Dr Erin and her staff are not only pediatric dental professionals, they’re also parents themselves. With that in mind, we understand that parents want to have the ability to make decisions they feel are safest for their own children. While Dr Erin uses materials and procedures that are supported by scientifically based evidence, we are always open to discussing alternative options for your children. We want you and your child to feel comfortable, safe, and healthy.
Dr Erin Estep is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist. She grew-up on the Oregon Coast in Newport. She was a competitive swimmer throughout her youth and is an avid sports fan. She met her husband while in dental school, the brother of one of her classmates. They married in 2012 and have two boys, Jacoby 5 and Ollie 3. Dr Erin spends her time walking/running with their 7 year old yellow lab, Mr Beau. She enjoys quilting, collecting wine and spending time with her friends. Most weekends she’s in Mom-mode, shuffling her kids from one sport to another and countless birthday parties! She truly treats her patients like they were one of her own, always finding the best option for your child.
Dr Erin graduated from Newport High School in 1999. She then went on to her obtain her undergraduate degree from Western Oregon University in 2003 with a BA in Biology and minors in Chemistry and English. From 2006-2010 she attended dental school at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). While in school she received a scholarship from the National Health Service Corps that paid for her education in exchange for working 4 years in underserved populations throughout the country. Upon graduation, she received two prestigious awards from her professors: the Oregon Academy of Pediatric Dentistry student of her graduating class and The American Association of Public Health Dentistry. Her time in the National Health Service took her to Butte, Montana for two years and then Redding, California for 2 additional years. During this time she knew that specializing in pediatrics was the right career path for her. She went to a two year residency at OHSU and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, graduating in 2016. During her second year there she was named Chief Resident, an honor that meant a lot of her.
Dr Erin spent her first four years out of dental school working for the National Health Service Corps in remote areas of Montana and California in a public health setting through community health centers. Here she was able to use all of her general dental skills and really enjoyed the challenge of it all. She realized during this time how much she really loved working with children. After her commitment, she applied for pediatric dentistry and was accepted into OHSU. Upon graduation, she worked for a corporate dental office and a private practice. Although she enjoyed both experiences, her husband encouraged her and has been a huge supporter of her pursuing her dream of opening her own practice.
Certifications and Affiliations:
American Dental Association
Oregon Dental Association
Lane County Dental Association
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
Oregon Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
College of Diplomates
Certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support
At Treehouse Kids Dentist we are committed to quality comprehensive dental care for your child. Dr Erin’s two year pediatric dental residency has allowed her to expand her ability to treat your child in various ways to achieve the best treatment. She offers comprehensive care to a child who comes in for their first visit, traditional visits, sedation dentistry, and special needs care.
- Dental exams
- Restorative needs including white colored fillings and full coverage crowns
- Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)
- Fluoride treatments and supplements
- Root canals
- Limited orthodontics, including space maintenance
- Emergency dental care
- Teeth whitening
- Digital, low-radiation X-rays
- Sedation dentistry: including nitrous oxide and general anesthesia
Diet & Nutrition
Trauma & Emergencies
the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends using fluoride toothpaste the moment the first tooth erupts into the mouth. For children age 0-3, a rice-sized smear, twice a day, is a safe and effective way to prevent dental decay. At this age, the parent is exclusively responsible for brushing her child’s teeth. It is perfectly ok for your child to swallow this amount of toothpaste daily. The nighttime routine is the most important time to brush your child’s teeth. After brushing, do not allow any else by mouth, allowing the toothpaste to sit on the teeth throughout the night. If any of your child’s teeth “touch” each other during this age group, flossing the contact of those teeth is imperative because 70% of childhood cavities are in between the teeth.
For children age 3-6, a pea-sized smear, twice a day, is a safe and effective way to prevent dental decay. At this age, the parent is exclusively responsible for brushing her child’s teeth. It is perfectly ok for your child to swallow this amount of toothpaste daily. The nighttime routine is the most important time to brush your child’s teeth. After brushing, do not allow any else by mouth, allowing the toothpaste to sit on the teeth throughout the night. Children do not have the dexterity to flossing their own teeth until they are 10-11 years old. Flossing the contact of those teeth is imperative because 70% of childhood cavities are in between the teeth.
This age can be especially difficult for parents as their children start to strongly assert their independence. However, research shows that children cannot adequately brush their teeth until 9 years old, and they cannot floss well enough until 10-11. At this age, Dr Erin encourages parents to let their child brush first, and then finishing the job themselves. Children usually miss the chewing surfaces of back teeth and all teeth at the gumline. This is also the age where they start to snack throughout the day on cavity-friendly foods such as soda, crackers, chips, gum and candy. The combination of this type of diet and poor oral hygiene ability is the perfect recipe for disaster = cavities.
