around age four to five. Baby teeth will be lost over the next 8-10 years as they grow up. Most of the baby teeth are gone by age 13 or 14. The first teeth to go are often the upper front teeth. Below is a general chart for when the baby teeth come in, and when they are lost.

baby tooth loss chart

Start with a visual inspection. Look for any signs of swelling or infection. You can rinse the area with a warm salt-water solution. Use a cold compress if swelling is present. If your child has no allergies, use children’s acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help with the hurting. Call a dentist right away so that the problem can be assessed and treated. Never, NEVER place aspirin or other medications directly on the tooth or gums, as this can cause serious chemical burns and other complications.

You should begin taking your child to see a dentist when they first have teeth, or if they have not developed teeth by their first birthday. Additionally, you should start proper home care of the teeth when the teeth first appear.


In very young children and infants, tooth decay usually happens in the upper front of the mouth. However, other teeth can get decay just as easily. The condition is called Early Childhood Caries (ECC) or “baby bottle decay”. The primary cause is too much exposure of the teeth to sugary fluids. For example, allowing infants to sleep with a bottle in their mouth containing ANYTHING other than water.

Toddlers and older children can get decay from poor dental care, such as not brushing and flossing correctly. Parents should supervise the brushing and flossing of their kids until they reach an age where they can appropriately manage the care themselves.

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Primary teeth, or “baby teeth” as they are mostly known, can be very important. If a baby tooth is lost too early, the other teeth can shift and move, causing a problem that will likely need braces to fix. They are also needed to keep the spacing for the adult teeth that follow. They are important for proper speaking, eating and chewing. Losing a tooth early can call for the use of space maintainers to keep the remaining teeth in their correct locations, until the adult teeth have time to make their way into the mouth.

Infected teeth can cause problems to the underlying adult teeth. The results can be permanent discolorations of the outer layer of the teeth, or weakened tooth structure.

SOMETIMES, losing a baby tooth to decay can be acceptable, provided that the timing is right and the adult teeth are not far behind.

Yes. Young children should have close supervision to make sure they are brushing and flossing well enough to keep problems like tooth decay from occurring. Parents should be brushing their children’s teeth for them, until they are able to do so themselves. In general, if your child has reached an age where they can dress themselves and tie their own shoe laces, then they are likely ready to take over the duties of brushing their own teeth. For flossing, parents should supervise the activity until about the age of ten.

Two minutes of brushing, two times a day is the recommended amount of brushing. Flossing once per day is also the norm.

Modern x-ray equipment is safe for children. In days gone by, the level of radiation that a child was exposed to during a routine film x-ray was many, many, many times greater than the digital sensor systems used today. So, even in those long ago times where film was the standard, x-rays were safe at the level, speed and quantity used in dentistry. Today, the amount is much smaller than the radiation that is regularly introduced to children from their daily activities.

Dental Insurance Plans

Our dental office is a participating provider for a number of dental insurance plans. The Smile Anchorage accepts the insurance plans of most of the major employers in the area. Notably this includes United Parcel Service UPS, Humana, Ford Motor Company, Yum! Brands, Papa John’s and many others.

Please keep in mind that your insurance coverage may be different that that of your co-workers. Even though you have the same provider, you may be enrolled in a different plan. Hence, plans can vary greatly. For example, your co-worker might have coverage for braces. In contrast, you may have no coverage for those procedures. By the same token your co-worker may pay $25 for a filling. Instead, you might pay nothing for a similar filling. The Smile Anchorage does not have any say in what your plan covers. Call or come by our office. Speak to one of our insurance specialists. They can tell you about your exact coverages.

You Have No Insurance

We know that many of our patients have no insurance. So, The Smile Anchorage has an in-house dental plan for those without insurance called The Smile Program. Firstly, The Smile Program covers twice per year cleanings. Secondly, exams are included two times per year. Likewise, all necessary x-rays are included. Thirdly, there are discounts on certain treatments. Additionally there are no claim forms. Equally important other benefits are explained on our New Patients page. Click here to learn more about The Smile Program.

The list of dental insurance plans that are accepted at The Smile Anchorage is not a static list. Correspondingly, changes sometimes occur. With this in mind, we advise that you call to confirm that your insurance is accepted in our office before you make an appointment.

The List

A current list of insurance providers that are accepted in our office is shown below. Providers change. The list is updated as of July 2017.

  • Aetna

  • Anthem

  • Assurant

  • Central States

  • Cigna

  • Delta Dental

  • DentaSelect

  • Dentemax

  • Guardian

  • Humana

  • LHI Logistics Health Incorporated

  • Liberty Dental

  • Lincoln Financial Group

  • Metlife

  • Principal

  • Superior Dental

  • United Concordia & ADDP United Concordia

  • United Healthcare

Dental Insurance Coverage

People often ask us if their dental insurance coverage will take care of the costs associated with any given procedure. This is a question that is difficult to answer through our website.

There are a tremendous number of insurance companies. Each of those companies may have several different policy options. There are also other considerations, such as co-pays and deductibles. Those can vary from person to person depending on their insurance policy.

Sometimes it occurs that you have dental insurance coverage, but there are time-frame restrictions to consider. For example, you may have insurance that pays for a dental cleaning every six months. That would mean your insurance would not cover your cleaning if you visited the office five and a half months after your last dental cleaning. You would have to wait two weeks before your benefits would be active.

Another situation that could occur would be exceeding a yearly maximum. For example, if you had coverage that pays for a crown, but you had a $1500 yearly insurance maximum. If you had already had some treatment that the insurance paid for in the amount of $1400 your remaining insurance is just $100. You would have just that $100 remaining that the insurance would pay, unless you wait until your insurance reset for a new year. That time reset could be on a calendar basis, or a policy basis.

Another factor that could weigh on payments made by insurance is that of pre-determination. For example, let’s assume you have coverage for a crown. You have a tooth where you dislike the appearance. We determine that a crown is the best way to solve the problem. Your insurance may consider the procedure to be cosmetic in nature, and your policy may have an exclusion for cosmetic work done to your teeth. In these situations, we can submit your claim to your insurance provider before the work is done in order to determine if the proposed work would be covered bu your policy.

All of these factors are person specific.

In conclusion, the answer to the question of whether or not your insurance covers a specific treatment is “maybe”. So , if you would like to know if your insurance covers a specific treatment, call our office at (502)243-9200. Or, take a short drive to our office in East Louisville and one of our insurance specialists will help you understand your policy coverage.

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Your child’s smile is important to us. Call (502) 243-9200 today to keep those smiles healthy.


(502) 243-9200