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Kids Dentistry

Tooth Decay and Cavities

Does My Child Have a Cavity? 7 Signs They Should See a Pediatric Dentist

By Community, Kids Dentistry, Orthodontics

Picture this: your kiddo is munching away at their favorite meal when suddenly, a sharp twinge of pain shoots through a tooth and they yell, “Oww!” It’s an awful feeling that signals something’s not quite right with their teeth. “Does my child have a cavity?” you wonder. 

Your Denver pediatric dentists, Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith, say yes, pain in your child’s teeth might be a sign there’s a cavity and you should come in to see us at Kids Mile High for a professional diagnosis and treatment. But that’s not all! Your child might have other signs of tooth decay so we’ll cover them here, too.

What are Tooth Decay and Cavities?

But before we cover the actual signs of cavities in kids, let’s make sure we’re on the same page as to what exactly tooth decay and cavities are all about. What is tooth decay in children? Like in adults, tooth decay is the gradual destruction of your kiddo’s tooth structure caused by acid-producing bacteria. You see, your oral bacteria feed on the sugars left behind in your mouth after you eat. This process releases acids that erode the protective enamel on your teeth. Weakened tooth enamel leaves your dentin — the softer layer underneath your enamel — exposed and susceptible to tooth decay. 

And how about cavities? What causes cavities in kids? Over time, tooth decay can turn into permanent holes in your little one’s teeth called cavities. Deep cavities can expose the nerves in teeth causing painful toothaches, or worse, infection or tooth loss.

So What Causes Tooth Decay in Children?

Understanding what causes cavities in kids can help you and your child prevent them. Here are three of the most common causes for tooth decay:

Poor oral hygiene:

We know that kids aren’t always hyped about cleaning their teeth. But inadequate brushing and flossing allows sticky plaque to cover teeth and produce enamel-damaging acid on your child’s tooth surfaces.

Frequent snacking on sugary and starchy foods:

Kids and snacking go hand-in-hand but keep in mind that teeth need a break sometimes, a break from food that is. Your kids’ teeth need a pause between meals to give their saliva time to do its job: saliva plays a starring role in washing away plaque and neutralizing the acidic pH in your child’s mouth that weakens their tooth enamel. 

Excessive consumption of acidic beverages:

It’s not only acids from bacteria that weaken teeth; acidic drinks like juice, soda, or sports drinks can also damage tooth enamel and provide a feast for cavity-causing bacteria. Keeping acidic beverages for rare occasions can help reduce the likelihood of cavities in your kids.

Tooth Decay and Cavities

Signs of A Cavity in Kids

So back to that sharp pain your little one experienced when chewing. Let’s talk about that and six other most common signs of a cavity in children.

  1. Pain When Chewing or When Drinking Certain Beverages

Sensitivity or pain from a cavity or tooth decay can be especially noticeable when your child chews or bites down, even without food. And certain foods or beverages can trigger tooth pain, too: super sweet foods and beverages like candy, soda, or baked treats can trigger tooth sensitivity. Hard foods like nuts or crunching on ice can crack your child’s enamel. And those sweet drinks? They introduce the acids that weaken enamel over time, exposing the softer dentin underneath closer to the nerves and causing discomfort.

  1. Persistent Toothache

One of the most obvious signs your child needs to see your Denver-area pediatric dentist for kids’ cavity treatment? A persistent toothache. Their tooth pain may range from mild discomfort to a throbbing ache depending on the severity of the decay. Ask your kiddo how the pain feels on a scale of 1-10, or if the pain worsens when they bite down on food or consume hot, cold, or sugary items. 

One thing we want to mention is that toothaches in kids aren’t always because of cavities. Persistent toothaches in kids can also be because of: 

  • Adult teeth erupting
  • Loose baby teeth
  • An infection
  • Cracks or damage to their tooth
  • A damaged filling
  • Aggressive brushing
  • Teeth grinding

This is why a professional evaluation by a Kids Mile High dentist is absolutely essential for pinpointing the cause and getting your child the right treatment.

  1. Increased Sensitivity To Hot and Cold

Does your child cry out in pain when they sip a hot chocolate or bite into an ice cream cone? Heightened sensitivity to temperature extremes is one of the typical signs of tooth decay in both kids and adults. When your protective enamel is compromised, the underlying dentin is exposed and the nerves inside the teeth are in closer contact with the temperatures of what’s consumed.

  1. Dark Spots On Your Child’s Tooth Surfaces

Visible holes, pits, or dark spots on your kid’s teeth could be telltale signs of a cavity. Cavities often appear as white, brown, or black spots on the tooth surface. We suggest making an appointment at our Englewood, Thornton, or Central Park office as soon as you can if you see  these discolorations on your child’s teeth.

  1. Visible Holes or Pits in Your Child’s Teeth

This is a similar story to dark spots and discoloration. Sometimes cavities in kids look like small holes in their teeth and indicate exactly where your child’s tooth decay has happened.

  1. Bad Breath or An Unpleasant Taste

The bacteria responsible for cavities produces unpleasant-smelling gasses that contribute to bad breath. If you can smell that your child has consistently bad breath even after brushing and flossing, this might be a sign of tooth decay. You can also ask them if they have an unpleasant taste in their mouth: chewing food near a decayed tooth can cause a weird taste and point to a cavity.

  1. Changes in Tooth Texture

As a cavity progresses, your child may notice changes in the texture of their teeth. The affected area might feel rough or uneven when they run their tongue over it. When cavities are left untreated, tooth decay can advance and weaken your child’s tooth structure.

Why Kids' Cavity Treatment is super important

Why Kids’ Cavity Treatment is Super Important

At Kids Mile High, we want your kids to have the healthiest, happiest, superhero smiles possible. Like the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, we recommend scheduling your child’s checkups and cleanings every six months so we can catch little problems before they become big ones. When it comes to tooth decay and cavities, regular checkups allow us to spot any early signs of tooth decay in your children and provide prompt treatment. 

