Pediatric Dentistry

Oral health is important for all adults, but it’s especially vital for kids. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to help children create good habits that will last a lifetime.

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Pediatric dentistry is one of ten dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. They have specialized training that focuses on working with infants, kids and teenagers.

Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is a key component of overall health as it helps keep germs away from other parts of the body and ensures teeth and gums are healthy. Practicing consistent dental care is essential for all ages, but especially important for children as they’re growing and developing. Pediatric dentists work to help kids establish good oral care habits that will last them a lifetime.

Kids are notoriously hard to get to listen and will often fight tooth brushing or flossing, but it’s vital to set them up for success from an early age. Starting when their first primary “baby” teeth begin to erupt between the ages of six and twelve months is the best time to start developing a regular dental routine.

It’s also a great idea to introduce kids to their dentist, making it fun and encouraging them to come visit regularly. Visiting the dentist can be stressful for some children, but pediatric dentists are specially trained to provide patients with a comfortable experience and help alleviate any fears or concerns.

A pediatric dentist is a licensed dental professional that specializes in working with infants, children and teens of all ages as well as those who have special needs. Those who are interested in becoming a pediatric dentist need to first complete a bachelor’s degree, then spend four years at a dental school where they’ll earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine.

Prevention

Visiting a pediatric dentist helps prevent tooth decay and other dental conditions. They help teach children and parents the importance of a good oral hygiene routine. They also provide in-office preventive treatments such as fluoride treatments and dental sealants, which are placed on newly erupted permanent molars to fill in the pits and crevices where food particles can become trapped. They also prescribe mouth guards for kids who participate in sports to protect their teeth from injuries.

Tooth decay is the leading cause of tooth loss among kids and adults. It can be prevented by eating a balanced diet, embarking on a regular home oral care routine, and visiting the dentist biannually.

Pediatric dentists are specially trained in detecting and treating childhood cavities. They are more likely to find problems like gum disease in kids, which can lead to serious health and dental issues if left untreated. They are also better equipped to clean beneath a child’s gum line, which is where most plaque and bacteria reside.

Kids and teens often develop bad habits such as thumb sucking and teeth grinding. A pediatric dentist is best positioned to help them break these habits, as they are skilled in working with kids of all ages and can be patient and gentle while doing so. They are also able to explain the consequences of these habits to kids in ways they can understand, making it easier for them to change their behavior.

Treatment

Children require different care from adults in order to ensure healthy teeth and gums. Pediatric dentists are trained to provide the dental care that meets a child’s specific needs, from infancy through their teenage years. This includes preventive dental services, such as cleanings and fluoride treatments, as well as treatment for oral diseases, such as tooth decay and gingivitis.

Oral health problems in children often have long term consequences if they are left untreated. Preventative dentistry helps to identify problems in the earliest stages, when they are often less costly and easier to treat. This type of dentistry also promotes good dental habits that will last a lifetime.

The pediatric dentist’s primary responsibility is to teach patients and their parents proper oral hygiene. This includes regular brushing, flossing and use of mouthwash. In addition, the pediatric dentist can offer advice on diet, thumb-sucking, proper nutrition and other issues that affect a child’s dental health.

The pediatric dentist can perform many of the same procedures as the adult dentist, including fillings, crowns and root canals. However, pediatric dentistry uses smaller instruments that are designed for a child’s mouth. These tools are more comfortable for the child and allow for a faster, more accurate procedure. The pediatric dentist can also recommend dental sealants and other preventive measures that will help protect a child’s teeth.

Diagnosis

Besides dental care, Pediatric dentists also diagnose and treat children’s oral diseases. In addition, they educate parents and children about good oral health habits. They are specially trained to work with children and can help them overcome fear and anxiety about dental visits. They are also able to deal with behavioral issues, such as thumb sucking and teeth grinding.

The first step is to evaluate the child’s overall health. The dentist examines the infant, child and adolescent to determine if there are any conditions that need to be addressed. A dental history is taken, and the dentist checks for a malocclusion (bad bite) and other problems, such as an increased susceptibility to gingivitis or injuries to the mouth and jaw.

X-rays are not usually required for this age group, but may be recommended to detect problems that cannot be seen visually. For children with a high risk of developing cavities, fluoride treatments and sealants may be recommended to prevent tooth decay. In the case of a cavity, the dentist can repair the damaged tooth with fillings or crowns. In severe cases, a root canal treatment can be performed. Pediatric dentists are able to use sedation and general anesthesia to treat kids who require it. This is because they have undergone two to three years of additional training after completing their dental school education.