Navigating a child’s dental needs can be challenging, especially for first-time parents. At Bright Pediatric Smiles, we want to put your mind at ease – that’s why Dr. Sam and the rest of our team members are always happy to answer questions over the phone or in-person. For added convenience, we’ve taken the time to compile some popular FAQ’s and their answers below:

Dr. Sam agrees with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, which recommends that parents schedule a first visit by the child’s first birthday or 6 months after their first tooth emerges from the gum line – whichever happens first. By coming in so early, you can start establishing a comfortable “dental home” for your loved one right away while also learning more about how to support their developing smile from the very beginning.


A pediatric dentist has undergone at least two years of specialized training after the requisite four years of dental school. They are uniquely dedicated to understanding the various oral health needs of children, from infants all the way up to young adults.

Primary teeth (more commonly referred to as “baby” teeth) are extremely important for several reasons! They help your child speak clearly and chew food successfully. They also hold a “path” that permanent teeth will follow as they erupt through the gum line as well. The premature loss of baby teeth can lead to higher risks of infection and unexpected overcrowding, among other unwanted consequences.

Yes! It’s very normal for infants and toddlers to find comfort in sucking on their thumbs or other fingers. By the age of four, though, it is important for parents to start to gently encourage their child to stop, preferably through positive reinforcement. Prolonged non-nutritive habits can eventually result in “open bites” and other developmental issues with the jawbone that will require correction.

Dr. Sam is happy to see children one Saturday each month, so don’t hesitate to call ahead early and schedule their appointment.

Absolutely. Bright Pediatric Smiles is in-network with several major PPO insurance plans. Please visit our new patients page or contact our dental office in Poway to learn more.