Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Posted .

I know I’m a little ” long in the tooth” to be writing you, and my behavior is certainly up for debate, but I thought I would put in a word regarding my patients. I know you are busy, so bottom line, please no scooters! We had another kiddo in November fall from a wheeled demon device and actually break her jaw! If an evil mad scientist were to devise a toy to break a kid’s teeth, cause a bloody nose and stitches on the chin, it would involve wheels, and a hard bar at about chest level. See what I mean?

Trampolines are also a dental menace. And when you put a scooter on a Trampoline, it’s really bad.

Thank you again for the electric toothbrush I got last year. I love that it has a timer to keep me brushing. I wish there were an electric flosser, but the regular old stuff is so fast that how can you improve that?

Besides that, how are you? I haven’t seen you in a while. Thanks, by the way for your generous spirit and inclusive love for kids; you are my hero and role model in that regard. How’s that flossing going? I know this is your busy time but take time for yourself man; we are counting on you.

We’ve got the office decorated and have a toy drop-off for the Santa Cops of Larimer County. We found a needy family the ladies are helping out, and they all have their secret Santa gifts ready to go. Yep, you are quite a trendsetter, and I hope you always will be. Love you, Buddy! From one old guy to another, keep up the good works!

Dr. Greg and the Big Grins team

Cancellation Notice Update

Cancellation Notice Update

Posted .

Oh my goodness, we are sliding into the holiday season!  At this time of year, it gets busy at Big Grins with coordination with school activities, end-of-year benefits and the extra time of coats and travel issues! As ever, we are so grateful for you choosing us to help you raise those kiddos!

We are lately finding that, with everyone’s busy schedules, a 24-hour cancellation notice is no longer enough time to schedule another family into a missed appointment.  We have decided to extend our cancellation notice to 48 hours to give us more time to accommodate your needs.  That makes more sense now too since our text and calling will automatically alert you three weeks out from your appointment, one week out, and now 72 hours out.  With a simple click, you can confirm or call in to find a better time for your family. This cancellation notice update will take effect on Monday, Nov 16, 2021.

And just a friendly reminder that we like to have fun at Big Grins but our mission is serious, teaching your kids to take care of themselves and their mouths. We still think of ourselves as teachers, so missing school for a 40-minute appointment may be an excellent use of your child’s time.  Since about a third of our kids visit us in the summer months, that really only means one or two appointments per school year for the development of important life time habits.  Uh, oh, preaching to the choir!  Should I add that young kids do MUCH better in the morning?

As a reminder, our no-show or late cancellation fee is $35 with a family cap of $50, just like my gym helps to incentivize me.  So call us just as soon as you can, and we will help you get in at a good time and keep your family on a healthy schedule.  As always, If I can answer questions on this or any other kids’ dental topic my email is and my cell phone is 970-481-6728. Happy Holidays!


Dr. Greg

Tips To Help You Navigate the Candy Onslaught This Halloween

Tips To Help You Navigate the Candy Onslaught This Halloween

Posted .

Halloween is right around the corner, which means your kids will soon be getting bags of candy from school, neighbors, the pumpkin patch…well just about everyone! And IT IS okay to enjoy candy at Halloween, the key is making sure you have a plan. Here are some helpful tips to navigate the Halloween candy onslaught and maybe even the upcoming holiday sweets overload.

First, we recommend that you come up with a framework of candy and sweets to avoid and those to enjoy. Stay away from candy that your child would be sucking on for a long period of time. The negative effects of candy can be seen from having increased exposure time to sugar, so let them enjoy chocolates that they pop in and chew quickly.

This brings us to our second tip: avoid those sticky candies. They can get stuck on the chewing surface or in between teeth and can be pretty hard to clean. We also recommend avoiding any candy that is sour as these candies are sprayed with acid. Acid is what bacteria produce to cause cavities so sticky sour candies are really a double whammy. Sorry Sour Patch Kid lovers!

Third, try to time when your kids will enjoy these sweets. Our saliva production helps to keep the mouth clean, so eating sweets with a meal or right after a meal decreases the likelihood that sugar will be sitting on the teeth for a long period of time. Sometimes serving a small amount of sweets with food can take candy off the pedestal and make it less of a power struggle with your younger kids. They are also less likely to eat very large quantities of candy if their tummies are already full!

Third, push the water! Increasing water intake can help rinse the sugar off your child’s teeth. This can be especially helpful if you fill that glass with fluoridated tap or bottled water. Fluoride rehardens areas where the calcium has been leeched out of the tooth due to exposure to acid.