On the other hand, tooth decay that goes unnoticed could worsen and become bigger, more painful dental problems for your child. Bacteria and acids can move deeper into their tooth, reaching the sensitive pulp that contains the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. The pulp can then become swollen and irritated, and since there’s no place for the swelling to expand inside the tooth, it presses against the nerves causing pain.

This pain can also travel beyond your child’s tooth root into their jawbone. In severe cases, untreated cavities can lead to tooth loss, infection, and even an abscess — a painful pocket of pus caused by the infection. Ewww.

Making It All Better – Kids Cavity Treatment

Bottom line? If your child’s been experiencing one or several of the cavity signs we’ve discussed above, schedule an appointment immediately with your expert pediatric dentist at Kids Mile High. Your board-certified pediatric dentist will conduct a comfortable exam to confirm if your child has a cavity. We might even use our cool, high-tech DIAGNOdent™, a special laser that detects even the earliest and smallest cavities. Sometimes we’ll also opt to take quick and painless, low-dose digital x-rays to ensure we’ve got the most up-to-date images of your child’s teeth.

Once Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith has diagnosed your child’s tooth decay, they’ll suggest an appropriate kids’ cavity treatment. Kids Mile High cavity treatment includes options like:

Tooth-coloured fillings:

We offer tooth-colored fillings color-matched to your child’s tooth. It won’t even look like they had a cavity in the first place! At Kids Mile High, we use Herculite composite resin, one of the strongest composite materials on the market so you know your child’s filling will last.

Pediatric Crowns:

If your child’s cavity is large or most of their tooth structure is now missing because of it, a special pediatric dental crown may be what we suggest for your kid’s cavity treatment. What’s a crown? A crown is a cap over the tooth that covers the entire visible part right to the gum line. 

We use NuSmile pediatric crowns on baby teeth to keep them in place until they’re ready to fall out and make way for the adult teeth. NuSmile pediatric crowns are white, metal-free and made from durable zirconia. We color-match crowns to look natural and mimic the shape, contours, and slight translucency of real teeth. 

Root Canal Treatment:

When dental decay has reached the pulp of a tooth, a baby root canal may be recommended. Yes, we totally get that a root canal for your wee one can sound a bit scary, but rest assured, your child is in gentle, expert hands. The goal of a root canal for a primary tooth is to save what’s left of your child’s tooth to avoid extracting a baby tooth too early. We’ll restore your child’s tooth with a NuSmile crown so they can chew, talk, and smile with confidence… and without pain!

Tooth Extraction:

Although we do whatever we can to save a baby tooth that’s not ready to fall out, sometimes tooth decay is so bad that it’s healthier to remove it. Tooth extraction is a super last resort, and we make sure your kiddo is comfortable and doesn’t feel a thing. To help our young patients feel at ease, we offer sedation dentistry with nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, or in-office general anesthesia administered by the anesthesiologists from CarePoint Anesthesia.

Say Goodbye to Kids’ Tooth Decay With Your Denver Pediatric Dentists

Tooth decay can really put a damper on your child’s everyday life so if they’re going through any signs of a cavity, we’re here to help. Our engaging, kid-friendly office, friendly staff, and high-tech approach make us your go-to pediatric dentist in Denver.

Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment today.

Summer Backpack Contest

Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics Launches Our Summer Backpack Contest

By Community, Kids Dentistry, Orthodontics

Turn those summer photos into a $50 Amazon Gift Card: Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics has launched our summer Backpack Photo Contest. During the month of June, you can pick up a Kids Mile High backpack from any of our three Denver-area locations — Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton, CO and get snapping. Only 50 backpacks are available per office so stop by soon. 

Wherever the summer leads you — on vacation, at camp, or just hanging out nearby — take a smiley snap with your backpack and post the image on social media with the tag @kidsmilehigh. All posts are entered into a draw for a $50 Amazon Gift Card. You can post and tag as many photos as you like. 

Dental Care Fun Is Fun With Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry

This summer backpack contest is just one of many ways we make dental care fun. If there’s something to smile extra big about — a birthday, a holiday, getting braces off — we’re the Denver dentist that definitely celebrates. And every visit to our office is fun, too. Our state-of-the-art offices in Thornton, Central Park, and Englewood, CO are cheerful, colorful, and designed for our young patients to enjoy. 

From prevention to orthodontics, Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics offers everything your family needs to stay on top of your children’s oral care. Pediatric dentists, Dr. Paddy Smithwick, Dr. Roger Castro, Dr. Meredith Ghivizzani, along with orthodontist, Dr. Brandon Scheer are all board-certified and provide award-winning, high-quality oral care wrapped up in a friendly, kid-focused approach. 

What Causing White Spots on Your Baby's Teeth

5 Things That Could be Causing White Spots on Your Baby’s Teeth

By Community, Kids Dentistry, Orthodontics

Your wee one’s first set of teeth are precious. So understandably, you might be a little concerned about white spots on those cute little baby teeth. What’s causing these white spots?

In this post, Dr. Paddy and your Denver-area pediatric dental team at Kids Mile High want to equip you with the info you need about white spots on your little one’s teeth. Let’s talk about the top 5 common causes for white spots on baby teeth.  

  1. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Ok, to be clear, your little one won’t get tooth decay or white spots on their teeth from the actual bottle or sippy cup. Phew! One less thing to worry about as a parent. Instead, “baby bottle tooth decay” refers to getting tooth decay or white spots from bottle or sippy cup habits that prolong the presence of sugar on their teeth. 

How does baby bottle tooth decay happen? If your child falls asleep with their bottle or sippy cup, the sugar in what they’re drinking tends to coat their teeth, causing tooth decay more quickly. For the same reason, tooth decay is more likely to happen from continually drinking milk or a sugary drink without long enough breaks in between. (This goes for everyone actually: babies, kids, and you!) 

