If you have not taken your child to the pediatric dentist, now is the right time to go. A first visit can be intimidating to the child and to you as the parent. Fortunately, if you prepare yourself, you and your child can feel comfortable during the appointment. There are certain key steps that will…
What You Need to Know About Pediatric Dentists
A child’s oral health, from early infancy through the teen years, is generally handled by a pediatric dentist. The construction of the mouth, gums, and teeth are important areas of concern and differ in many ways from an adult. A dentist who deals with children will understand and address the challenges that can plague healthy growth and development. Concerns with decay and oral disease in children need to be addressed in order to prevent possible long-term damage throughout the adult years.
Treatments provided through pediatric dentistry
A child’s teeth begin to break through the gums around six months of age, and a few years later, these teeth are lost and replaced by permanent teeth. Oral health concerns with cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss are just a few of the issues that can occur during childhood, and while similar to dental conditions found in adults, treatment for these issues can look different in children. Dentists familiar with the growth process in children are able to prescribe the right corrective processes.
Oral health care for children includes:
- Oral health exams in infants
- Assessment for risk of cavities in both mother and child
- Preventative oral health care such as cleaning and fluoride treatment
- Nutritional and habit counseling for the healthy development of teeth and gums
- Early diagnosis of disease-related oral health conditions
- Assessment and intervention in improper bite, gum disease, and alignment concerns
- Corrective action for cavities or other tooth defects
Dental concerns noticed by a pediatric dentist
In addition to promoting strong habits to support oral health, dentists who work with children also address dental problems. Children and adolescents are included in the pediatric category, and there are some common dental-related issues noticed between both groups.
Unless carefully supervised, many children do not brush or floss regularly and thoroughly. This leads to an accumulation of plaque that eats away at the tooth enamel and creates a cavity. Sugar-heavy diets and poor nutrition contribute to cavity formation, and dentists may treat this condition with a filling or extraction.
Children can deal with tooth sensitivity, an uncomfortable condition that can impact the ability to eat or focus. A dentist can determine the factors causing sensitivity and prescribe a treatment to minimize discomfort and support strong teeth.
Gingivitis can affect pediatric patients, and any swelling or bleeding of the gums during brushing and flossing can indicate this condition. Dental treatments can address the disease, but parents are also instructed to prioritize brushing and flossing.
Children and teens can have teeth chipped, cracked, or knocked out from an active lifestyle or accident. A dentist may be able to work with the tooth to prevent further damage or loss.
For many dentists, the goal is to instruct patients in preventative habits and good oral hygiene so they avoid developing serious oral health concerns. Children rely on the input of parents or guardians to provide guidance for good brushing and flossing routines, and regular visits to a pediatric dentist can ensure that the right techniques or habits are being established.
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