Pediatric dentistry is a specialty that focuses exclusively on children from birth to adolescence. All dentists who practice pediatric dentistry have completed up to three years of additional coursework and internships after receiving a degree in general dentistry. Some dentists for children choose further specialization by working with young patients who have a variety of special health and behavioral needs.
Specific Functions of a Pediatric Dentist
Pediatric dentists play a vital role in helping children develop good oral hygiene skills to last for a lifetime. This starts with teaching young patients how to care properly for their baby teeth, which are officially called the deciduous teeth. Even though all of these teeth eventually fall out, they allow the child to form appropriate chewing habits as well as aid in the production of speech sounds. Additionally, they provide space for the permanent teeth to grow in later.
Parents depend on pediatric dentists to help them care for their children’s teeth until they are mature enough to do so by themselves. Some of the specific services that pediatric dentists provide include the following.
Patient and Parent Education: Dentists specializing in treating children explain what they are going to do using a variety of visual aids. These may include models of teeth, drawings, and computer software programs. They also speak in terms that the child can understand while explaining more complex terms to parents. Pediatric dentists educate parents about how to instill good eating habits, prevent disease and trauma, and how to instruct their child on brushing and flossing techniques at home.
Proactive Monitoring: Pediatric dentists track each child’s growth and development as well as his or her oral health at each appointment. This allows them to diagnose and treat minor dental issues before they become major health problems. Research bears out the fact that implementing earlier corrective treatment procedures allows kids to retain their self-esteem and develop an ongoing positive self-image as they move towards adulthood.
Preventive Care: By educating young patients and their parents about the importance of good eating and oral care habits, pediatric dentists help to reduce the chance of them developing cavities later on. Regular check-ups and dental cleanings help to ensure the best possible oral hygiene outcome. Pediatric dentists may also apply topical fluoride or dental sealants to teeth that appear in danger of eventual decay. They work with parents to help deal with issues such as pacifier use and thumb sucking that may disrupt the proper development of baby teeth.
Early Intervention: When a pediatric dentist notices teeth grinding, an overbite, or poor tooth alignment, he or she may suggest a dental appliance to help resolve the problem. They also treat oral injuries.
We’re Here to Help
The staff at Healthy Smiles of LaGrange recognizes that children are not mini-adults and therefore require a different approach to dental treatment. This starts with using child-friendly terms to describe equipment and procedures rather than words that might frighten them such as drill, needle, or injection. At the same time, we never talk down to children. We respect that they may feel afraid about visiting the dentist and do everything we can to help them feel comfortable. Because dental phobias that start in childhood tend to carry over into adulthood, helping kids feel at ease is essential. Please contact our office to schedule your child’s appointment or to learn more about our pediatric dentistry services.