You see, when baby teeth come into frequent contact with the sugar in milk or sweet drinks, oral bacteria gets to work feeding on those sugars and produces acids that attack and weaken your child’s tooth enamel. This makes teeth more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. Breaks from the sippy cup or bottle will allow your baby’s saliva to neutralize the acids and return your child’s enamel from a weakened, softened state to a hardened, durable state.

  1. Enamel Hypoplasia

Speaking of enamel, white spots on a baby’s teeth can also happen because of an issue called enamel hypoplasia. This is when tooth enamel is hard enough but too thin to properly protect your child’s soft dentin underneath. Hyperplasia can happen to individual teeth, in certain spots on individual teeth, or less common, on all teeth. The unprotected tooth is then more susceptible to tooth decay and can result in white or brown spots. Kids get enamel hypoplasia because of disruptions in their tooth enamel development — either in utero, early infancy, or early childhood. 

  1. Medications

Certain antibiotics can cause white spots to show up on baby teeth. How? By interfering with tooth enamel development when taken during pregnancy or when given to young children. In other words, some medications cause enamel hypoplasia (talked about above) and make your child more susceptible to a baby tooth cavity or tooth decay.

Make sure you let us know about medications your wee one is taking, has taken in the past, or if mom took antibiotics during pregnancy. This info can help us really pinpoint reasons for the white spots on your child’s teeth. 

  1. Fluorosis

You’ve likely heard that fluoride is good for strengthening teeth. But when baby teeth are  exposed to too much fluoride through drinking water or toothpaste, this can cause white or brown spots. The good news? Fluorosis isn’t harmful to baby teeth or a child’s overall health; quite the opposite! Teeth with fluorosis are actually more resistant to tooth decay and cavities. Fluorosis is only an aesthetic concern. 

  1. Poor Dental Hygiene

If a baby or toddler’s teeth are not cleaned well every day, plaque and bacteria can build up and cause white spots — or even cavities — on teeth. As your Denver pediatric dentists, we can’t say it enough: diligent brushing and flossing is Step One in preventing tooth decay in your little one. And bonus, starting a good oral hygiene routine early and making it fun builds a solid foundation for valuing life-long oral health.

​​Your Denver Area Pediatric Dentists For Happy Smiles

If you notice white spots on your child’s baby’s teeth, come in to see your award-winning pediatric dentists at Kids Mile High. Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith are happy to assess your child’s white spots and recommend a plan for your child’s best oral health.

Contact us to make an appointment at one of our fun and friendly offices in Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton, CO. 

6 Awesome Sources Of Calcium For Super Strong Teeth

By Kids Dentistry

You might already have known and it’s true: calcium is super important for healthy, strong teeth! After all, tooth enamel is made up of mostly calcium, so getting enough of it through daily nutrition keeps enamel strong against cavities and tooth decay.

Here’s a fun fact about calcium from the Kids Mile High team: calcium is only stored in your child’s bones and teeth! So it goes without saying that including foods with calcium in your child’s diet every day is essential for maintaining a constant store of calcium throughout childhood.

Here’s a list of the 6 best sources of calcium to offer your kiddos on the daily: 

Dairy Products 

One of the best (and kid-approved) sources of calcium for teeth? You guessed it; milk and dairy products. And one of the great things about dairy is that it’s already a common part of kids’ diets, whether at breakfast, in the lunchbox, or at snack times.

Fun fact: the calcium in dairy is the most easily absorbed, which means more bang for your buck when it comes to calcium’s nutrition for teeth. So go ahead and include foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, and any recipes that include these calcium superstars. Which dairy product has the most calcium? Hands down, cheese, with about 700mg of calcium per 100g. Second place is plain, nonfat yogurt with about 200mg per 100g serving.

So go ahead and include dairy products daily to help your kids get the calcium they need for strong teeth. Just check the sugar content — as your Denver dentists, we want to let you know that some dairy products, like flavored yogurts, have a lot of sugar and can contribute to plaque build up.  

Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium

Now what if cow’s milk and dairy products are not part of your kid’s diet because of allergies or intolerance? No problem! Thankfully, calcium is present in most dairy alternatives. Options like nut, soy, pea, and oat milks have natural and added calcium and so do the products made from them.

According to the American Society for Nutrition, almond, pea, and flaxseed milks (yes, flaxseed milk) have more calcium for both teeth and general bone health than cow’s milk. However, they have less protein, which is also essential for kids’ growing bodies and brains.

Green Veggies

When in doubt, go green! Green veggies contain natural calcium for healthy teeth and gums. Consider calcium-rich green foods for your kids’ teeth like:

  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Bok choy
  • Collard greens

Pro tip from us at Kids Mile High: cooking greens boosts their calcium content, with steaming or boiling them better than frying or sauteing. In fact, one study found that a cup of raw spinach had 30mg of calcium, but when cooked, the same amount had 245mg of calcium.

Brightly-Colored Fruits

Think “eating the rainbow” for fruit sources of calcium. Vibrant-colored fruits like oranges, kiwis, and blackberries are great for calcium. Tuck these fruits into your child’s lunches for the calcium boost they need every day. Dried fruits are also great foods for calcium, especially dried apricots, figs, dates, and prunes. But we do suggest not offering dried fruits too often since they’re high in sugar.

Want to get the most out of the calcium in fruits (and veggies)? When eating, pair them with rich sources of vitamin D like cheese, egg yolks, or fish. Vitamin D helps calcium absorb better, moving it from your child’s gut and depositing it into their bones to build bone density — that includes their jawbone and teeth!


Let’s be honest, fish isn’t always top-of-the-list when it comes to kids’ favorite foods. But if your little ones do like it, fish is a fantastic way to help with your child’s nutrition for super strong teeth. It has both calcium and vitamin D, which, like mentioned earlier, work better together. Like Batman and Robin. Or Antman and the Wasp. 

