Pediatric dentistry focuses on providing dental care for children ranging from toddlers to teenagers. Since the American Dental Association (ADA) has categorized pediatric dentistry as a specialty in the dental field, dentists are required to get at least two years of extra training once they get their dentistry degree. After the training is complete, pediatric dentists get a special diploma from the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD) to show they have the knowledge necessary to provide dental care to children.
Some dentists who specialize in pediatric dentistry opt to get further training so they can provide dental care for children who have special needs, such as autism, cerebral palsy or mental delays. But regardless of which children pediatric dentists end up caring for, they all typically strive to create a fun, friendly atmosphere in their office so young patients are not intimidated during their dental visits. Experienced pediatric dentists may even banish certain words from their vocabulary, such as “drill” or “shot,” as these terms can scare children and lead to dental phobias that last a lifetime.
What Do Pediatric Dentists Do for Their Young Patients?
The job of a pediatric dentist is to introduce children to the important concept of oral hygiene. Their goal is to help young patients start taking care of their baby teeth early on in the hopes that these good dental habits will continue into adulthood. More specifically, pediatric dentists do the following:
Pediatric dentists often use age-appropriate tactics to educate children about dental health. They might use smiling stuffed animals and large plastic teeth to show children how to brush and floss, and some even use child-friendly apps on phones or tablets to illustrate how common dental procedures work. Pediatric dentists also need to explain these issues to parents in slightly different terms, ensuring everyone understands how to prevent dental problems, encourage good eating habits and oral hygiene.
Prevent Dental Problems
Once parents and children have the correct knowledge on how to avoid dental issues at home, pediatric dentists need to provide preventive tactics in the office. These typically include regular checkups and teeth cleanings, along with fluoride treatments and sealants as needed.
Provide Early Oral Treatment
For some patients, there’s already tooth damage before the first dental checkup. Others go years before needing any oral care. Either way, it’s the job of pediatric dentists to diagnose and treat dental issues in children. If patients have had an oral injury, have a bad bite or grind their teeth, they may need to be treated with surgery, space maintainers or a mouth guard.
If you have questions or concerns about pediatric dentistry, please contact our office.
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