Why See a Pediatric Dentist?
Pediatric dentists, or pedodontists, are dentists specially trained to treat infants, toddlers, school-age children, and adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) urges parents to take their children to see a pediatric dentist before the age of one, or around six months after their first tooth emerges. Biannual appointments with their pediatric dentist should be scheduled after as a preventative measure against childhood periodontal disease and orthodontic complications.
Unlike regular dentists who begin practicing straight out of dental school, pediatric dentists are required to undergo an additional two or three years of child-specific training. They are also often trained in child psychology. This training teaches them how to communicate with and treat children in a non-threatening, gentle, and effective manner.
Pediatric dental offices are also designed with children in mind. They are child-friendly, colorful, and fun and often have games or TVs throughout to put children at ease. Dental phobias can be rooted in childhood, so pediatric dentists understand that making the child feel safe and trusting at the dental office is key to a lifetime of positive dental visits and healthy teeth.
Pediatric dentists can offer children and their parents exceptional advice and guidance. Parents should take their child to a pediatric dentist to:
Discover how to begin a “no tears” oral care routine at home.
Ask questions about new or ongoing issues.
Find out whether the child is at risk for developing caries (cavities)
Find out how to implement oral injury prevention strategies at home.
Receive preventative treatments (fluorides and sealants).
Receive information about stopping unwanted oral habits (e.g., finger-sucking, etc.).
Receive reports about how the child’s jaws and teeth are developing.
What do pediatric dentists do?
Pediatric dentists focus on several forms of oral care during visits with their patients. These include:
Early detection – Pediatric dentists can use many early detection techniques such as thorough examinations, X-rays, and computer modeling to catch oral issues before they become serious problems. Grinding (bruxism), malocclusion (bad bite), and jaw irregularities are only some of the issues pediatric dentists can catch. Oftentimes, the best outcomes are achieved by starting treatment early.
Prevention – Tooth decay is the most prevalent ailment facing children, and it is also one of the most preventable. In addition to instructing parents and children on a proper home-care routine, pediatric dentists can provide professional cleanings and apply fluoride treatments and sealants that protect tooth enamel and minimize the child’s risk of cavities.
Treatment – Pediatric dentists offer a variety of treatments that range from preventative (fluoride and sealant applications) to trauma repair. Other common treatments include pulp therapy and creating space maintainers to promote alignment and proper jaw development.
Updates – Brooklyn dentists or pediatric dentists are kept up to date on the latest dental technologies and discoveries. They can offer new, state-of-the-art treatments and advice to patients. For example, a recent study on the naturally occurring sugar substitute Xylitol showed that it can play a role in protecting young teeth from harmful bacteria, cavities, and tooth decay. Children who do not regularly see a pediatric dentist will miss out on new, beneficial information.
Education – Similarly, pediatric dentists can offer children and their parents help and advice for every area of oral health. They can offer advice on diet, toothpaste selection, thumb-sucking cessation, and countless other areas of uncertainty. Education is a major part of any pediatric practice.
To express any questions or concerns you may have about when to take your child to see a pediatric dentist, please contact Brooklyn Dentist.