Vegan Sources of Calcium

These days, many families are going vegetarian or vegan. If your family is vegan, you can find calcium for your kids’ teeth in many plant-based foods. As mentioned, dairy alternatives have either added or natural calcium — or both. And, of course, green veggies and bright-colored fruits are a must in vegan diets.

Other vegan sources of calcium include:

  • Tofu
  • Chia seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Almonds
  • Edamame beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • White beans

More Nutrition Tips for Kids’ Teeth from Your Denver, CO Dentist and Orthodontist

Hopefully this list of the best sources of calcium helps you make great choices for your little ones’ teeth. If you need more tips on teeth-happy eating, we’re your Englewood, Thornton, and Denver dentists with the info. We’re all about helping kids have super teeth!

Contact us to make an appointment today.

Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist

1 Practice, 4 Board-Certified Dental Pros!

By Community, Kids Dentistry, Orthodontics

Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist

Feeling 100% confident about your healthcare providers is nice. Especially when it comes to the doctors and healthcare professionals that treat your kids. Well, you can walk into Kids Mile High with a skip in your step: as your pediatric dentist in the Denver area, we offer you the assurance you need that your kiddos’ smiles are in good hands.

How? Let’s start with the fact that all our doctors are board certified. Yes, that’s right! Each of our pediatric dentists — Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith — is a board-certified pediatric dentist. And if your child needs early orthodontics, braces, or Invisalign®, you can rest easy knowing Dr. Scheer is a board certified orthodontist.

So what does being board certified mean for a pediatric dentist?

Simply put, being American board certified is the benchmark standard for excellence in dental care. Being a board-certified pediatric dentist means keeping up-to-date on the latest knowledge, proven, modern techniques, and being able to apply this expertise to treating patients. 

How do you become a board certified pediatric dentist?

Board certification is a voluntary extra step in a dentist’s professional development. In other words, when a person looks into how to become a pediatric dentist, board certification isn’t a requirement. It’s possible to practice pediatric dentistry without being board certified.

But consider this: if you think about how long it takes to become a pediatric dentist, adding board certification is a definite sign you’re really going the extra mile for your patients. And who doesn’t want to take their kids to a pediatric dentist like that? 

To become board certified, your Kids Mile High pediatric dentists successfully passed rigorous exams with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. And it doesn’t end there: Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith must each maintain their status as a board-certified pediatric dentist by ensuring at least 15 hours of continuing education every year. Every 10 years, your Kids Mile High board certified pediatric dentist must also take a recertification exam.

How about being a board-certified orthodontist?

As mentioned earlier, not only do your Denver pediatric dentists at Kids Mile High hold board certifications, but so does Dr. Scheer, our orthodontist. As a dental specialist in orthodontics, Dr. Scheer is board certified not through the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, but through the American Board of Orthodontists (AMO).

Fun fact: Only 1 in 3 orthodontists in America are board certified through the AMO.

Becoming a board certified orthodontist is voluntary and orthodontists like Dr. Scheer must successfully pass AMO’s stringent exams to achieve board certification. Considering it takes 5-10 years to become an American board-certified orthodontist, getting the designation is a big feat. And like his pediatric dentist colleagues, Dr. Scheer has to take a recertification exam every 10 years to maintain his status. 

What does it mean to have a board certified orthodontist looking after your child’s teeth? You can know that your kid receives the highest level of orthodontics, informed by knowledge of the latest orthodontic techniques, technology, and patient care.

Your board certified team in Denver

Four board certified doctors under one roof! Amazing. That’s what you get when your kids come to Kids Mile High for their oral health needs. So if you’re a Denver family and you’ve been thinking, “I need to find the best pediatric dentist near me,” or you’re looking for a star orthodontist, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re concerned about your kids’ teeth health or wondering about braces, you can trust our board certified doctors to take excellent care of your kiddo’s smile. 

Get in touch with us to find out more about our top-notch, award-winning service. Or visit us in-person to say hello at our offices in Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton, CO. You’ll find a friendly atmosphere that makes expert dental and orthodontic care fun, too.


National Children's Dental Health Month

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month with Activities from Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry

By Community, Kids Dentistry, Orthodontics

National Children's Dental Health Month

There’s always something to celebrate at Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry. But February is especially fun since it’s National Children’s Dental Health Month by the American Dental Association (ADA). To mark the occasion, the Denver-area pediatric dentists want to share four ideas for celebrating this month’s focus on kids’ dental health.

  1. Pick Out Fresh New Dental Supplies

The Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry team suggests kids change their toothbrush every 3-4 months. And if the bristles are fraying, that’s a definite sign for a new one. Join in on National Children’s Dental Health Month by getting a new kids’ toothbrush to get young ones extra excited about brushing their teeth. And let them choose their own kid-sized toothbrush — just make sure it’s a soft-bristled one.

Pair a new toothbrush with a new kid-friendly fluoride toothpaste… and don’t forget the dental floss! Kid-friendly floss picks make for easier flossing and water flossers are fun and gentle yet effective.

  1. Use Apps and Music To Level Up The Brushing Fun

A bit of entertainment makes at-home oral care for kids more enticing. Play favorite music through Brush DJ to make two minutes of brushing flash by, or use a tooth-brushing app like Chomper Chums or the Disney Magic Timer to turn oral care into an interactive activity.

  1. Make The Next (Or First!) Checkup Appointment

Kids should see the dentist every six months. If that half-year mark is coming up, now’s a good time to make the next appointment. And how about a baby’s first dental visit? The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child’s first visit happen by their first birthday — or within six months of the first tooth erupting. A first visit sets kids up for good oral habits from the get-go and allows dentists to spot any potential dental or orthodontic issues.

