Pediatric dentists, or pedodontists, are dentists who specialize in the dental needs of children from the time they are infants until they reach adulthood. Pediatric dentists have two to three years of additional education that focus on child psychology. This gives pedodontists the skills necessary to communicate with children in an effective manner while still being gentle and non-threatening.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, or AAPD, recommends pediatric dental visits begin roughly six months after the initial tooth eruption. Subsequent visits should be every six months, unless a need arises for more frequent exams.
Pediatric dental visits should be scheduled for any and all of the following issues:
- To learn about beginning an oral hygiene routine at home
- To find out whether or not a child is high risk for cavities
- To learn how to stop unwanted oral behaviors like thumb sucking
- For the child to receive preventative treatments like fluoride varnish and dental sealants
- For updates on how the child’s teeth and mouth are growing and to track development
- To ask questions about any issues or concerns
In order to begin a healthy oral care routine for life, pediatric dental offices intentionally make the atmosphere fun, light-hearted, and friendly. When children learn early on that dentists are nice people who care about children’s mouths and teeth, they are more likely to develop positive, lifelong brushing habits.
Forms of Pediatric Dental Care
There are several ways in which pediatric dentists address oral hygiene and dental care. They are all equally important and must be followed through at home as part of a daily routine.
Tooth decay, or cavities, is one of the most common childhood medical problems. It is preventable, however, when an oral hygiene routine is followed at home, and scheduled treatments are applied at the dentist office. Fluoride treatments and dental sealants both provide excellent protection from bacteria, as well, and should be done regularly.
Regular exams, X-rays, and continuing advances in medical technology allow pediatric dentists to detect early onset issues and address them before they become serious problems. This includes issues relating to overbites and underbites, teeth grinding, and other bone developmental issues. The sooner these conditions are addressed, the better the long-term prognosis.
When more serious problems do arise, it’s important to address them immediately. Various types of oral trauma can be treated with pulp therapy or dental mechanisms to enable healing and proper regrowth as necessary.
Educating children is essential to any dental hygiene regimen. The better a child understands the purpose of things like brushing and flossing, the more likely they are to care about their oral health and stick to routines. Education can also include sharing information with the parent in terms of making recommendations about dental implements, ending oral fixations, and addressing other related concerns.
Pediatric dentists stay well informed about the latest advances in dentistry and can often offer alternatives to common problems. By continuing regular check-ups, your child will always have the most up to date preventions and treatments.
If you have been searching for a board certified pediatric dentist in the Chilo Hills area, call us or request an appointment online. We would be happy to discuss your child’s dental needs.