From the moment a baby’s first tooth erupts or by the time they reach their first birthday, experts at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend parents take their little one in for a dental appointment. Starting dental checkups early and often is the best way to set your child up for success when it comes to oral health, but it isn’t always easy to take a child to the dentist.
Fortunately for parents everywhere, pediatric dentists are specially trained to work with kids. Not only will they be able to spot any dental problems that could lead to tooth decay or gum disease, but they will also make sure your child has a pleasant experience at the dentist so they will be able to take care of their own dental hygiene for years to come.
What is a Pediatric Dentist?
Pediatric dentists are dentists who specialize in treating kids from the time they are babies up until they reach adulthood. What sets pediatric dentists apart from other dentists is that they undergo an additional two to three years of child-specific training during which they learn about child development, pharmacology for children, child psychology, and other essential topics that enable them to work well with kids.
Pediatric dentists provide their young patients with comprehensive oral health care using tools that are specially designed for children’s mouths and teeth. Some of the main services they provide include:
- Teeth cleanings
- Flouride treatments
- Dental exams
- Dental X-rays
- Repair for dental injuries
- Fillings for cavities
- Tooth extractions
- Root canals
In addition to the general dental care they provide for children, pediatric dentists also offer other special services that help parents better navigate their children’s dental health and help kids feel comfortable as they learn how to take care of their own teeth.
Benefits of a Pediatric Dentist
A huge benefit of child dentistry is that pediatric dentists will go the extra mile to teach parents how to properly care for their kid’s teeth. From the time they are little babies and their first tooth appears to the moment their adult teeth start to come in, a pediatric dentist will walk parents through how to address their child’s oral health throughout the entire process of oral development.
They will describe what foods are particularly bad for children’s teeth and signs parents should look out for to know if something is wrong with their little one’s mouth, gums, or teeth.
Pediatric dentists will be the first to advise parents about when their child will need to seek orthodontic treatment in order to correct crooked teeth or a problem with their bite. They also provide habit counseling for children who are not able to transition out of thumb-sucking or using a pacifier.
When it comes to the kids, pediatric dentists and their dental assistants understand that kids might be scared or anxious when they come in for an appointment. Consequently, they take steps to make sure children feel comfortable through patience, kindness, and kid-friendly environments that are inviting and fun.
Building Healthy Oral Habits
For children and adults alike, regular dental appointments play an extremely important role in avoiding dental emergencies and maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Pediatric dentists in particular work hard to both keep kids calm as they take their first steps in the world of dentistry and educate parents so their children can build healthy oral habits that last a lifetime.