As important as it is to take care of our teeth as adults, dentistry for children is equally important, if not more. The American Academy of Pediatrics along with the American Dental Association state that parents should schedule their offspring’s visit to the dentist as soon as their first tooth erupts. This is usually around 6-8 months of age. The first visit should happen no later than the child’s first birthday.
Who Looks After Dentistry for Children?
Similar to how there are specialists for your child’s medical needs, aka pediatricians, there are specialists for your child’s dental needs. These are called pediatric dentists. These are like general dentists, but for your little one. They provide the diagnosis, preventive measures, and treatment for any ailments your child might have.
To become experts in the field, dentists undergo extra years of training to specialize under the umbrella of dentistry for children. The additional expertise makes them perfect to provide their services to the little ones.
There are multiple reasons why pediatric dentists are important for the welfare of your child’s dental health –
- Aside from ensuring good dental practices at home, most dental experts advise that visiting your child’s dentist is key to ensuring healthy teeth and gums. Pediatric dentists guide parents on how to take care of their child’s teeth while they’re too young to care for them themselves. This includes practices such as using your finger as a brush to clean the little one’s teeth as soon as they erupt.
- The milk teeth and the oral structures of a younger human are pretty different than those of an adult’s. Understandably, they also have separate dental needs. While general dentists can take care of your child, a pediatric dentist is more skillfully evolved to address them.
- Since the baby teeth eventually shed and are replaced by permanent teeth, they may sometimes be neglected. It is important to note that they are just as important as the teeth that come afterward. The primary teeth are essential in speech development, aside from the very basic task of chewing/eating. If in any case, they are lost early due to an injury or decay, they can lead to unnecessary space and eventually, developmental issues with the permanent teeth. Pediatric dentists provide the preventative and restorative treatments that prevent any problems.
- When children are exposed to the dentists’ office in their early years, this helps form long-lasting relationships and aids in preventing any anxieties the child might feel. This also inculcates good oral hygiene habits.
What Services Are Offered In Dentistry for Children?
Depending on how old your child is, the visits and/or treatment planning differs at the pediatric dentists’ office.
6 Months to 1 Year
The dentist might ask you to hold your child or place them on a table/examination chair.
- They will evaluate the oral cavity and the overall health of the child. They will enquire about their eating/drinking habits, and assess the risk of decay.
- Any deposits might be cleaned with a wet toothbrush or wet cloth. This is done by gently scrubbing.
- The dentist will show parents how to clean their child’s teeth regularly.
- They will assess fluoride intake through their diet and/or use of any hygiene products. If required, they might prescribe a supplement or apply a topical fluoride treatment on the child’s teeth.
- Examining the oral cavity also includes looking for any sores or bumps on the child’s tongue, palate, and the inner side of cheeks.
- Habits like pacifier and thumb sucking are checked to evaluate any impact they might have on the teeth.
Toddlers, school-going children, and adolescents
Continuous evaluation of the child’s teeth happens throughout their growing years. Treatments such as regular cleaning and habit assessment are constant.
- The dentist might take digital X-rays, should the need arise.
- Sealants might be applied to prevent teeth from decay.
- Cavity repair and any tooth defects might be addressed.
- Pre-orthodontic treatment may be initiated if the child presents signs of malocclusions. These can also include special mouthpieces to break any habits the child might have (thumb-sucking, nail-biting, etc.)
- Pediatric dentists also perform extractions if there is any indication.
- They also provide nutritional and behavioral counseling. Additionally, the counseling sessions include imparting knowledge about the health risks associated with any future habits such as smoking, chewing tobacco, consuming too many sugary drinks, etc.
What to Look for In Dentistry for Children
When it comes to dentistry for children, it is important to do your research and look for the following things –
- Ensure that the dentist you choose has the necessary qualifications and skill set to care for your child. A true professional will have no issues discussing their level of expertise to put your mind at ease.
- In pediatric dentistry, the clinic staff is as important as the dentist. In these clinics, the staff is well trained towards making little kids feel comfortable and at ease during their visit. Since children also have a pretty significant level of anxiety linked with visiting a dentist, a rude and detached staff only adds insult to injury. Rest assured, the team at Norwood dental knows how to care for both you and your little one.
- Along with the dental staff, the environment at the clinic also plays a huge role in making a child feel relaxed. Most clinics will stock up on books, toys, and videos to keep kids entertained while they’re waiting. Additionally, the interior décor might also be tailored to the little patients, and scary looking instruments are kept away from the child’s sight.
- But perhaps one of the most important things to look out for is how the dentist interacts with your child. Does the child feel safe and welcomed? Does the dentist connect with your child in a manner that they can understand? Does the dentist make you feel like family? These keys things are imperative to build a trustworthy and long-lasting relationship. If a child is comfortable with the dentist, they are more likely to get the necessary treatments done and listen to the dentist.
At Norwood Dental, we ensure that your child feels safe and leaves their visits with a huge smile. Contact 952 467 3518 to book your appointment today.