  1. Check Out Activities From National Children’s Dental Health Month

The ADA has downloadable activity sheets for home or school. Older kids might like the word games, while younger kids can track their brushing or color the coloring sheet. Dentists, healthcare providers, and teachers can dive into the Program Planning Guide for further oral-care promoting activities.


About Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry

Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry is an award-winning kids dentist that’s all about offering top-notch pediatric dentistry that’s also fun. Their state-of-the-art offices in Thornton, Central Park, and Englewood, CO are cheerful, colorful, and designed with young patients in mind. From prevention to orthodontics, Kids Mile High Pediatric Dentistry offers everything a family needs to stay on top of their children’s oral care. 

To make an appointment, contact us today!



Everything You Want to Know About Your Child’s Tooth Anatomy

By Community, Kids Dentistry, Orthodontics

Tooth AnatomyYou’re at the dentist with your little one and the dentist shows you their x-rays. Typically, pediatric dentists like your Kids Mile High doctors will use x-rays to show you where decay may be present, if your child is congenitally missing teeth, or where impacted teeth may be hiding. It’s helpful to see those things on an x-ray since you can’t always see them with the naked eye.

But have you ever wondered what exactly you’re looking at in terms of tooth anatomy? It’s fairly obvious on a dental x-ray that teeth have different layers and are differently shaped. But if you’ve ever wanted to know more, here’s a primer on everything you should know.

In this post, your Denver-area pediatric dentist will cover:

  • Teeth 101: Parts of a tooth
  • Tooth anatomy: what’s around your tooth
  • The different types and names of teeth
  • Baby teeth versus permanent teeth

Teeth 101: Parts of a tooth

Let’s start our tooth anatomy lesson with identifying the parts of a tooth. Every one of your child’s teeth — both their baby and permanent teeth — is composed of the same materials. And baby tooth anatomy and adult tooth anatomy are the same, too.

These are the parts of a tooth from the visible part moving into the gums. Every tooth has a:

  • Crown: the part you can see above the gumline
  • Neck: the part at the gumline between the crown and the root 
  • Root: the part you can’t see that sits inside your gums.

And from the outside layer in, here are the parts of a tooth and the function of each: 


This is the outermost layer of your child’s tooth, the part you can see. Enamel is made up of hard, calcified tissue and protects the dentin of the teeth. It takes the burnt of biting and chewing forces, the wear and tear of eating.

Now, you might be surprised to learn that enamel only covers the visible part of every tooth — the crown. The outermost layer of each tooth that’s below the gumline and secured into the gums is called cementum (we’ll talk about that shortly).

Enamel is essentially white in color so if your kiddo’s teeth look a little yellow, this could be because you’re seeing through to their dentin. Fun fact: enamel on baby teeth is thinner than on adult teeth! So in certain lights, your child’s enamel can become a little transparent and you can actually see through it to the yellow dentin underneath.

And did you know? Enamel, just like hair, doesn’t contain any living cells. So it can’t repair on its own if damaged from tooth decay or wear. But a dentist like Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith can treat your little one’s enamel to strengthen and protect it from further damage. Like with dental sealants.


This is the outermost layer in the anatomy of a tooth that you can’t see. It’s a hard, calcified connective tissue covering the tooth root below the gumline. As names of teeth go, this one’s easy to remember since “cementum” sounds a little like what it does — it attaches the tooth to the periodontal ligament of the gums. In other words, the cementum layer is the part of your child’s teeth that helps “cement” them to the gums.


If you were to look at a tooth anatomy diagram, the next layer in from enamel and cementum is dentin. It’s a bit softer than enamel and is made up of tiny, microscopic hollow tubules with fluid inside. This fluid has the all-important job of helping transmit senses to the nerves inside the pulp. So when your child eats a popsicle too fast and their teeth hurt, it’s dentin who delivers the news to the nerves… who then send the message to the brain saying, “Woah, that’s cold!”


The innermost part of a tooth is called the pulp. It’s the soft tissue at the center of a tooth and is made up of tissue, nerve endings, and blood vessels. Think of the pulp as  a command center for each tooth: this part of the tooth is responsible for telling your brain when something you eat is too hot, too cold, or too sweet for your teeth. And very important, the pulp provides nourishment to keep your tooth healthy and alive.

And that’s it, the parts of a tooth and what they do: the enamel, cementum, dentin, and pulp. But wait a minute, what about where the teeth live? Let’s talk about that next.

Tooth anatomy: what’s around your tooth

It’s fairly common knowledge that your teeth sit in what’s called your gums. But that whole support system is much more complex than you might think! 


Gums are the soft tissue that cover and protect your child’s teeth roots. Cool fact about gums? They hold all your child’s baby teeth right from the beginning. Yes, all 20 of your little one’s primary teeth are hanging out inside the gums right from birth — fully formed and waiting to erupt at the right times. In fact, primary teeth start to form at five weeks’ gestation so they’re ready to go when your baby’s born!

The technical word for gums is “gingiva,” which might sound familiar if you’ve heard of “gingivitis.” The latter is a mild gum disease you definitely don’t want your child to get because it can be painful or cause bleeding. And you want to treat it right away so it doesn’t get worse. Since the gums sit between teeth and your child’s jawbone, severe gum disease can affect both teeth and bone, leading to bone loss, teeth getting loose, or even falling out.

Periodontal Ligaments:

Located inside the gums, periodontal ligaments are collagenous connective tissue fibers that connect your child’s tooth roots to their socket in the jawbone. If your child has orthodontic treatment in the future, periodontal ligaments are part of the teeth system that stretch, helping teeth shift while still keeping them securely in your gums as they move. 

Alveolar bone:

This is the fancy name for the part of your jaw that surrounds all your teeth roots. It’s the part of your child’s jawbone that’s touching their teeth’s roots.

