Pediatric Dentistry, formerly called Pedodontic Dentistry, is that part of the dental profession dealing with children of all ages. From the time a child’s first baby teeth break through the gums until the day they walk across the stage to receive their high school diploma, Children’s Dentistry should be part of the mix that ensures adequate oral health.
We should never assume that just because children have baby teeth (that will eventually be lost) that there is no need for dental care by a professional. In fact, quite the contrary is true. Early dental checkups are critical to the proper development of kids’ teeth. And how healthy the baby teeth are has a direct impact on how healthy the permanent teeth will be.
Often parents will incorrectly assume that even if a child does see a dentist in their first years that it needn’t be until the child is 6 or 7 years old. Again, this a mistake. The American diet, which is laced with sugars, provides a full frontal assault on the enamel of the baby teeth. Cavities come in all shapes and sizes and they come quickly in children because often their dental hygiene is not up to par. Disease issues like Bottle-Mouth (massive cavities that occur because of the long-term exposure to formula/milk sugars in a baby’s bottle) are not readily obvious. Early visits to a pediatric dentist would alleviate that threat. Your children’s dentist can make an early and critical difference in the health of your child’s teeth.
Teaching a child good dental hygiene practices are crucial as well. Part of the challenge, however, is finding a pediatric dentist who has the skill and the talent to make the experience fun and adventurous for the child. Some techniques involve gaming devices, toy gifts, and a dental staff that can identify with and communicates successfully with little kids. But if you can find an inventive children’s dentist that happily proclaims that he’s going to get rid of those silly cavity creeps that are trying to sting the little boys teeth, then you are on the right track. Imagination and invention work much better than the dentist who sternly tells the child to sit still or else! Many adults fall victim to dental phobias because their childhood dentist-induced trauma and fear into a procedure that tends to induce fear anyway.
That’s why you want to choose a dental office that specifically specializes in children. Other considerations are their anesthesia regiment. For instance, in the case of bottle mouth, a toddler will have to put out with a general anesthetic and you definitely want to deal with someone who has a good record of dealing with these sensitive considerations. Your children’s dentist will ensure that your child’s age and weight considerations are always part of their anesthesia considerations. They have no option otherwise.
It is very important to tour a children’s dental office before scheduling an appointment. One parent was impressed with an office until she asked if she could be next to her 4-year-old daughter while the dentist filled her cavity. When the office manager responded that they had a no parent policy, they went elsewhere. That’s why research is crucial. Call up your dental candidates and request to come down at a non-busy time for a tour. Ask as many questions as you can think of because only you as the parent can speak for your child. They have to know what considerations are critically important to you and your child. The only way to find that out is to call them up and ask them.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that a visit to a pediatric dentist should be scheduled within half a year from the time the child first starts teething. That means as soon as the first tooth breaks through the gum, you should start your investigations into finding the perfect children’s dentist for your child.