For most parents, nothing is more important than their children. If you are a parent, you must be going the extra mile to ensure your children’s welfare and health. This is especially true during the children’s formative years. You want to provide them with a strong foundation that sets them up for a fulfilling, healthy life.
You are probably taking care of all their diet and education. But how much attention do you give to their dental health? If you’re like most parents, then you probably take them to a local doctor or dentist only when they fall sick or develop a cavity problem.
Part of your responsibility as a parent is taking care of your child’s teeth. You must ensure that they are healthy and free from cavities. However, to ensure this, you and your child need to pay regular visits to the local pediatric dentist.
Who is a pediatric dentist? A pediatric dentist—also known as a pedodontist—is a dentist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of children’s dental problems from infancy to young adulthood.
Dedicated to children’s oral health, a pediatric dentist is qualified to take care of your child’s mouth, gums, and teeth throughout their childhood and teen years. Following is a more detailed look at pediatric dentists, what they do, the qualifications they have, and the services they offer. Additionally, we provide you with a list of the important things to consider when choosing a pediatric dentist.
What Is a Pediatric Dentist—Pediatric Dentistry Explained
Children start getting their baby teeth, a process known as teething, before they are 6 months old. Generally, these baby teeth are intact until the child reaches their 6th or 7th birthday. From this age onwards, the child’s baby teeth start to come off, only to be replaced with permanent teeth. If you are not careful about your child’s oral health, then they may develop serious dental problems such as oral decay and disease. These can result in a lifetime of pain and complications. The good news is that there is someone to take care of your child’s teeth for you—a pediatric dentist.
Being medical professionals with specialized qualifications, pediatric dentists cater to children who need general dental care or have special needs such as dental filling and emergency care. After graduating from dental school, pediatric dentists need to undertake two to three years of further training before they can practice their profession, ensuring that your children’s oral health is in safe hand.
Dentists that work closely with general dentist and pediatricians, pediatric dentists are recognized by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). Primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, pediatric dentists offer a wide range of treatment options as well as expertise and training for taking care of your child’s oral health. You can find out more about pediatric dentistry in the following section.
What Are the Services or Treatments Provided by a Pediatric Dentist?
With a pediatric dentist, your child’s oral health is in safe hand. This is because pediatric dentists offer comprehensive oral healthcare that includes the following:
Infant Oral Health Exams—Includes an assessment of risk for caries in mother and child
Pediatric Dental Exam—Comprehensive examination is carried out to determine the state of your child’s oral health and recommend/provide preventive measures
Preventive Dental Care—Fluoride treatments, dental cleaning, and diet/nutrition recommendations
Counseling on Habits—For sucking of the thumb, use of a pacifier, etc.
Initial Evaluation and Treatment—Performed for fixing or straightening teeth via orthodontics
Repairing—Includes repairing of defects or tooth cavities
Diagnosis of Oral Conditions—These are oral conditions associated with health problems such as hyperactivity disorder, hay fever, asthma, congenital heart defect, and diabetes
Gum Diseases Management—This includes the management of pediatric periodontal disease, mucoceles, and ulcers
Dental Injury Care—Dental emergency treatment, this includes care for dental injuries such as displaced, fractured, or broken teeth
At a pediatric dental exam, the dentist may perform the following procedures:
- A comprehensive dental examination that provides you with important information on taking care of your child’s teeth/oral health. The examination may also include cleaning, habit counseling, and fluoride treatments
- To increase protection for your child’s teeth, sealants may be recommended and applied
- The pediatric dentist may recommend a suitable treatment, such as space maintainers, extractions, crowns or fillings if cavities are found in your child’s teeth
- The potential need for orthodontic procedures may be determined using exams and X-rays
- Diagnosis and treatment of pediatric gum disease
With a pediatric dental exam, your child gets early and appropriate dental care. This can help prevent many oral health problems later in your child’s life.
Choosing the Right Pediatric Dentist—Some Things to Consider
So, now you know what pediatric dentists do and why they are critical for maintaining your child’s oral health. But how do you ensure a local pediatric dentist is right for your child? By looking for the following signs:
Education and Experience—Make sure that the pediatric dentist you choose for your child has the required qualifications and training as well as experience in providing the oral healthcare service that you seek for your child. Another thing to ensure is that the dentist is a licensed member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).
A Fun, Relaxing Environment—Make sure that visiting a pediatric dentist is not a frightening experience for your child. Make sure that the office of the pediatric dentist you choose is designed to be a bright, happy place that fulfills both the physical and psychological needs of children. More importantly, the dentist should be good with children and talk in a language they understand. After all, the comfort of your child is the most important thing!
When choosing a pediatric dentist, look for qualified and experienced pediatric dentists and a fun, relaxing environment. These ensure that your child walks out of our clinic happy and with a bright smile!