As a parent, your little one’s health is one of your primary concerns. You strive to provide them with nutritious food and a healthy living environment.
And while there are several aspects of their health that you need to consider, your child’s oral health should be one of your priorities.
To help you get started, this article will equip you with the necessary facts and information about pediatric dentistry.
What Is Pediatric Dentistry?
Pediatric dentistry is a branch of dentistry that specializes in dental care for kids. Pediatric dentists are also called pedodontists, who specialize in diagnosing and treating oral and dental issues in infants, kids, and teenagers.
They primarily focus on the unique dental issues that often develop in the teeth, gums, and jaws of a growing and developing child.
What Treatments Does A Pediatric Dentist Offer?
A pedodontist offers a whole host of dental and oral health care services specifically catered for children, from basic dental care to pediatric restorative dentistry. These include:
- Oral health exams (This often includes risk assessment for caries in both child and mother)
- Preventive dental care including fluoride treatments and teeth cleaning
- Habit counseling including nutrition and diet recommendations
- Repairing teeth problems including cavity removal and gum disease management
- Early assessment and treatment for an improper bite or crooked teeth
- Early diagnosis of oral conditions resulting from diseases such as asthma, diabetes, congenital heart defect, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity disorder, and hay fever among others
Early Pediatric Dentistry Consultation
Most parents think that their little ones only need to see a pediatric dentist once they get all of their teeth. However, experts recommend that your kid start seeing a dentist much earlier.
In general, your baby’s first dentist visit should be when they turn one year old or their first tooth erupts, whichever happens first.
Bringing your little one to the dentist as early as possible can help familiarize them with the process of visiting a dentist.
It also ensures that any potential dental issues and oral development problems are identified as early as possible.
General Dentists Vs. Pediatric Dentists
General or ‘family’ dentists aren’t the same as pediatric dentists. As mentioned previously, pediatric dentists specialize in treating children, whereas a general or family dentist treats patients of all ages.
In general, having a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree means that a dentist has completed four years of dental training and passed the state exam to practice as a general dentist.
However, pediatric dentistry requires an additional 2-3 years of ‘residency’ or training at an accredited institution.
This added schooling and experience allows pediatric dentists to gain more knowledge in oral development, orthodontics for kids, and child-specific dental surgeries.
In addition, during these extra years of education, pediatric dentists are trained on kids’ mental and psychological development, allowing them to properly handle and manage scared or frustrated kids, and keeping them as comfortable as possible.
The Concept Of Dental Home
The concept of dental home refers to the ongoing relationship between a dentist and a patient. Simply put, it refers to choosing a single pediatric dentist who will provide all your child’s general and preventive dental care and treatments as they grow.
Establishing a dental home for your kid can greatly help in relieving dental anxiety and making them more comfortable going to the dentist. It also ensures more frequent visits, and thus, improves overall oral health.
A dental home can ensure your kid’s comprehensive oral health care since they’ve been on top of your little one’s oral development from day one.
They may also offer a referral to a dental specialist when appropriate. In general, you should establish a dental home for your kid before they turn one.
Orthodontic Consultation Starting At 7
As with their first pediatric dental consultation, kids should have their first orthodontic consultation by the age of seven.
This may seem early, but it’s actually around this age that kids start to lose their baby teeth and adult teeth start to grow.
Thus, visiting a pediatric dentist around this time can help you catch up on potential issues with your little one’s smile and bite as early as possible.
A pediatric dentist can suggest orthodontic treatments that can help improve your kid’s oral development and minimize the need for long orthodontic treatments such as braces in the future.
And there you have it! We hope that these facts about pediatric dentistry have helped give you a leg up and stay on top of your kid’s oral health.
With the help of a reputable pediatric dentist, you can ensure that your little one can have a great smile and healthy chompers as they grow.