Parents Our goal at Smile Zone is to become the Dental Home for your child. This means providing more than services and procedures, it's also about assisting you with the tools and information you need to promote good oral health. So, in this section you'll find information about preventative care at home, what to do in an emergency, and more. Also, if you'd like to learn more about the benefits of a Dental Home, visit The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry website.

Preventative Care

Infant Dental Care

A good rule of thumb to follow regarding your infant's dental care is "first visit by first birthday." The first tooth usually comes in between 6 and 12 months, and as soon as it arrives or their first birthday comes, it's time to go to the dentist. The timing is important so that you can begin a prevention program early, because once a child's diet includes anything other than breast milk, teeth are at risk for decay.

Some simple preventative steps that you can take:

  • Do not let your infant fall asleep with a bottle containing anything other than water
  • Try to wean your infant from the bottle at 12–14 months of age
  • Avoid allowing your infant to drink juice from a bottle
  • Clean your infant's gums with a soft infant toothbrush, or cloth and water
Oral Hygiene

Preventative oral hygiene centers around one thing: bacteria. Leftover food particles and sugar from juice and soft drinks are the most common culprits. If left unchecked bacteria will eventually lead to cavities, gingivitis, and other issues that will require treatment. But with the right efforts in oral hygiene, most of these issues can be managed and even prevented.

The first, and most important step is regular tooth brushing and flossing. Tooth brushing should be done at least twice a day and flossing once a day.

As your child is learning to brush, try to find brushes that have large handles that children can easily hold and control. Also, be sure to help brush your preschooler's teeth and supervise the brushing and flossing of school-age children until they are 7 to 8 years of age.

Emergency Care

When your child needs urgent dental treatment, Smile Zone stands ready to help. Please keep the emergency number available and convenient, and call immediately when an emergency situation occurs. Explore the menu to learn about some of the most common emergency needs.

Smile Zone Emergency Number: 417- 883-5866

Knocked Out Baby Tooth

If your child's baby tooth is knocked out, contact Smile Zone as soon as possible. The baby tooth should not be replanted because of the potential for subsequent damage to the developing permanent tooth, but Dr. Hudkins will want to examine your child to make sure that no other damage has occurred.

Knocked Out Permanent Tooth

If your child's permanent tooth is knocked out, find the tooth and rinse it gently in cool water (no soap). If possible, replace the tooth in the socket immediately and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you can't put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with cold milk, saliva, or water. Then call Smile Zone and get to the pediatric dental office as soon as possible. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.

Chipped or Fractured Tooth

If your child's tooth is chipped or fractured, call Smile Zone immediately. Quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection, and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment. If possible, rinse your child's mouth with water and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling if the lip also was injured. If you can find the broken tooth fragment, place it in cold milk or water and bring it with you to the dental office.

Jaw Fracture

If you suspect that your child has a jaw fracture, you should seek immediate medical attention. Since a jaw fracture is usually due to or accompanies a head injury, the sooner you seek medical attention the better. Keep in mind that an emergency medical team might be able to reach you faster than you can get to the hospital.


Mouth Guards / Protectors

While playing almost any sport there is a risk for oral injury. To help reduce this risk, we can help equip your child with a mouth guard designed to fit their teeth perfectly. If your child is playing any sport, please ask Dr. Hudkins about the associated risks and whether a mouth guard is recommended.

Tongue Piercing

If your child is considering getting his or her tongue pierced, or already has, it's important to be aware of the potential issues it may cause. The barbell-type stud generally used in tongue piercing has been shown to put people at risk for chipped teeth, recessed gums, and even nerve damage. Please seek the advice of Dr. Hudkins before letting your child pierce his or her tongue, and if they already have a pierced tongue, regular dental visits will help to monitor any potential issues.