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Pediatric Dentistry
J. Thomas Hedrick, DDS, MSD | Aleco E. Tujios, DDS, MS

We know that every child is precious. As a pediatric dental practice, Woodhill Dental Specialties is committed to providing the highest level of quality care for our patients. Our doctors, hygienists, assistants, and office staff are motivated to continuing their education to keep up with the latest treatments and technology in pediatric dentistry.

We endeavor to make your visit a positive experience for your child. We understand that your child may be apprehensive and we will leave no stone unturned to alleviate that feeling by providing a nurturing and caring environment.

Establishing lasting relationships with our patient families based on mutual trust is extremely important to us. We realize caring for your child is both an honor and a privilege. We appreciate your trust and confidence in our office to meet your expectations and your child's needs.

Your First Visit

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child visit a pediatric dentist by age one. You can help make the visit enjoyable and positive by telling your child that the dentist and staff will talk to him about taking care of his teeth. The less fuss made concerning the visit, the better.

At this visit, we will look in your child's mouth, discuss diet, bottles, sippy cups, and brushing. Your child will receive a new toothbrush and several items to convey going to the dentist as a non-threatening experience. We also will give you materials that will answer your questions regarding future visits, x-rays, fluoride, sealants and eruption of your child's teeth.

Patient Forms

To save you time, please complete the new patient forms and take them with you on your first visit to our office.

We strive to make this a fun and pleasant visit for you and your child. Download our Dental Fun Kit .

   
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The First Cleaning (Prophylaxis)

This visit is generally around the age of three. You are more than welcome to accompany your child to the treatment area. However, we do ask that you be an interested bystander and allow the Dental Hygienist and Dr. Hedrick or Dr. Tujios to talk with your child. This helps your child understand in a pleasant, non-frightening way what we will be doing that day. At the end of the visit, Dr. Hedrick or Dr. Tujios will talk with you and the Dental Hygienist or Dental Assistant will take your child to the play area and entertain him until you are ready to leave.

We will show your child each of the tools and explain what they do. We employ the "tell, show, do" method and use positive reinforcement to make the visit a happy time.

We will do a complete exam, prophylaxis, and fluoride treatment. We may also take x-rays.

Our goal is to make this a happy, fun visit while also helping your child see that going to the dentist is not scary.

School Programs

We are more than happy to come to your child's preschool, kindergarten or first grade classes to present our dental health care program. We will show a short video and talk about nutrition, brushing and flossing. We also bring our "giant" teddy bears, Thomas and Jeffrey, to demonstrate correct brushing and flossing which allows the children to participate in the process.

Feel free to call us to schedule a time for us to come out! This is a free service that we offer to all schools in our area. Contact Amanda or Audia at 214-691-1172 to reserve a date and time.

Testimonials

"My kiddos love going to the dentist. Great Job!"

"I remember going to Dr. Hedrick when I was a little girl. he was always so patient and loving, one of the best doctors I have ever had. My son just went for his first teeth cleaning, and my daughter to follow."

"Dr. Hedrick's team is always very kid-friendly and makes huge efforts to work us into the schedule if there is a last minute concern."

"Dr. Hedrick and staff -

Thank you for taking such wonderful care of me (and my mommy) during my surgery last week. I do love my new teeth."

"Dr. Hedrick,

I just wanted to say that you are a wonderful person and dentist! It has been a great twenty-one years! I really appreciate how you made each of your patients feel like a friend. I hope that when I have kids, you or someone just as fantastic can be their dentist! Thank you again and have a wonderful holiday!"

"Dr. Hedrick and his staff are really the best for my two little boys. They are so great with kids and the waiting room has toys, books and even a little game room! It's hard to pull my boys off the video games when it's their turn. So I never have to dread dragging them to the dentist! They are very sensitive to preventing pain and they are very nurturing to worried mommies. I just can't say enough about how great they are. In fact, my insurance only covers 50% there, and I could go somewhere else to get 100% coverage, but it's worth it to me to pay the money for the positive experience and for my boys not to be afraid of going to the dentist."

"Great children's dentist: We've gone to Dr. Hedrick with our two kids for more than 10 years. He is warm and friendly, as well as efficient and professional. His staff is wonderful, and his new offices are beautiful. It's a large practice, but Dr. Hedrick has great people skills and the gift of making you feel as if you and your children are his primary concern."