Tooth anatomy: what’s around your tooth

The different types and names of teeth

Now that you know all about tooth anatomy, how about the different types of teeth? For starters, our teeth come in different shapes and sizes, each corresponding to their function.

How many teeth does a child have? Your child’s primary teeth come as a set of 20 teeth, with the same set of 10 teeth in the upper and lower arches. Each of your little one’s jaws has:

  • 4 incisors
  • 2 canines
  • 4 molars

Adult teeth are a bit different. In contrast to how many baby teeth you have, permanent teeth number at 32, with 16 teeth in each of the arches:

  • 8 incisors
  • 4 canines (cuspids)
  • 8 premolars (bicuspids)
  • 12 molars (including 4 wisdom teeth)


Located at the front of the mouth, incisors are shaped like small chisels, with sharp edges to help you bite into food and separate it. You typically use your incisors when you want to bite off a small, manageable piece from something large like an apple, sandwich, or piece of pizza.

For kids, incisors are the first teeth to erupt. They’re your child’s cute first teeth that you ooh and aahh over, appearing when your baby is about 6 months old. And no doubt, they’re your introduction to the world of teething! Later on when your kiddo is about 6 to 8 years old, you can expect their primary incisors to fall out and their adult ones to appear.

Canine teeth:

As far as names of teeth go, this one’s pretty descriptive of their look and position in the mouth. Reminiscent of Fido’s fang-like teeth, our canine teeth sit next to our incisors on either side — two canines on each of the top and bottom arches. They’re sharp and pointy, meant for tearing food. 

Baby canines come in when your little one is around 16-20 months, starting with the upper ones. Adult canines erupt in the opposite order: the lower ones come in first around age nine, then the upper ones by the time your child is 11 or 12.


Now this is where we start to have different numbers of teeth between primary teeth and permanent teeth. Baby teeth don’t technically include premolars, only molars. Adult teeth include two pairs of premolars that sit beside the canine teeth on the upper and lower arches, for a total of eight premolars. They erupt when your child is about 10 years old. Premolars are bigger and squarer than canines and incisors with a flat, ridged surface for crushing and grinding your food so you can swallow it.


The back of your mouth holds your molars. And when it comes to types of teeth, we can safely say molars are the biggest and strongest of all your teeth. Molars, like premolars, are shaped for crushing and grinding food into pieces that are easier to swallow.

Baby teeth consist of 8 molars, while adult teeth have 12. What’s unique about adult molars is that the last four that should sit at the very back of the mouth take a long time to fully erupt. Called “wisdom teeth,” they show up between 17-25 years old, when you’re “older and wiser.” 

But sometimes they don’t come in at all. If your dental arches don’t have room for them, your wisdom teeth are likely impacted, meaning your erupted teeth are blocking their path. Oftentimes, your dentist will remove your wisdom teeth if they’re stuck in your gums.

Baby teeth versus permanent teeth

We’ve covered the main differences between baby teeth and permanent teeth pretty well. But let’s recap three biggies:

  1. Baby teeth eventually fall out, adult teeth are permanent.
  2. How many baby teeth? There’s 20. Permanent teeth: 32.
  3. We only have premolars with our adult teeth, not with our baby teeth.

Bottom Line:

We say teeth are pretty amazing and a super important part of our bodies. And knowing more about them can inspire you to take better care of them — whether your little one’s baby teeth, or the adult teeth that will soon take their place.

If you’re looking for even more information about your kids’ teeth or have specific questions about their teeth, your Denver-area pediatric dentists are here to help. 

Contact us today for an appointment at our Englewood, Thornton, or Central Park, CO office. 


6 Holiday Foods That Are Good for Kids’ Teeth

By Kids Dentistry, Orthodontics

Smiling kids eating fruits

The holiday season is here. And whether you’re eating Thanksgiving leftovers right now or about to indulge in Christmas or Hanukkah meals, it’s nice to know if what’s on the menu is healthy for your kids. As your Denver-area pediatric dentist, Dr. Paddy and the Kids Mile High team want to help you figure out the best holiday food for happy teeth and gums.

As a start, here’s a list of 6 healthy holiday foods offering great nutrition for teeth and why:

  1. Turkey

For many holiday tables, turkey is the main event. If this is your family, you’ll be pleased to know that turkey is one of the season’s foods that are good for teeth— it’s a lean meat full of vitamins and minerals. Turkey contains phosphorus, which along with calcium, is key for maintaining healthy gums, teeth, and bones. Turkey is also low in fat and high in protein, which helps maintain strong bones and tooth enamel.

And bonus? Turkey leftovers like turkey sandwiches, soup, or pasta mean your kiddos get quite a few chances at benefiting from turkey’s nutrition for their teeth.

  1. Sweet Potatoes

Minus the marshmallow topping, mashed sweet potatoes is another one of the healthy holiday foods you can feel good about serving the kids. Sweet potatoes are chock-full of vitamins A and C for teeth health, building strong teeth and bones. 

Vitamin A also helps keratin, a protein that promotes the formation of tooth enamel. And it contributes to saliva production, which brings down the acidity in your child’s mouth after eating. Less oral acidity means less tooth enamel erosion and better cavity prevention.

The vitamin C you find in sweet potatoes is super important for strengthening your kiddo’s gums and soft oral tissue. Strong gums and connective tissue keep your little one’s pearly whites firmly in place. And vitamin C helps prevent gingivitis and gum disease.

  1. Greens Like Peas, Broccoli, and Brussel Sprouts

You can’t go wrong when offering a variety of greens! Greens are one of those all-star foods that are plain good for your kiddo’s teeth and their overall health. Holiday table favorites like peas, broccoli, and brussel sprouts are packed with teeth-healthy calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin K. 

