children smiling in a group

Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentistry Villa Park & Westmont, IL

Pediatric Dentistry Villa Park & Westmont, IL

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that every child be seen by a pediatric dentist by age 1. At Chawla Orthodontics, we provide comprehensive dental care for children who are 13 years of age or younger and patients who have special needs through our talented and experienced pediatric dentists. We have been at the forefront of providing world class pediatric dental service for years. The design of our office ensures a comfortable, engaging experience for your child from start to finish!

Our ultra-modern practice is a fun place for children and parents alike. We boast an attractive game room where children can relax by playing games on our Xbox 360 or PS3. There are also lots of kid’s movies in our treatment and waiting rooms for our patients to enjoy. Parents are encouraged to make use of our complimentary Wi-Fi while they wait. We specialize in many different types of dentistry, and have board-certified orthodontists in Villa Park & Westmont on staff in our multi-specialty office. In addition, we provide safe sedation dentistry using flavored nitrous oxide or in-office sedation for more complicated procedures.

Our pediatric dental specialist, Dr. Rhiannon Holcombe, has active memberships with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and has gone through years of extra training before becoming a pediatric dentist. She loves to spend quality time with every child she serves while providing them with impeccable care. She is passionate about helping anxious young patients, transforming them into children who are excited to visit the dentist. Her belief is that when children enjoy their visit, they will look forward to seeing their dentist, which will instill a lifetime of proper dental habits that will lead to a lifetime of happy, healthy smiles.

Aside from routine checkups, Dr. Holcombe screens patients for dental developmental abnormalities and orthodontic needs, as well as counsel parents of children with potentially harmful oral habits like thumb sucking. She is also trained and experienced in the area of treating children who have special needs or who have been medically compromised.

You should visit the dentist with your child once every six months for checkups and routine dental cleanings to keep their teeth strong. It is also recommended that they use tooth sealants if needed, as they fill the deep grooves in the teeth and prevent decay. Sealants can last many years, but they need to be checked regularly during your child’s visits.

Make sure you examine the child’s teeth every two weeks as they erupt, checking for discoloration or lines that may be signs of decay. Remember that liquids and sugary foods can be bad for a new tooth, so ensure that your child brushes after meals. For the best oral hygiene, brushing two times a day is recommended.

Make sure that your child starts brushing as soon as their first tooth erupts. This first tooth should be brushed with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush. Do not use fluoride for children who are younger than two years of age unless your healthcare professional advises you to do so. You should review proper tooth brushing procedures with your child.

Also, regular flossing is another good oral hygiene habit, and our doctors will let you know the right time to begin flossing. Get in touch with our dental office right away if you notice any signs of possible decay.

Caring for your Infant's Teeth

Congratulations on the arrival of your baby! Are you prepared for the arrival of your baby’s first tooth? Follow these guidelines and your son or daughter will be on the way to a lifetime of healthy smiles!

Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, the gums can benefit from your careful attention. After breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, wrap one finger with a clean, damp washcloth or piece of gauze and gently rub it across your baby’s gum tissue. This practice both clears your little one’s mouth of any fragments of food and begins the process for building good daily oral care habits.

When that first tooth makes an entrance, it’s time to upgrade to a baby toothbrush. There are usually two options: a long-handled toothbrush that you and your baby can hold at the same time, or a finger-puppet like brush that fits over the tip of your pointer finger. In each case, the bristles are soft and few.

At this stage, toothpaste isn’t necessary; just dip the brush in water before brushing. If your little one doesn’t react well to the introduction of a toothbrush, don’t give up. Switch back to a damp washcloth for a few months and try the toothbrush again later. During the teething process, your child will want to chew on just about anything, and a baby toothbrush with a teether can become a favorite toy during this period.

When a few more teeth appear, you can start using toothpaste with your child’s toothbrush. However, for the first two years, be sure to choose toothpaste that does not contain fluoride, unless advised to do so by your dentist, because too much fluoride can be dangerous for youngsters. At this stage, use only a tiny amount of toothpaste. From the beginning, have your little one practice spitting the toothpaste out after brushing to prepare for fluoride toothpaste, which should not be swallowed at any age.

Don’t give your baby any sort of sweetened liquids, such as flavored drinks or soda. Even the sugars present in fruit juice, formula, and milk (this goes for breast milk as well) can cause decay, so regular teeth and gum cleaning is vital. Also, make sure your baby never goes to bed with a bottle; sugary liquids in prolonged contact with teeth are a guarantee for early-childhood decay, also called baby-bottle caries.