Fourth, eat a healthy diet. This seems obvious but if your kids are eating lots of healthy fruits and veggies or dairy and meats at their regular snack and mealtimes then you can feel free to add in the sugary sweets after trick or treating.

Last, brush those teeth! I know you will…but sometimes after the excitement of holidays we are thrown off the routine. Set the expectations with your kids that you will be brushing and flossing really well before bed to help remove the potential for a sugar crash power struggle!

Most importantly: have fun and stay safe this Halloween!

October is National Orthodontic Health Month!

October is National Orthodontic Health Month!

Posted .

October is finally here…or maybe you feel like it crept up on us. Either way, we have been back in school, readjusting to our new schedules and hopefully establishing some great oral health routines.

Our focus this month is twofold: first, we are going to talk about orthodontic health (yay braces!) and then of course give some pointers on Halloween candy pitfalls! Stay tuned for the blog on Halloween candy.

Did you know that October is National Orthodontic Health Month? Your pediatric dentists have extensive training in orthodontic care. After dental school, Dr. Greg and Dr. Rachel both received training in growth and development as well as training in braces during their residency programs. This portion of their residency training made up about 25% of their time! That is why every time your child visits for their regular check-up and cleaning we evaluate their bite and monitor their growth and development. We are the first step to assessing the need and timing of orthodontic care.

One of the most common questions we get asked is why do kids with baby teeth get braces? Braces are wonderful tools we use for two main reasons: most commonly known to straighten teeth, but we are also using them to help facilitate growth if needed. In the latter scenario, some kids will have an arch length discrepancy (when the upper and lower jaws don’t match up in size) or maybe a crossbite (when a lower tooth or teeth overlap in front of an upper tooth or teeth). In these Phase I cases (meaning kids still have some baby teeth present) we can put a little extra pressure on the bones while your child is still growing to help in their growth pattern. This is usually called expansion and can help avoid the need for long term braces or even tooth extractions later in life.

Another common question we get asked is the need and timing of braces. There are a lot of factors that go into assessing when orthodontic treatment plans should start and which treatment plan is best for your child. The American Academy of Orthodontics recommends every child have their first orthodontic assessment by the age of 7. Here at Big Grins, we have been completing these orthodontic assessments every time your child comes in for their checkup. We will let you know if we are seeing issues that need to be addressed by an orthodontist and then will give you guidance on when to receive that first consult with the orthodontist!

‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ – Benjamin Franklin

Happy Getting Back to Normal Month!

Happy Getting Back to Normal Month!

Posted .

Our daughter just moved back to Georgia to start her senior year of college, and our son started his “Blacksmithing Bachelor’s degree” a couple of weeks ago. That’s our new normal, so we will see how it goes.

One topic that came up lately is the use of X-rays for diagnosing cavities we can’t see in the mouth. Cigna insurance recently published a questionnaire on their website about cavity risk and frequency for X-rays. I love that because it helps parents to see how we make a determination on the use of X-rays. Big Grins actually got audited by the big bruiser, Delta Dental Insurance, last year on the use of X-rays. We came through the audit in flying colors (after over 100 hours of submitting chart reviews) because we do a caries risk assessment of every kid every time they come in! That allows us to put the child on the correct frequency of X-rays based on their cavity risk.

Cavity risk is determined by the recent history of cavities, metabolic factors like saliva quality, a plaque index, or how much plaque and where kids have it, tooth anatomy and proximity, and gum health. The goal for kids up to about 14 years is X-rays only once a year, and for adolescents once every 18 months. The average cavity on a baby tooth can progress from the surface to the inside of the tooth in six months, so those with high risk get X-rays every six months. For adult teeth, that progression is usually one to two years. So that means for low-risk kids with both baby and permanent teeth it’s every 12 months and for all adult teeth every 18 months. Sounds complicated, but the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has studied these averages and published X-ray recommendations. That’s what we follow.

So next time your family comes in if we don’t bring it up, ask about strategies to get your kiddos in the low-risk category for cavities. It’s a subject I can spend HOURS on if you would like! We love helping you raise healthy and happy kids, so email or call me for more information on this topic or another at or 970-481-6728. Have a great September!

Back to School Dental Checklist

Back to School Dental Checklist

Posted .