It makes sense that calcium intake is vital for strong teeth since tooth enamel is mostly made up of calcium. As for Vitamin C, not only does it help with strong gums and oral tissue but it aids in healing and helps prevent bleeding gums. And Vitamin K? Vitamin K and calcium are buddies. Like Robin supports Batman, Vitamin K helps calcium absorption as a calcium binder. 

Another reason greens are considered healthy holiday foods: it’s in the chewing. Chewing produces saliva. When it comes to broccoli and brussel sprouts, lettuce and kale, you need to chew these greens well to aid swallowing and digestion.

  1. Nuts

A bowl of nuts to snack on before dinner? Or maybe as part of a cheese plate? You can count on nuts as a healthy holiday food for kids, as long as your kiddo’s not allergic of course! A handful of nuts provides plenty of teeth-friendly vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and protein that support both teeth and gum health. Nuts are also a great source of antioxidants, which helps prevent cell damage and fight bacterial infections.

Peanuts are a great source of calcium and vitamin D, almonds boost calcium, and walnuts offer minerals and vitamins for teeth like magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B, and potassium. Cashews and brazil nuts help fight oral bacteria, doing their part to prevent tooth decay in children. 

That said, your Kids Mile high pediatric dentists suggest the non-roasted and unsalted kind. And candied nuts should be enjoyed in moderation since they’ll coat your child’s teeth with sticky sugars.

Keep in mind, if your kiddo is in braces with Dr. Scheer, nuts should be avoided as they can loosen brackets!

  1. Cheese 

Cheese, please! From charcuterie boards to potatoes, cheeseballs to cheesecake, cheese blintzes to kugel… and more. The good news for cheese lovers is that cheese is super teeth-friendly. Cheese has lots of calcium, phosphorus, and protein — three things we’ve already established as superheroes when it comes to good nutrition for kids’ teeth.

Eating cheese also lowers the acidity in your mouth and increases saliva production, doing a great job of cavity prevention. Try offering cheese to your kids after they’ve eaten a sweet treat like cookies or candy to counteract the sugar and acidity.  

  1. Salmon

Fish is a welcome add-on to holiday menus — and we all know salmon as a superstar food for kids’ overall nutrition and teeth health. Lox, baked filet, or salmon cake… any way you serve it, this fish has vitamin D, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids to bolster teeth and gum health. Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use calcium better. The “sunshine vitamin” also aids in maintaining saliva levels and preventing dry mouth. 

  1. Pumpkin Pie

What’s Thanksgiving or Christmas without pumpkin pie? We’re all for holiday fun and having a few treats now and then so we’re happy to say that you can feel okay about your kiddo saying “yes” to a slice! Pumpkin is great for overall nutrition for teeth because it has lots of vitamin A, which we’ve said earlier helps build strong teeth and bones, and encourages saliva. 

Just remember to eat pumpkin pie in moderation since it has a lot of sugar. And we suggest having your child drink some water afterwards to rinse the sugars out, or better yet, brush their teeth well as part of a good oral health routine.

Cavity Prevention With Kids Mile High

It goes without saying that visiting your pediatric dentist for cleanings and checkups goes a long way in cavity prevention and teeth health. Pair that with healthy holiday foods this season and your kids (and you!) will be smiling big in the New Year!

Make an appointment today at our Englewood, Central Park or Thornton, CO office to keep your kiddo’s teeth shining bright. 


Pediatric Dentist vs. Family Dentist: Which One is the Best Dentist for Kids?

By Kids Dentistry

Pediatric Dentist vs. Family Dentist

We all want the best for our kids. The best education. The healthiest food. Activities that excite and help them thrive. And, of course, the best health care for their growing minds and bodies. That last one? It definitely includes choosing the best dentist. 

You might know this already, but in dentistry, there are options for your kids. You can choose between a pediatric dentist or a family dentist. “But what’s the difference between a pediatric dentist vs. a family dentist?” you ask. “Can’t they both treat my kids?” Simply put, yes. But a pediatric dentist does have extra child development training that can make oral health that much easier for little ones.

To help you decide the best dentist for your kids, let’s dive into what family dentists and pediatric dentists are all about: their similarities, differences, and services they offer. We’ll talk about:

  • Training and credentials for a family dentist and a pediatric dentist
  • What a family dentist offers
  • What a pediatric dentist offers for kids
  • What we offer at Kids Mile High
  • How To Decide Between a Pediatric Dentist vs a Family Dentist

Training and Credentials for A Family Dentist and Pediatric Dentist

Both a family dentist and pediatric dentist go through the same type of doctoral training to become a dentist with a DDS or DMD designation. Different credentials? Nope, these designations are the same; they just have different histories behind the names. Fun fact: about two-thirds of universities grant a DDS degree so you’ll likely see that designation more often.

Dental school is most often four years of post-grad schooling after an undergraduate degree. What does it take to get into dental school? Before dental school in the US, a person must first have a bachelor’s degree, though you don’t have to be a specific major to be eligible for dental school. But most dental schools require science courses for admission, as well as passing the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), recommendation letters, a dental school personal statement and relevant extracurricular activities. 

So how about pediatric dentistry? How long does it take to become a pediatric dentist? Pediatric dentist training takes an extra 2-3 years in child psychology and development to better prepare for interacting and treating kids. Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty — one of 12 recognized by the American Dental Association like orthodontics or dental anesthesiology.

You’ll be happy to know that all our Kids Mile High dentists completed specialty training to become qualified pediatric dentists. So whether your kids have Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith as their dentist, you can be confident that your kids are in expert hands.

What a Family Dentist Offers

Now that you’re all clear on the schooling that a family dentist and a specialist like a pediatric dentist go through, you might wonder what they each offer their patients.

A family dentist serves a broad range of patients, from babies showing their first teeth to seniors needing restorative treatment. And they typically have a network of specialists nearby that they can refer patients to for specialized treatment such as orthodontics or oral surgery. 

