Dr. Aditi Agarwal has opened Avondale Smiles at 11523 Avondale Rd. NE, Suite 115 in Redmond. A ribbon-cutting ceremony, featuring Redmond Mayor John Marchione and the Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce, is set for 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 23.
Educated in Delhi, India, Agarwal completed her dental training at Boston University in 2003 and has spent the last seven years working in a large group practice in Bellevue.
Avondale Smiles is a general dentistry office where Agarwal sees patients “of all ages, from zero to 100,” she said. She’s offering a New Patient Special for adults, age 18 and older.
Those adult patients can choose from a free, take-home tooth whitening kit or $100 “dental dollars” good toward any service offered at Avondale Smiles, after the initial visit of exam, x-rays and cleaning (no cash value).
With children getting ready to return to school, we asked Agarwal some common questions about caring for kids’ teeth. For instance, when should parents begin taking their child to the dentist?
“As soon as you see the first tooth in their mouth,” Agarwal replied.
And how can parents keep a baby’s teeth clean if they are resistant to brushing?
“Water should always be the last thing in their mouth at the end of the day,” Agarwal advised.
Not surprisingly, Agarwal stressed the importance of watching what kids eat and drink to help prevent tooth decay.
“Avoid too much sugar and obviously, candy,” she stated. “Natural foods are always best — carrots, celery, apples, peaches. Don’t use candy as bribes or rewards. And I’m really not big on lollipops because then you’ve got sugar sitting in the mouth for an extended period of time.”
What about chewing gum to clean teeth, when immediate brushing isn’t convenient?
Agarwal said sugar-free gum such as Trident can be helpful “because it does stimulate saliva production.”
When playing sports or just getting frisky on the playground, kids run a risk of injuring their teeth. What can a parent do to decrease that risk?
“For active sports, kids should wear mouth guards,” said Agarwal. “Older kids, with all their permanent teeth, can get them custom-made at a dental office. Younger kids can get them, ‘one size fits all’ or actually small, medium or large at drug stores like Safeway, Rite Aid or Bartell’s,” she added.
What if a tooth gets knocked out or chipped?
“If the tooth is completely out with the root intact, put it in milk and get to the closest dentist. Sometimes they can re-implant it,” said Agarwal.
“If it’s chipped or loose, especially with pain, try not to play with it too much — and again, get to the dentist as soon as possible. The pain could be from the knock in the mouth or from a nerve being exposed.”
Every parent knows that dental emergencies often occur on nights or weekends, when dentists’ offices are closed. What happens then?
“We’re open Saturdays here,” said Agarwal. “And our office has an emergency line. Parents can also e-mail us. I can check my e-mail from my phone.”
Also, how do parents know how or when a child need braces?
“I’m not an orthodontist,” Agarwal noted, “but if I see that teeth are not coming in the way they should, I refer them to an orthodontist. The earlier the treatment, it’s less invasive than when they’re older.”
Speaking of older students, what about young adults who are leaving for college and won’t be home very much?
“Schedule a dental visit right before they leave and try to schedule ahead to have them come back during the holidays or spring break,” Agarwal suggested.
“The main thing for parents to know,” she continued, “is that kids getting early care can prevent problems later and reduce fear of going to the dentist. There is so much more scope for prevention now. Why introduce them to the drill if you never have to? A big problem I see is that our diet is just not right. There are too many processed foods. It’s a parent’s responsibility to minimize sugars.”
Finally, knowing that calcium is important for strong teeth and bones, how can a parent make sure that children get enough calcium if they don’t like milk or are lactose-intolerant?
“Soy products or calcium supplements can help if they’re lactose-intolerant or vegan,” said Agarwal. “And sometimes people can digest yogurt easier than milk because of the active bacteria cultures. Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium.”
For more information about Avondale Smiles or to schedule an appointment, call (425) 298-6684 or visit www.avondalesmiles.com.