Hooray, it’s time to head back to school! I am always excited for this time of year as it’s a great time to get your family back into a routine. Although this time can be hectic, going back to school is a good opportunity to re-evaluate your family’s habits and incorporate a good oral health routine. To help you prioritize your family’s oral health, we have outlined a back-to-school checklist!

First, we recommend getting into a good oral hygiene routine. As we are re-establishing our family’s morning and evening routines, it is important to keep oral hygiene a priority. We always recommend finding a time that works best for your family to make oral hygiene a consistent habit. If brushing before breakfast means that it will be a consistent habit then brush before eating. Always remember to brush for 2 minutes twice per day and to floss. Make sure to check everyone’s technique!

Second, start a new school year with a new toothbrush! How old is that toothbrush? It can be difficult to remember when everyone changed their toothbrush last. We recommend using the school calendar as a prompt to remember to change out your toothbrush. You can also use winter and spring break as prompts to switch out that toothbrush. We recommend switching it approximately every 3-4 months or when the bristles start to splay.

Third, what new sports or activities will your kids be participating in the fall? Any contact sports on the schedule? If so, make an appointment to be evaluated for a mouthguard. We take a quick impression and make a model of your kid’s teeth. We then fabricate a mouthguard in your kid’s team colors that are low profile and a snug fit. Comfort is key with mouth guards; they don’t work if they aren’t used!

Fourth, start making a game plan for healthy lunches and snacks. Send your kids to school with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy proteins like string cheese and yogurt. Variety is key! Consider packing water or non-sugary beverages, and stay away from simple carbohydrates and sticky sugary snacks such as goldfish crackers, dried fruit, soft bars, and juice.

Last but not least don’t forget to schedule a dental checkup. As you call your pediatrician or family physician for well-child checks, make sure you check in with the dentist. For ease of scheduling, we recommend grouping your family’s healthcare checkups together. If possible, try to schedule these checkups a month or so before school starts so any issues can be addressed quickly to avoid missing school days.

We hope your family has a wonderful school year ahead! We can’t wait to support you in all your oral healthcare needs.

July Big Grins News Update – By Dr. Greg

July Big Grins News Update – By Dr. Greg

Posted .

What a great month!  For whatever reason, as I look back on my clinic time in July, I had a great time!  We saw many new faces and got to catch up with summer plans with a great bunch of teenagers.  Like I told a dad yesterday, what a rewarding job that I can treat 18-year-olds and three-year-olds in the same hour.  It’s a real privilege watching your kids grow!

We welcomed Monica, our new assistant of four years’ experience and a competitive softball player.  We celebrated Darbi, our new office manager for making it past the first 30 days!  She had big shoes to fill with Kristin leaving for nursing, and a steep learning curve to boot!  We also began the paperwork for Dr. Rachel to buy in to the practice and become a part-owner.  I can’t tell you how nice it has been to seek her counsel almost daily, enjoy her dry humor, and be able to relax and trust her with your care!

My plan to make our system work for our patients, and make Rachel and I interchangeable, has really come to fruition.  We keep calibrating ourselves, but Rachel is slow to treat like I am, and she has embraced the philosophy of enlisting patient families to decide on care options.  We are still getting a handful of special requests, but by and large, families are trusting us to blend treatment plans and care.  With me taking my kids to college, visiting my alma mater Grinnell College, and starting another dental assisting teaching stint in September, I will rely on both Dr. Rachel and you to do treatment in a timely fashion.  I think you will find those special requests for one doctor or another may be hard to accommodate and actually unnecessary!

For the rest of the summer, watch those baseball bats, scooters, and wear goggles in the pool!  Let’s get your kids and their front teeth through the summer with great memories!  If not, we are just a call away.  We love helping you raise healthy, happy children, so don’t hesitate to reach out at or for those bat-to-the-face moments, my cell is 970-481-6728.



Opening the Big Grins Playroom

Opening the Big Grins Playroom!

Posted .

At long last, Big Grins is getting back to a state of normal! Hugs and handshakes are back!  With over half our county population vaccinated, the CDC has relinquished the mask mandate for adults. Vaccinated adults need not wear them in our office. Unvaccinated adults are encouraged but not required to wear masks. Unvaccinated children will still wear masks in the office  (like school) while not in the treatment chairs, but they can play before and after (sometimes during) their appointments in the play area.  The games and dance floor got turned on today, and that made some kids super happy!  We will still be wiping down touched surfaces, but we are super happy too. And just in time for our very hot June, parents are welcome in the front lobby and play areas instead of their hot cars. Our coffee machine has been stocked! We will again talk to parents at the asides in the treatment room.

