Pediatric dentistry is one of the nine recognized dental specialties of the American Dental Association. Pediatric dentists complete two to three years of additional specialized training (after the required four years of dental school) to prepare them for treating a variety of children’s dental problems. According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, the child’s first dentist visit should be scheduled in infancy. The goal is to begin forming positive oral habits as soon as possible and maintain them throughout a lifetime.
The staff at a pediatric dental practice is specially trained to introduce the child into the world of healthy oral care without any anxiety or fear. At the time of the first dentist visit, a comprehensive exam is performed in addition to consultation with the parents regarding nutritional choices and alleviation of detrimental oral habits. The patient’s medical history and any genetic predispositions are reviewed and taken into consideration when creating a treatment plan. Early detection of oral diseases will prevent untimely tooth loss and create a good relationship between the patient and dental provider.
Once the child starts to develop the primary dentition, the parent will play a major role in the child’s daily oral care. A routine hygiene regimen will help the patient develop a positive attitude toward oral health. Children learn by example and need constant encouragement from their parents to form confidence and trust. Positive reinforcement of the beneficial aspects of oral care and regular dental visits should become a part of the daily routine at home.
During the developmental stages of the dentition, unwanted oral habits may hinder proper growth of facial features and ultimately impact the speech patterns and line of occlusion leading to improper mastication. Thumb sucking and untimely tooth loss, due to rampant caries, is the main cause of incorrect dental growth with severe discrepancies affecting both gingival and bone structures. The pediatric dentist is equipped to provide several preventive options to help the patient cease the undesirable habits and restore proper function of the mouth. Medically challenged patients can benefit from the expertise of a pediatric dentist as well.
The pedodontic or pediatric dentist focuses on monitoring the patient’s oral care from infancy to adolescence. Individuals with good oral hygiene are scheduled for regular periodic exams and cleanings. Patients with genetic predispositions and health issues may be scheduled more often to ensure proper dental care. Patient education is always offered and reviewed at the time of each visit with the dentist or dental hygienist.
In summary, a pediatric dentist is a recognized primary oral health care provider and resource for specialty referral, and the best choice for dental care for children and adolescents. Please feel free to contact us for more information.