"Dr. Hedrick is the BEST Pediatric Dentist in Dallas. My family has been going to him since 1977 and we have always received the best care. My daughter had baby teeth that grew in too early and started to rot. She required 3 root canals by the time she was 6 years old. She never had any pain and she absolutely LOVES Dr. Hedrick and his entire staff."

"Dear Dr. Hedrick,

Years ago you cared for my three children with expertise and compassion. Whenever I pass your building on my way to appointments I feel gratitude to you for your care. So I'm just takin' a moment of your time to let you know that my now - gorwn children - and thier teeth are enjoying good health thanks to you"

"Dear Dr. Hedrick,

This letter is regarding the experience we shared with you, your wonderful team, and our son. As you know he came to your practice with a cavity. His extreme aversion to shots being ever present, you somehow managed to give a shot, remove the nerve and place a temporary filling and ensure he walked out smiling. Your recommended office visits, just to ensure he becomes comfortable with Dental X-rays, and exams helped tremendously. We understood that with the best efforts we still needed to have him fully sedated. At that point we had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Henderson. He was outstanding. Prior to the procedure Dr. Henderson met with our family and explained the procedure and laid our fears to rest. He was understanding, patient and kind. Dr. Henderson is a true professional. Since his crown, he eats like a little champ and nothing bothers him with regards to temperature or pain. I would guess he has gained a couple pounds since the procedure. My family and I are very grateful and blessed to have you caring for his dental needs. I would be remised if I didn't acknowledge the staff. They are without a doubt the kindest, most understanding and professional dental assistants I have ever encountered. Your entire staff is exemplary. Your waiting room is a "Fun Zone". My son loves to visit and would love to visit any time. The games are fantastic!"

Frequently Asked Questions

We recommend that you make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as your child gets his first tooth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child is seen by 6 months after his/her first tooth erupts or by 1 year old, whichever is first.

The first visit is usually short and simple. In most cases, we focus on getting to know your child and giving you some basic information about dental care. The doctor will check your child's teeth for placement and health, and look for any potential problems with the gums and jaw. If necessary, we may do a bit of cleaning. We will also answer any questions you have about how to care for your child's teeth as they develop, and provide you with materials containing helpful tips that you can refer to at home.

The best preparation for your child's first visit to our office is maintaining a positive attitude. Children pick up on adults' apprehensions and if you make negative comments about trips to the dentist, you can be sure that your child will fear an unpleasant experience and act accordingly. Show your child the pictures of the office and staff on the website. Let your child know that it's important to keep his teeth and gums healthy, and that the doctor will help him do that. Remember that your pediatric dentist is specially trained to handle fears and anxiety, and our staff excels at putting children at ease during treatment.

We generally recommend scheduling check-ups every six months. Depending on the circumstances of your child's oral health, we may recommend more frequent visits.

All dental specialists (pediatric dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, and others) begin by completing dental school, and then continue their education with several years of additional specialized training. During training in the field of pediatric dentistry, your doctor gained extensive knowledge and experience in treating infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatric dentists enjoy working with children, and bring to each patient our expertise in childhood development and behavior. Because our office is geared toward young visitors, you'll find that our staff, as well as our office design, decorations and activities, all work together to provide an especially friendly and comfortable environment for children.

Although they don't last as long as permanent teeth, your child's first teeth play an important role in his development. While they're in place, these primary teeth help your little one speak, smile and chew properly. They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. If a child loses a tooth too early due to damage or decay nearby teeth may encroach on that space, which can result in crooked or misplaced permanent teeth. Also, your child's general health is affected by the oral health of the teeth and gums.

Even before your baby's first tooth appears, we recommend you clean their gums after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth. As soon as their first tooth appears, you can start using a toothbrush. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You can most likely find a toothbrush designed for infants at your local drugstore.