Some families opt for a family dentist because of convenience. However, having a pediatric dentist just for your kids can mean your littles get attention and treatment that’s specifically kid-focused. Plus, you might end up seeing a pediatric dentist anyway — family dentists sometimes refer young patients to a pediatric specialist when dental decay is diagnosed and treatment is needed.

What A Pediatric Dentist Offers for Kids

As mentioned, a pediatric dentist has 2-3 years of additional training in child psychology and development to better interact and treat little ones. Pediatric dentist training is invaluable in helping kids feel safe, relaxed, and understood at the dentist. Your Denver-area kids’ dentist can safely say that kids dentistry is not only about helping kids have the best oral care possible, but also about creating an environment that is welcoming and fun. 

We all know — maybe even from our own childhood experiences — that going to the dentist might not be a favorite pastime for kids. A pediatric dentist knows where your kids are coming from and why, and can respond to their worries and anxieties about the dentist with sensitivity and encouragement. And if your kids have special needs, we at Kids Mile High are better equipped to care for your child with the right tools and strategies… all wrapped up in compassion and patience.

What We Offer at Kids Mile High

The team at Kids Mile High takes our pediatric dentistry know-how and ramps it up a notch. Your kiddos are superheroes, so we treat them as the strong and brave people they are, providing a dental care experience that matches their amazing-ness. 

Yes, we have pediatric dentistry training to start with, but we know that dentistry for kids isn’t just about a certificate on the wall. On top of our kid-specific credentials, we provide a fun dental care experience that makes your kids feel relaxed and happy they came. Consider the advantages we offer as your Denver-area pediatric dentist:

  • We explain treatment in kid-friendly terms so they understand what’s happening and feel like an active part of their visit
  • We have a “tell-show-do” approach: explaining every step, showing the equipment, and introducing what we’ll do before treatment begins
  • Our Englewood, Thornton and Central Park Offices are fun, colorful and kid-friendly, providing a distraction when needed
  • We use smaller, kid-friendly dental equipment
  • We use the latest technology to help us treat our young patients as efficiently and comfortably as possible
  • We use safe, BPA-free dental sealants pro-actively on your child’s teeth to prevent cavities before they start
  • We’re all about positive reinforcement — there’s no such thing as too much praise or encouragement for your kids at Kids Mile High!

Dentistry for Kids from A-Z at Kids Mile High:

Pediatric dentists treat children from infants to older teens. We’re here for your kids’ oral health from the time of their first gummy smile to when they head off for college. Dentistry for babies with no teeth? You might wonder. Yep, dental health starts with gum health and establishing good oral habits that will continue on when teeth appear. 

Need advice on the best foods for your child’s oral health? Your Denver-area pediatric dentist has the info. Wondering if your child’s prolonged pacifier or thumbsucking habits negatively affect their oral development? We’ll take a thorough look and work with you and your kiddo to develop a plan for stopping bad habits and starting positive ones. 

If your child needs braces, our dentists work closely with our in-house orthodontist, Dr. Brandon. That’s multiple specialties conveniently under one roof!

Technology With Your Kids in Mind

We know that quick, comfortable, safe, and fun are key words when it comes to kids’ dentistry. So, in addition to our kid-friendly approach, we use the following technology to make your kiddo’s time in the dentist chair as enjoyable as possible: 

Isolite® – This piece of equipment replaces the dental dams used for adult patients to isolate treatment areas. Isolite is soft and more comfortable for kids’ smaller mouths. Your kid also doesn’t have to worry about keeping their tongue away or suffer jaw pain from keeping their mouth open. Plus their airway is kept comfortably open.

Myobrace® – The Myobrace system is a series of appliances that gradually address issues like mouth breathing, thumbsucking, and tongue thrust — habits that can affect jaw alignment as your child grows. Myobrace also helps gently align teeth instead of braces. Kids will like that you don’t have to wear them at school; You only wear Myobrace for a couple of hours a day and overnight — so you can wear them when you’re at home and when you’re snoozing!

Waterlase™ – Super cool technology right here. For certain procedures on the teeth, gums, or bones, we use Waterlase instead of the traditional drill for a painless experience. WaterLase uses a combo of water, air and a laser to address everything from cavities to frenectomies.

How To Decide Between a Pediatric Dentist vs a Family Dentist

Knowing the differences and similarities between pediatric dentistry and family dentistry is helpful when choosing a kids’ dentist. But if you’re still not sure which way to go, we suggest making an appointment with us to find out what the pediatric dentistry experience at Kids Mile High is like. After all, you want a kids dentist that’s fun, where your kids feel at home and comfortable interacting with the dentist and staff.

A First Visit At Kids Mile High

A first visit with Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith is all about starting your child’s dental health journey on the right foot. We want your kids to associate positivity and fun with their visits. You can choose whether to have your child on your lap or sit independently in the dentist chair while you observe — whatever makes them feel most comfortable. We get to know them and explain in kid-friendly language what going to the dentist is all about. 

Then we do a gentle exam, looking for cavities, gum infections, and any abnormalities in their mouth or throat. We check for jaw alignment and bite, and see if there’s space for their adult teeth. We’ll talk about habits like thumb-sucking and tongue thrust that can contribute to crooked teeth or a bad bite, and suggest ways to overcome those habits. We’ll also go through what you need for a good daily oral care routine that includes brushing and flossing.

For kids three and up, we’ll do a complete cleaning and apply fluoride to strengthen your kiddo’s teeth. And of course, a visit to Kids Mile High isn’t complete without prizes… and maybe a visit to the giant fish tank or mini putting green!

At Kids Mile High, we pride ourselves on pediatric dentistry that’s a little less dental and a whole lot of fun. Coupled with the latest in technology and exceptional care, you can trust that your kids will receive care that’s just right for them every time.

Contact us today to make a first appointment at our Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton, CO office . We’re here to help your little superhero ace their oral health mission!