From a dentist’s standpoint, fluoride is one of the greatest discoveries for dental health. Fluoride provides many benefits for children’s teeth, both topically (directly on the teeth) and systemically (indirectly swallowed). When fluoride is applied to teeth, it is incorporated into the enamel matrix, making it stronger and more resistant to decay. It is also bactericidal (killing the bacteria responsible for tooth decay). When swallowed, fluoride is taken up by developing teeth so that when they erupt into the mouth they are strong and more resistant to cavities. Research has shown areas that do not have fluoridated water have much higher cavity rates than areas who do have fluoride in the water. Depending on where you live Dr Erin may recommend prescribing fluoride supplements to best protect your child from getting cavities in the future. Dr Erin is, however, aware of that some parents are fearful of the use of fluoride in their children. Dr Erin is an open-minded practitioner, willing to hear your concers, and can offer fluoride free alternatives.
Dental sealants are a composite (tooth colored) material that flows into the deep grooves of the permanent molars, preventing tooth decay. Children age 6-teenage years often miss the deepest grooves of their molar while brushing, leaving food behind in the deep grooves the bacteria can metabolize, causing cavities. A sealant closes off the deep grooves, preventing food from “hiding” in there. The sealant material itself contains fluoride and is essentially “charged” during brushing to protect the entire tooth. Dr Erin believes strongly in sealants, however, if your child is a low cavity risk child, she may recommend delaying sealants if they are not needed.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children get their first check-up with an orthodontist at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7. Around that age, children have a mix of baby and permanent teeth. An examination as permanent teeth take the place of baby teeth, and as the face and head are growing, gives the orthodontist a wealth of information. If a problem exisits, or if one is developing, your orthodontist is able to advise you on whether treatment is recommended, when it should begin, what form treatment will take, and estimate its length. A consultation with an orthodontist is free of charge to the patient.
One of the biggest causes of tooth decay is frequent snacking on foods that bacteria can digest, producing an acid that dissolved tooth enamel, resulting in cavities. Limiting the serving of sugars and starches will aid protecting your child’s teeth. Great options for snacking include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and cheese, as bacteria can not use this food to cause cavities. Only water should be consumed throughout day. Limiting juice to 4 ounces at a meal setting is ideal. Never put a baby or toddler to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. At-will breastfeeding throughout the night is one of the biggest causes of early childhood caries. The best practice is to brush the teeth before bed and then allow nothing by mouth until your child wakes in the morning. Nighttime is the ideal time for cavities to form.
Sometimes children are simply too young to cooperate for procedures, and sometimes the anxiety is too high for them to sit safely for dental work. Dr Erin has been highly trained to handle situations where children may need some form of sedation to get through procedures. Many children do very well with some nitrous oxide. In this case, they will where a mask to breath is “happy air” that works very well. The nitrous has many beneficial properties including relieving anxiety, minimizing pain felt, and relaxing the gag reflex. Your child might be a little “goofy” or really relaxed, but by the end of the appointment they are right back to their energetic and joyful selves.
For the children who are too young, treatment is too extensive or they are too anxious, Dr Erin may recommend a general anesthesia, where your child is put into a deep sleep. Dr Erin has done nearly a thousand procedures this way and uses an incredible group out of the Portland area who can perform these procedures in the surgical suite at Treehouse Kids Dentist.
Dr Erin has a passion for treating special needs patients. After spending two years at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital as part of her pediatric dental residency, Dr Erin has had a lot of experience treating children with a wide range of special needs. Dr Erin designed her office to offer in-office general anesthesia in a surgery suite that is equipped with state of the art dental equipment. She also encourages frequent site visits and will meet your child wherever they are. She has developed a lot of techniques over the years and finds happiness is working with all special needs children. Her office has been specially designed for patients with ADA needs. Please let our front office know if your child has any special needs!
The most important thing to do if your child loses a tooth is to remain calm. Unfortunately, pediatric dentist do not reimplant a baby tooth for numerous reason, primarily their tendency to abscess and cause facial swelling. They may also damage the permanent front tooth if put back into socket, and numerous research studies have shown putting them back into the mouth is not successful.
Permanent teeth are different. If a child loses a permanent tooth (usually a front tooth), find the tooth and hold it by the crown rather than the root. Try to reinsert into the socket as quickly as you can. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take the child and the glass IMMEDIATELY to the pediatric dentist. Time is of utmost importance. The soon it is reimplanted and splint, they higher the success of saving the tooth. Always see your pediatric dentist so that she can properly position tooth, splint the tooth, and monitor with xrays. Your child will need an antibiotic and possible a tetanus injection after the visit.
1611 J Street
Springfield, OR 97477