We did learn a few things from our Covid-19 precautions. One was that most kids do very well in an atmosphere where they are one-on-one with the assistants.  Your trust in us to teach directly to your child is appreciated by our team as well as your child!  Let’s keep that school atmosphere going,  and make these appointments valuable and instructive. The second thing was kids learn best with structured time. We have engineered our appointments to keep their minds stimulated, praised and moving along. The third thing was kids have different priorities than parents — our patients reminded us how important playtime, a fun atmosphere, and that toy selection are to their appointment!

A few things are still not normal in the office. We are experiencing a nitrous oxide mask shortage, not enough flexible plastic I guess.  Our gloves will be every color under the sun since we had to buy from so many vendors.  We are still going to use our closed-door rooms for aerosol-producing procedures for the time being.  But hey, those things are a small price to pay, and our kids will hardly notice.

The entire Big Grins staff, Rachel and I thank you sincerely for weathering the storm with us.  That was the craziest 15 months I have ever been through. As you come in, be sure to say hello to our new assistant Monica — she is a local young lady who used to work with Rachel.  Cheyenne will leave us shortly to pursue full-time school in prep for dental school!  Now, more than ever, we want to help you raise healthy, happy children. For any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to me on my cell 970 481 6728 or email Happy Summer!

This Summer, Be Prepared for Dental Emergencies That Can Happen With Your Child

This Summer, Be Prepared for Dental Emergencies That Can Happen With Your Child!

Posted .

Did you know we have a super helpful section on our website just for dental emergencies?  They include pictures for your convenience.  Please do not hesitate to call our office or the dentist on call if you need help deciphering if it is an emergent or urgent issue.

Summer is a busy time when active children love to get outside to run and play, ride their bikes, and swim. Along with this energetic season comes the potential for accidents or injuries to occur. But you can get your household ready so that you have what you need to handle an oral injury that may come up.

First up is taking steps to keep accidents from happening in the first place. You can help keep your child’s smile safe by making sure of the following:

  • Helping them understand that chewing hard foods like popcorn kernels and ice can chip or break their teeth.
  • Making sure your child is in a car seat while your older kid wears a seatbelt when driving around.
  • Childproofing your stairs to keep your child from accidentally falling down them.
  • Giving your child a mouthguard to wear when they play contact sports.
  • Showing your child how to keep toothaches away by brushing and flossing every day, no excuses.

Stocking Your Dental First Aid Kit

You can put together an emergency care kit for your children. Be sure to get some clean gauze, a small cup you can use for mouthwash (those plastic measuring cups that come with some medications work well), some kid-friendly mouthwash, cold compress, and a small tooth preservation cup or a small container with a lid.

In case of injury, you can also make the incident less traumatic by doing the following:

  • Checking the area for bleeding and applying pressure to the injury to staunch the blood flow.
  • Gently washing the injured area using some salt water or an antiseptic rinse.
  • If there is swelling surrounding the injury, gently applying an ice pack (or cool compress) can help lower any swelling.
  • Calling our office if the injury is serious, so your child can see the dentist as soon as possible.

Potential Injuries and Their Treatment at Home

Handling a Toothache: Not all toothaches need immediate attention. Sometimes it’s just bits of food trapped between teeth, making the gums hurt. Flossing gently and rinsing well can often take care of that. If they still feel pain and you give them a mild pain reliever and a cold compress to soothe the area, they may need to be seen by our dentist. In that case, please give us a call to see what to do next.

Biting the Cheek, Lip, or Tongue: A cold compress may be all you need to help soothe bleeding, pain and swelling. Rinsing the area with water can also help. You do want to make sure the bleeding stops, however, and if it doesn’t, you may need to call us for an emergency appointment.

Losing a Baby Tooth: Don’t worry if your child accidentally loses a baby tooth prematurely, as long as the bleeding stops. Gently pick up the tooth, place it in a container of milk, saliva, or a tooth preservation container, and have your child bite gently on some sterile gauze. The sooner your child can be seen, the better chances of the tooth being reattached. We can help prevent infection, control the bleeding, check out their bite, and assess whether a mouth spacer needs to be placed.

Call to Schedule Your Child’s Next Visit

By being prepared for potential oral injuries this summer, your child can go outside with confidence and enjoy the fruits of the season while you have peace of mind. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s growing smile, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We are always here to make sure your child gets the best pediatric dental care possible!