I thought all dentists see kids and adults.
Why choose a specialist in pediatric dentistry?
Dr. Svensson loves children and is committed to your child's health. The difference between taking your child to a pediatric dentist as compared to a general or family dentist is like taking your child to see a pediatrician instead of a family doctor. A pediatric dentist has limited her practice to treating children under 18 and focuses on child development, growth expectations, anomalies, and diseases. A pediatric dentist has devoted her career to how to help you keep your child comfortable, happy, and healthy, and make sure you have the right information in order to make the best decisions for your child's care. Furthermore, a pediatric dentist who achieves diplomate status, also known as board certification, with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry has undergone additional education and examination beyond specialty training and re-certifies every year.
SF Pediatric Dentistry Practice philosophy
Our practice model centers on mutual respect and comprehensive care.
Dr. Svensson makes it a priority to provide the information you need to be comfortable deciding what is going to be best for your child. As with other healthcare situations, she believes there is more than one way to achieve health.
Planning your child's visit.
Why should I bring my baby to the dentist?
Caries, or cavities, is the number one most prevalent disease of childhood. It is 5x more common than asthma and 7x more common than hay fever. In California, 54% of kindergarteners and 70% of 3rd graders have experienced tooth decay.
A pediatric dentist will assess whether your child is at increased risk for getting cavities, recognize early signs of cavities, and work with you to decrease the risk and severity of cavities that your child experiences.
The American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend first dental visit by first tooth or age one! We can help you develop a game-plan to avoid the risks associated with childhood tooth decay. Let's work together to set the foundation for good oral health for your child.
How can I prepare my child for the visit?
We recommend using positive, kid-friendly language to prepare your child for the visit -- as if they are going to their first day of preschool and you are describing your child's teacher. Statements like, "The dentist is so nice and she loves kids! The office has nice toys to play with and books to read. The dentist brushes your teeth to make them sparkly clean and also counts how many teeth you have!" can be helpful.
Would you tell your child, "The teacher won't hurt you!" before their first day of school? Probably not! We also ask that you avoid words like, "hurt," "needle," "poke," "drill," because we do our very best to make sure even kids with cavities are comfortable throughout any treatment.
We use specific, child friendly words and phrases like "happy air, wash your tooth with water and noises, tickle and scrub your teeth." If you're not sure about what to say, let your child know that "the dentist will show you and talk with us about everything before getting started" and give our office a call if you need any other tips. If you are worried about something, please let us know so that we can try to make your child's experience positive.
My child has special needs or a complex medical history. Should I still come?
Yes! Dr. Svensson has advanced training for taking care of children with special health care needs. The earlier your child's visit, the more chance everyone has at preventing cavities and any subsequent treatment. We will do our best to get to know you and your child in order to figure out what could work best for you in the moment and in the long term.
My child has a cavity and might need a shot. I don't want to lie to my child. What should I say?
In our experience, most children become a little apprehensive if they think they are getting a vaccine in their face at our office, so we don't encourage using the word shot. In the event that your child's teeth require numbing, we do our best to deliver comfortable care using topical anesthetic, distraction, compassion, and laughing gas. Please let your child know we use "numbing medicine", "local anesthetic", or "sleepy juice" so that their question is answered, and let us explain the rest.
I love paying for dental care!
Said no one ever.
Do you take my PPO insurance?
We accept all PPOs. If we're not directly in network with your insurance, we will submit the claim for you. Every individual benefit plan is different, and we will do our best to calculate the copay.
We are in network with over 40 insurance companies, including:
Blue Shield of CA PPO (excluding Federal Employee Program)
United Health Care PPO
United Concordia Alliance (excluding Tricare or Fedvip)
For out-of network plans we expect payment in full on the day of the visit. It is your responsibility to contact your insurance company and confirm in-network status, ask for an Explanation of Benefits (EOB), a list of approved providers, and the cost for you to see an out-of-network provider. The person who brings the child is responsible for the balance that day. Our fees are average for the area. Once your insurance company processes the claim, you will receive a check in the mail from them anywhere between 4-8 weeks after it is processed.
Keep in mind that the benefits and reimbursements are decided by your employer and the insurance company, and may not correspond with what is recommended to keep your child healthy or our fees. Dental insurance is more similar to a coupon book that you purchase than it is to medical insurance.
How much will my insurance cover?
Insurance coverage is different for everyone at any given time. Please contact SF Pediatric Dentistry ahead of time and provide us with your insurance details to receive an estimate for your out of pocket cost. However, this amount may be different for the day of the visit because dental insurance companies say "this estimate may not be accurate at the time of service nor is it a guarantee of coverage or payment."
How does dental insurance work?
Dental insurance is like a coupon book. Your employer and the insurance company decide which benefits they want to provide and place arbitrary limits on the % covered, dollar amount per person or family, and frequency of treatment. There can be waiting periods during which treatment is not a covered benefit despite you paying for and having insurance. Each dental practice sets its own fees which differ from the amount up to which the insurance decides to reimburse.
And, to make it more confusing, what your insurance allows may or may not correspond with what is needed to keep your child healthy.
My dental plan says this service was covered at 100%. Why do I have a co-pay?
Dental insurance can be confusing. This discrepancy happens when the dental insurance puts a cap on what they want to reimburse for a service. As a result, the "100% covered" is only up to this cap. The difference between the cap and the actual fee is often the patient's responsibility unless the dentist has agreed to accept a reduced rate in order to be in-network. It is also possible that your family has reached its maximum for the year. We make the process as transparent as possible but it can be tricky as every family's dental plan, % covered, frequency, deductible, waiting period, and usage is different and can even change between the time we verify and your child's appointment time.
What do you charge?
Here is a list of our fees for select services (current as of 2023). Our fees are average for San Francisco for a pediatric dental specialist. These fees do not take into account in-network or out-of-network benefits, which vary from plan to plan.
We love coming to you but our insurance is changing!
Do you accept my HMO plan?
We are unable to accept any HMO plans, including DeltaCare USA and Medi-Cal Dental. If you choose to come see us, we will not be able to bill your insurance and you will be responsible for the full cost of treatment rendered at the time of the appointment.