Once your child has a few teeth, you can start using a non-fluoridated toothpaste on the brush. Use only a tiny amount for each cleaning, and be sure to choose toothpaste that says "swallowable" on the label for children under three, as too much fluoride can be dangerous for very young children. Always have your child rinse and spit out toothpaste after brushing, to begin a lifelong habit he'll need when he graduates to fluoride toothpaste. Children naturally want to swallow toothpaste after brushing, and swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause teeth to stain. You should brush your child's teeth for him until he is ready to take on that responsibility himself, which usually happens by age six or seven. Read about dental care for your baby.

Certain types of bacteria live in our mouths. When these bacteria come into contact with sugary foods left behind on our teeth after eating, acids are produced. These acids attack the enamel on the exterior of the teeth, eventually eating through the enamel and creating holes in the teeth, which we call cavities.

Sealants cover the pits and fissures in teeth that are difficult to brush and therefore susceptible to decay. We recommend sealants as a safe, simple way to help your child avoid cavities, especially for molars, which are hardest to reach.

Over the last several years there has been cause and concern over Bisphenol-A in sealant material. The material used in this practice contains Bis-GMA which is a very stable resin monomer.

Even children's sports involve contact, and we recommend mouthguards for children active in sports. If your little one plays baseball, soccer, or other sports, ask us about having a custom-fitted mouthguard made to protect his teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums. Read about custom fitted mouthguards.

Parents are often concerned about the nocturnal grinding of teeth (bruxism). One theory relates to the pressure in the inner ear at night. If there are pressure changes (like in an airplane taking off or landing) the child will grind to relieve the pressure. Another theory relates to post nasal drip during sleep and an "itchy feeling" in the back of the throat causing the child to grind to relieve the feeling. Your pediatric dentist may want you to consult with your pediatrician to see if an antihistamine may be needed.

We recommend taking x-rays around the age of two or three. The first set consists of simple pictures of the front upper and lower teeth, which familiarizes your child with the process. Once the baby teeth in back are touching each other, then regular (at least yearly), x-rays are recommended by the AAPD. Permanent teeth start coming in around age six, and x-rays help us make sure your child's teeth and jaw are healthy and properly aligned. If your child is at a high risk of dental problems, we may suggest having x-rays taken at an earlier age.

X-rays are a vital and necessary part of your child's dental diagnostic process. Without them certain dental conditions can and will be missed.

In general, children need X-rays more often than adults. Their mouths grow and change rapidly. They are more susceptible to tooth decay than adults. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends X-ray examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. Children with a low risk of tooth decay require X-rays less frequently.

X-ray films detect much more than cavities. For example, X-rays may be needed to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. X-rays allow dentists to diagnose and treat health conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable and affordable.

When your child has four upper permanent and four lower permanent teeth and all four six year molars have erupted, Drs. Hedrick and Tujios will recommend a panoramic x-ray be taken to look at the twelve remaining permanent teeth that have yet to erupt.

Lead body aprons and shields will protect your child. Today's equipment filters out unnecessary X-rays and restricts the X-ray beam to the area of interest. High-speed film and proper shielding assure that your child receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure. Our office uses digital x-rays to further minimize exposure. It also allows for better diagnostic quality.

Infants and children who sleep with a bottle containing anything but water are in danger of developing early childhood decay. Pacifiers dipped in sugar or honey are equally dangerous. While a child sleeps the salivary process slows, which allows liquids remaining in the mouth to pool around the sleeping child's teeth. Sugars in the liquid combine with bacteria in the mouth to form acid that dissolves the immature enamel. Newly erupted first teeth are highly susceptible to decay. Unfortunately, it does not take long for extensive tooth decay to develop. Early childhood decay is easy to prevent. The following steps will help your child avoid this unpleasant condition:

  • You are not the only person who cares for your child. Warn grandparents and other care givers about the hazards of lulling young children and infants to sleep with bottles and sweetened pacifiers.
  • Remember to massage and cleanse your infant's gums with a soft cloth or piece of gauze after each feeding. Your pediatric dentist can demonstrate the best position and technique.
  • Visit your pediatric dentist between the arrival of the first tooth and the first birthday. The first visit will focus on prevention, teaching, and any questions you have. This is similar to a well baby visit with your pediatrician.
  • Encourage your child to drink from a cup when she is between 9 and 12 months old.

Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may use thumbs, fingers and pacifiers on which to suck. It may make then feel secure and happy or provide a sense of security at difficult periods.