It’s recommended that you bring your baby in for a visit within six months of the first tooth’s eruption – usually around his or her first birthday. Since decay can occur in even the smallest of teeth, the earlier your baby visits us, the more likely he or she is to avoid problems. We’ll look for any signs of early problems with your baby’s oral heath, and check in with you about the best way to care for your little one’s teeth. Remember that preparing for each dental visit with a positive attitude goes a long way toward making your child comfortable with regular checkups.

As part of the natural learning process, little ones are expert mimics, and you can take advantage of this talent! Brush and floss daily while your child is watching, and he or she will intuit at an early age the importance of your good habits. As soon as your child shows interest, offer a toothbrush of his or her own and encourage your toddler to “brush” with you. (You’ll find toothbrushes with chunky, short handles are easiest for them to grip.) Most children don’t have the dexterity necessary to thoroughly clean their own teeth until they’re about six or seven, so you’ll have to do that part of the job. Try different tactics to make brushing fun: flavored toothpaste, a toothbrush with a favorite character on it, or singing songs about brushing. The primary goal is to instill healthy oral habits at an early age to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy, cavity-free teeth!


Along with favorite blankets, teddy bears, and nap time, thumb sucking can be one of the most comforting aspects of childhood. According to a recent report, between 75% and 95% of infants suck their thumbs, so chances are there’s a thumb sucker (or a former thumb sucker) in your family. Is this cause for worry?

In most cases, the answer is no. However, it’s important to pay attention to your child’s habits in case his or her behavior has the potential to affect overall oral health.

Most children begin sucking their thumbs or fingers from a very young age; many even start inside the womb. Sucking is a natural reflex for an infant and it serves an important purpose. Sucking often provides a sense of security and contentment for a young one. It can also be relaxing, which is why many children suck their thumbs as they fall asleep.

According to the American Dental Association, most children stop thumb sucking on their own between the ages of two and four. They simply grow out of a habit that is no longer useful to them. However, some children continue sucking beyond the preschool years (although studies show that the older a child gets, the lower the chances are of continuing the habit). If your child is still sucking their thumb when his or her permanent teeth start to erupt, it is time to take action to break the habit.

First, take note of how your child sucks his or her thumb. If the sucking is passive, with the thumb gently resting inside the mouth, it is less likely to cause damage. If, on the other hand, the thumb sucking is aggressive, placing pressure on the mouth or teeth, the habit may cause problems with tooth alignment and proper mouth growth. Extended sucking affects both the teeth and the shape of the face and may lead to a need for orthodontic treatment in the future.

If at any time you suspect your child’s thumb sucking may be affecting his or her oral health, please give us a call and schedule a visit. We can help you assess and address the situation!

Helping Your Child Overcome Thumb-Sucking

Should you need to help your child end the habit, follow these guidelines:

  • Always be supportive and positive. Instead of punishing your child for thumb sucking, give praise when he or she doesn’t.
  • Put a band-aid on your child’s thumb or a sock over the hand at night. Let your little one know that this is not a punishment, but rather a way to help remember to avoid sucking.
  • Start a progress chart and let your child put a sticker up every day that he or she doesn’t suck. If your child makes it through a week without sucking, he or she gets to choose a prize. When the whole month is full, reward your child with something great (a toy or new video game); by then, the habit should be over. Making your child an active participant in his or her treatment will increase the willingness to break the habit.
  • If you notice your child sucking when he or she is anxious, work on alleviating the anxiety rather than focusing on the thumb sucking.
  • Take note of the times your child tends to suck (long car rides, while watching movies) and create diversions during these occasions.
  • Explain clearly what might happen to their teeth if he or she keeps thumb sucking.

Whatever your method, always remember that your child needs your support and understanding during the process of breaking the habit of thumb sucking.


You brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly, and visit the dentist every six months, but did you know that rinsing with fluoride — a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay — also helps keep your teeth healthy and strong?

Effectiveness of Fluoride

Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay by coating your teeth and preventing plaque from building up and hardening on the tooth’s surface. It comes in two types- systemic and topical. Systemic fluoride is ingested by everyone through public water supply. While teeth are forming under the gums, the fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, making it stronger and more resistant to cavities. Fluoride can also be applied topically to help prevent cavities on teeth present within the mouth. It is delivered through toothpaste, mouthwash, and professional fluoride applications.

Receiving A Fluoride Treatment At The Dentist

A fluoride treatment in your dentist’s office takes just a few minutes. After the treatment, patients may be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or your doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months. Your doctor may also prescribe an at-home fluoride product such as a mouthwash, gel, or antibacterial rinse.

Choosing An At-Home Fluoride Treatment

When choosing your own at-home fluoride product (such as toothpaste or mouthwash), always check for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined by the ADA and approved based on safety and effectiveness. Take care of your teeth and smile bright with dental fluoride treatments!