Pediatric dentistry is an area of dentistry that specializes in treating the oral healthcare needs of children. Pediatric dentists provide regular checkups, cleanings and fluoride treatments, and overall oral treatment and care for children's teeth. Pediatric dentists also commonly apply sealants to children's teeth to prevent cavities. A pediatric dentist provides overall oral care for children, including treatment for:
- Teeth defects
- Dental injuries
- Gum disease
- Speech-related disorders
- Tongue tie (restricted frenulum)
- Oral conditions related to other diseases or underlying conditions
- Mouthguards for sports
Children may face dental concerns that are much less prevalent among adults, and they may experience them differently. A bad cavity, for example, could quickly destroy an otherwise healthy tooth in a child. A badly damaged tooth in a child could affect their speech development and overall sense of comfort and self-esteem. Our team understands the impact of oral health on child development, and they provide care according to each young person's unique needs.
Making an Appointment
Dental appointments for children are important not only to evaluate tooth and gum health but to educate them on preventing dental problems throughout their lives. According to studies, tooth decay is one of the most common diseases that children face today; and, it's preventable. Our dentists and assistants work against the bacteria that cause cavities by providing preventative exams and cleanings at regular intervals. When coupled with regular oral care performed at home, pediatric dentistry visits can help your child avoid the stress and discomfort of tooth decay and other dental problems.
Your First Pediatric Dental Visit
During a first dental visit, the pediatric dentist will examine the child's teeth for decay and other dental problems. As the dentist is performing their exam, they will move slowly and talk to the child in age-appropriate terms, explaining what they're doing and what instruments they are using. Focus is given to comfort and peace of mind. We understand that new experiences can be unnerving for young children and we make every effort to create positive rapport with our patients!
Your child's dentist may ask you about thumb-sucking or pacifier habits, and overall dental health. They will also discuss details about proper oral care, which includes brushing, flossing, and fluoride treatments. A follow-up visit is usually scheduled for six months later, beginning the dental maintenance process that will help to ensure good oral health throughout the child's life.
What is the Main Goal of Pediatric Dentistry?
There are two important goals that we strive to achieve when working with young children. The first is to prevent common dental conditions that are preventable. This includes cavities, gum disease, and other infections in the mouth. The secondary goal is to create a sense of ease around receiving dental exams and cleanings. Studies have shown that children who begin to see the dentist early, and who have good dental experiences, tend to develop good oral care habits that follow them into adulthood!
When should We Schedule Our Child’s First Visit to a Dentist?
A child should have her or his first dental exam about six months after the first tooth erupts, or no later than their first birthday. This may seem like a young age to start attending regular dental visits. However, the recommendation from the American Dental Association fits right in with oral development, speech development, and a child's growing sense of their environment. When you bring your child to the office for preventative care starting early in their life, they have more to gain. In the ideal scenario, routine dental visits can help a child avoid cavities and other painful concerns.
Why Should My Child See a Pediatric Dentist Instead of Our Regular Family Dentist?
A pediatric dentist can offer specialized oral care that a general dentist may not be able to. A pediatric dentist is trained in examining and treating children in an environment that has been designed to make them feel comfortable. While children face many of the same dental concerns as adults, their experiences may be entirely different. Our team uses language that makes more sense to children. With pediatric patients, we behave in ways that strongly support their sense of safety and comfort.
How Often Should My Child Visit the Dentist?
People of all ages, including children over the age of one year, should see the dentist every six months. This timing has been proven by scientific studies to be advantageous in the prevention of infection. When routine dental care occurs at this frequency of every six months, there is little chance of cavities progressing to the point of significant pain. When we maintain six-month recall visits, we're better able to catch potential problems when they require little intervention. This means less stress for the young patient, and for you as their caregiver!
Are Dental X-rays Important for a Pediatric Dentistry Visit?
Yes. Your dentist relies on x-ray images to observe areas that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Children may not have to have x-rays done at every visit. However, because their mouths are changing and developing relatively quickly, they may require x-rays more often than the average adult. X-rays allow your dentist to observe areas in which tooth decay may hide, the roots of teeth, the jawbone, and also the position of permanent teeth waiting to come in.