Most children stop on their own between two and four years of age. Thumb sucking that extends beyond the eruption of the permanent teeth can cause problems with the growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth. How intensely a child sucks their thumb or fingers will determine whether or not dental problems may result. Children who rest their thumbs or fingers passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty stopping than those who vigorously suck their thumbs or fingers.

Pacifiers are no substitute for thumb sucking. They can also affect the teeth the same way as sucking a thumb or fingers. Taking a pacifier away too early may cause a child to substitute his fingers or thumb for the pacifier. However, the use of the pacifier can be controlled and modified more easily that the thumb or finger habit. If you have concerns about thumb or finger sucking or the use of pacifiers consult with Drs. Hedrick or Tujios. Read more about thumb-sucking.

When the element fluoride is used in small amounts on a routine basis it helps to prevent tooth decay. It encourages "remineralization," a strengthening of weak areas on the teeth. These spots are the beginning of cavity formation. Fluoride occurs naturally in water and in many different foods, as well as in dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, gels, varnish and supplements. Fluoride is effective when combined with a healthy diet and good oral hygiene.

Fluoride is documented to be safe and highly effective. Research indicates water fluoridation, the most cost effective method, has decreased the decay rate by over 50 percent. Only small amounts of fluoride are necessary for the maximum benefit. Proper toothpaste amount must be supervised in order to prevent unsightly spots on the developing permanent teeth. Do not leave toothpaste tubes where young children can reach them. The flavors that help encourage them to brush may also encourage them to eat toothpaste.

Children under the age of three may not have the proper skills to expectorate toothpaste. There are many non-fluoridated tooth cleansers on the market for young children.

Children who benefit the most from fluoride are those at highest risk for dental decay. Risk factors include a history of decay, high sucrose carbohydrate diet, orthodontic appliances and certain medical conditions such as dry mouth.

Certain foods contain high levels of fluoride, especially powdered concentrated infant formula, soy-based infant formula, infant dry cereals, creamed spinach and infant chicken products. Please read the label or contact the manufacturer. Many decaffeinated teas and white grape juices also contain fluoride. It is best to discuss with your child's pediatrician and pediatric dentist these options before supplementing with drops in order to avoid fluorosis.

If your child has decay in a molar and needs a restoration or "filling" we will restore the tooth with a tooth colored filling material called composite. This is often referred to as a "white filling." Our office does not use amalgam or "silver fillings".

If your child has decay or fractures a front tooth we will use the same composite material placed in a crown form and match the color to your child's tooth, or the adjacent tooth if the tooth in question has darkened. This is called a composite crown. If needed due to the depth of the decay we do have porcelain over stainless steel crown available. We do not use plain stainless steel crowns on anterior teeth. Read about stainless steel crowns vs. white crowns.

After Dr. Hedrick or Dr. Tujios has evaluated the tooth or teeth in question and diagnosed your child, he will discuss with you the best treatment available.

Conscious sedation is a management technique that uses medications to assist the child to cope with fear and anxiety and cooperate with dental treatment. Children who have a level of anxiety that prevents good coping skills or are very young and do not understand how to cope in a cooperative fashion for the delivery of dental care should be sedated. Conscious sedation is often helpful for some children who have special needs. It aids in allowing a child to cope better with dental treatment. This can help prevent injury to the child from patient movement and promote a better environment for providing dental care. Many different medications can be used for conscious sedation. Your pediatric dentist will discuss different options for your child. Sedation is safe when administered by a trained pediatric dentist who follows the sedation guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Drs. Hedrick or Tujios will discuss sedation options and patient monitoring for the protection of your child.

In order to alleviate potential anxiety in your child, Dr. Hedrick or Dr. Tujios may recommend minimal discussion of the dental appointment with your child. Should your child become ill, contact our office to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment. It is very important to follow the directions of your pediatric dentist regarding fasting from fluids and foods prior to the sedation appointment.

Drs. Hedrick and Tujios will not discharge your child until your child is alert and ready to go. Children who have been sedated are usually requested to remain at home for the rest of the day with adult supervision. Dr. Hedrick or Dr. Tujios will discuss specific post-sedation instructions with you, including appropriate diet, physical activity, and requested supervision.