What is a Pediatric Dentist?
A pediatric dentist is trained in the care of children’s oral health. They typically treat children who are infants through the teenage years. Children normally begin to get teeth when they are six months old. Between the ages of six and seven, many children begin to lose their first set of teeth and grow in a second set that is permanent. A pediatric dentist has special qualifications in caring for children’s teeth, gums and mouth throughout all of these stages.
A pediatric dentist must complete:
- four years of dental school
- two to three years of pediatric dental training through a residency
Additionally, many pediatric dentists receive additional training in treating children with special needs, such as autism, anxiety or hyperactivity.
What Treatments are Typically Done by a Pediatric Dentist?
A children’s dentist can provide:
- oral exams for infants
- cleaning and fluoride treatments
- counseling on habits that may harm the teeth, such as thumb-sucking or the use of pacifiers
- assessment for teeth alignment and a referral to an orthodontist
- treatment for tooth decay
- correction of teeth injuries, such as teeth that have been knocked out or fractured
- diagnosis of oral conditions, such as gum disease or pediatric periodontal disease
At What Age Should My Child See a Pediatric Dentist?
Proper dental hygiene for children is a growing concern with tooth decay being five times more common in children than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Tooth decay can cause infections, pain and problems with proper tooth alignment.
Because of this, it is important to schedule regular visits with a children’s dentist. The American Dental Association recommends that a child’s first visit to the dentist occur as soon as their teeth being to grow in, between six and 12 months of age. An appointment from the local dentist office should be requested as soon as teeth begin to appear.
What Can I Expect from a First Appointment?
During the first visit, a child’s teeth, gums and mouth will be thoroughly examined. This exam may include taking x-rays. The child’s teeth will then be cleaned and a fluoride treatment may be applied to the teeth. The dentist can teach parents the best ways to clean the child’s teeth, remove plaque, give dental hygiene tips and answer any questions that parents may have about their child’s oral health.
A pediatric dentist will be able to provide specialized care for children of all ages. The local dentist office will be able to recommend a pediatric dentist that will give individual care for whatever the child may need.