If you have children, it’s crucial you understand the role of pediatric dentistry for your child’s life. The decisions you make today will affect their oral health forever.
What is a Pediatric Dentist?
Pediatric dentists dedicate their time to focus solely on the well-being of children’s mouths. They see children ranging in ages from infancy through the teenage years. A pediatric dentist has specific qualifications and experience to deal with children’s gums, teeth and mouth concerns.
What Kind of Training Does a Pediatric Dentist Have?
Pediatric dentists require extra training. This includes:
· Four years in dental school
· Two to three additional years of dental residency training for infants, children and teens
The Importance of Regular Pediatric Dental Exams
Children start to get baby teeth when they are around six months old. By the time they reach six years old, they should begin losing their first set of teeth. This is replaced by the permanent teeth.
Without regular trips to the dentist and preventative care, children face tooth decay and oral diseases. Left untreated, they might face a lifetime of complications and pain. Today’s children face five times more dental cavities than they do asthma, so it’s important they receive bi-annual appointments for early prevention.
Preventative Care for Children
To fully protect your child from oral ailments, you must take the following steps:
· Help them brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
· Teach them to floss as soon as they have two teeth that touch.
· Ensure they receive adequate amounts of fluoridated water.
· Take them to see the dentist twice a year.
· Feed them a healthy diet with minimal amounts of sugar.
Dental care for your child should begin as soon as their first tooth emerges. In addition, the pediatric dentist also has preventative measures such as fluoride treatments and sealants to further encourage healthy tooth development for your child.
Pediatric Dental Treatments
Pediatric dentists offer numerous treatment options for your child. These include:
· Comprehensive oral health exams – includes risk assessment
· Preventative measures – includes fluoride treatments, cleaning and nutritional recommendations
· Habit counseling – helps with thumb sucking and pacifier usage
· Evaluation for orthodontic conditions – enables the child to have straighter teeth and a proper bite
· Repairs defects or cavities
· Diagnosis of other conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart defects, ADHD and hay fever
· Treatment of gum conditions or diseases such as a short frenulum, ulcers, periodontal disease and mucoceles
· Dental injury prevention and care – includes mouth guards, fractured and knocked-out teeth
Why You Want a Pediatric Dentist Instead of Your General Dentist
It’s important to know that all general dentists are trained to work with children. With that said, not all of them are comfortable doing so. If the general dentist works with lots of families, they might not have a problem taking young patients as well.
Some people find that their children respond better to the pediatric dentist instead. These professionals seem to have more experience dealing with the behavioral issues of the younger generation. They have the tools needed to calm fears and alleviate worry with ease. Pediatric dentists also receive training on handling patients with special needs, which make them a great resource if your child experiences ADHD or autism.
Pediatric dentists stay on top of the latest research in care for young mouths. This makes them better prepared to utilize the newest technologies and practices. They are always searching for new and innovative ways to handle the challenges for a child.
In addition, they have lots of educational materials and brochures geared toward the issues faced with a child’s oral care. Your pediatric dentist works closely with you to ensure that your child has a healthy, happy mouth into their future.
Where Do I Find A Pediatric Dentist?
If your dentist doesn’t specialize in pediatric dentistry, they should know a professional to recommend. Talk to them during your next dental exam for guidance and suggestions.
Make a Choice to Use a Pediatric Dentist
Think of your child as simply a small adult in training. Sure, they won’t always be cooperative or patient during a dental exam, but that’s why you see a pediatric dentist. They are equipped with all the tools needed to teach your child the proper way to care for their teeth. Their staff, office and supplies are all focused on providing the best possible care for your child while keeping them entertained and happy.
Because the pediatric dentist provides a wide array of treatments, your child will have everything they need for success. Taking care of your kid’s mouth, gums and teeth is their priority, so make sure you work with them to give your little one the best possible treatment.