Many people may not realize that there is a difference between general dentists and pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists have completed dental school and then undertaken an additional 2-3 years of training specifically in treating children. This includes not only clinical pediatric training, but child psychology as well to enable the most effective communication with children. The additional years of schooling make pediatric dentists uniquely qualified to oversee your child’s oral development and provide top notch health care in a gentle and effective manner.
The Role of a Pediatric Dentist
Pediatric dentists often have fun offices, designed to make children feel safe and comfortable while receiving treatment. It is the role of the pediatric dentist to be a calm and trusting figure while providing keys aspects to dental health including prevention, detection, treatment, and education.
Preventing tooth decay is an immensely important role of any dentist, and pediatric dentists are no exception. Children require first, education on the proper ways to brush and floss. Proper education will help prevent cavities their whole life. Pediatric dentists will also be able to apply sealants and fluoride treatments to further protect teeth. While some children may be genetically predisposed to a higher risk of cavities, seeing a pediatric dentist regularly will help protect enamel.
Sister to prevention is early detection of future problems. X-rays, computer modeling, and physical examinations will help determine if a child has a bite problem (malocclusion), physical irregularity of the jaw, or issues associated with grinding. If these problems are caught early, treatment may be easier and take less time for corrections.
Treatment goes beyond preventive treatments already mentioned. Pediatric dentists can perform pulp therapies and treat oral trauma in children. They may also perform some orthodontic type treatment like maintaining space for future teeth. If primary teeth are lost early, space maintenance becomes important to ensure permanent teeth erupt in the proper place and do not grow misaligned. They can also provide treatments for child specific behaviors that may affect the teeth like thumb sucking.
Maintaining a Schedule
Whether you choose to take your child to a general dentist or pediatric dentist, it’s most important to make sure your child sees the dentist regularly starting at about age 1. Starting children young and maintaining a set schedule will help them become acclimated to the dental environment as well as instilling a sense of importance when it comes to their own oral health. Children will learn to see the dentist as a friendly figure who is helping them be their healthiest instead of someone scary who only causes pain!