Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


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At ABQ Pediatric Dentistry, our mission is to create positive, relaxed and pleasant dental experiences with the goal of helping your children prepare for a lifetime of healthy and happy smiles. Our team is committed to providing compassionate and extraordinary comprehensive dental care to infants, children, adolescents and patients with special health care needs in a safe and kid-friendly environment

  • What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

    Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating mainly children and adolescents. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.

  • When should my child visit the dentist for the first time?

    We strongly encourage parents to bring children to our office no later than age 1 or when the first tooth emerges (as recommended by the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) as this allows us to get a great start to your child’s dental health and build excitement about future visits.

  • What should I tell my child about his or her first visit?

    That it will be easy and fun! At ABQ Pediatric Dentistry, this is where we really shine. Dr. Rawson is going to count their teeth, clean their teeth, and give them a special toothbrush that they can take home. Best of all, they choose a toy and visit Sabrina the Tooth Fairy! Parents, you can help set the stage for a stress-free visit by showing your child our fun office photos and focusing on a positive attitude. It’s fun to come to the dentist!

  • What if my child is afraid and will not cooperate?

    Dr. Rawson and the entire team is proud to specialize in pediatric dentistry and are trained to help your children move past their fears to have a pleasant experience. Our team is committed to providing compassionate and extraordinary comprehensive dental care to infants, children, adolescents and patients with special health care needs in a safe and kid-friendly environment. Most parents are pleasantly surprised by how well their children do at their first visit.

  • When do you take x-rays?

    Every child is different, but typically the first x-rays are taken around age 3 or 4. Dr. Rawson will recommend taking xrays based on your child’s teeth, risk for cavities and growth/developmental stage. She is careful to limit the amount of radiation to which your child will be exposed. Our x-ray equipment is inspected on a routine basis and is certified by the State of New Mexico to be safe for all patients, including young children. Digital x-rays reduce the amount of radiation needed as compared to film x-rays and lead aprons are always used to ensure safety.

  • Are parents allowed to accompany their children during their first visit and checkups?

    Yes! Parents are always welcome in the treatment room during their child’s first visit and at all subsequent checkups.

  • When can I expect my child's teeth to come in?

    For most children, two lower front teeth come in around six months of age. Your child’s two lower, front permanent teeth erupt around age six. Their four permanent molars also erupt around age six in the posterior of their mouth.


    More about Your Child's Early Dental Care

  • How can I treat my baby's teething pain?

    You can relieve your child’s teething discomfort by offering them a frozen teething ring, rubbing their gums with teething medication, or giving your baby Children’s Tylenol as directed.

  • Why do my child's permanent teeth look more yellow than the baby teeth and what are those bumps or chips on my child's permanent front teeth?

    Permanent teeth are more yellow because they have more dentin. They look especially yellow when compared to baby teeth still in the mouth. The bumps at the edge of permanent teeth are called “mamelons” and they are within normal variations of tooth anatomy that may wear over time.

  • What do I do when my child's permanent teeth are coming in behind the baby teeth?

    If the baby teeth do not come out in two weeks, please call our office about the possibility of removing them. Once the baby tooth is removed, the permanent teeth will move forward. In the meantime, encourage your child to wiggle those loose teeth!

  • What causes cavities?

    Tooth decay is caused by bacteria turning sugar into acid, which dissolves and leaves holes in the tooth.


  • How can I help prevent my child from getting tooth decay?

    Parents should take their children to a pediatric dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, Dr, Rawson can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for you to supervise and teach to your children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.


    More about Preventing Cavities

  • Toothpaste: When should we begin using it and how much should we use?

    The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. You should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once your child is 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.

  • How can I prevent tooth decay caused by nursing?

    Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth. Take your child to our office regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday.

  • Why restore a baby tooth that is just going to fall out?

    Most baby teeth are not lost until between the ages of ten and twelve. Your child needs these teeth for many reasons, including to prevent future orthodontic problems. Ignoring a cavity in a baby tooth can lead to a painful toothache. With early detection, we can treat a cavity when it is still small and before it causes any pain or discomfort for your child.

  • What is fluoride and why is it important?

    Fluoride is a natural element found in drinking water that reduces tooth decay. At your child’s check-up, Dr. Rawson and her assistants can discuss your child’s fluoride intake to ensure they are receiving a healthy dosage.

  • Are thumb-sucking and pacifier habits harmful for my child's teeth?

    Thumb-sucking and pacifier habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of 3, Dr. Rawson will recommend different options including behavioral techniques, mouth appliances and interventions.

  • What are sealants?

    Sealants are made of a white, composite material and placed on the chewing surfaces of permanent teeth to prevent cavities from forming in the pits and grooves. Sealants are placed as soon as permanent molars erupt, usually around ages 6 and 12. Your child’s health and safety is our top concern, so our office only uses sealants that are BPA-free.

  • What is a pulpotomy or nerve treatment?

    A pulpotomy involves removing the diseased part of the dental pulp (the nerve) in primary (baby) teeth. A medicated restoration is placed, then a crown is placed over the tooth.

  • Which dental insurance plans do you accept?

    We are an in-network provider for Delta Dental Premier, Delta PPONM, Aetna PPO, Connection Dental, the United Concordia Comcast NBC Universal Elite plan, and are participating with the Cigna Discount Plans. You can find detailed information on the dental insurance plans we file under the ‘Financial Facts’ portion of our policies page.


    If your dental plan is not on the list, we can file it on an out-of-network basis. We do not accept any of the Medicaid plans, such as Centennial Care. Many employer plans, including those through Sandia Labs, the State of New Mexico, APS, Costco, UPS, UNM, and UNM Hospitals usually cover 100% for preventative services, such as twice-yearly checkups.

    More about Insurance Coverage