What Is Pediatric Dentistry?
Pediatric dentists specialize in caring for children’s teeth, gums, and general oral health from infancy to adolescence. They receive two years of specialized residency training to help them understand the unique needs of infants, children, and teens. Most pediatric dentists are certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, and all of them are trained to help provide a child-friendly atmosphere that helps to keep kids comfortable and reduce problems with dental anxiety.
Why Every Child Should Visit a Pediatric Dentist
All children should visit pediatric dentists starting from soon after the moment their baby teeth first erupt. Failing to provide proper dental care to kids can leave them facing cavities, gum disease, and other serious dental issues that can go on to cause pain and complications long into adulthood.
There are plenty of family dentists who treat children. However, not all family dentists are board-certified, and most don’t provide specialized care. Instead of specializing in treating kids, they take patients of all ages, from childhood through old age. When taking a child to a family dental clinic, make sure at least one of the dentists on staff is a pedodontist.
Common Types of Procedures Performed by Pediatric Dentists
Pediatric dentists receive all the same training as ordinary family dentists, so they can provide a full range of oral health care. There are, however, a few areas where pediatric dentists truly excel over their less specialized peers. Parents often take their kids to pediatric dentists for:
Infant Oral Health Exams
Infant oral health exams should occur as soon as a baby begins to develop his or her first tooth. During this initial visit, the dentist will perform a risk assessment for both the infant and his or her mother.
Preventive Dental Care
Preventive dental care for children involves more than just routine dental cleanings. Pedodontists also provide fluoride treatments and nutrition recommendations that target children’s unique dental needs.
Developing good dental habits is about more than just teaching kids how to brush and floss. Pediatric dentists often counsel parents about issues like excessive thumb sucking and pacifier use, as well.
Early Orthodontic Assessments
Though children are generally referred to orthodontists for specialized care, a pediatric dentist is usually the first person to identify issues like crooked teeth and improper bites. Once they have identified potential problems, pedodontists can treat some of them right in their clinics. If a child has more serious issues with tooth or jaw alignment, the dentist will refer the family to a pediatric orthodontist.
Basic Tooth Repairs
Cavities are extremely common in children, and parents should always take them seriously. Don’t assume that cavities and other defects don’t matter because they’re forming in primary teeth. Tooth decay and damage can still be quite painful if left unaddressed and it can contribute to other potentially serious oral health issues. Pediatric dentists are experts at filling cavities even in the tiniest primary teeth.
Diagnosis of Oral Conditions
Some oral health conditions are linked with general health concerns. Pediatric dentists can perform assessments that allow them to identify potential general health problems that are likely to develop during childhood, such as:
- Hay fever
- Congenital heart defects
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
Management of Gum Conditions
Pediatric dentists don’t just care for children’s teeth. They also focus on gum health. These experts can identify and treat many oral health conditions that extend beyond the teeth, including ulcers, mucoceles, short frenulum, and periodontal disease.
Care for Dental Injuries
Children are more prone to dental injuries than their parents. Issues like fractured, displaced, or even completely knocked-out teeth are surprisingly common. Pediatric dentists can provide care for all of these issues, and more.
Common Pediatric Dental Problems
Many common dental problems begin earlier in people’s lives than parents think, and some are unique to childhood. There’s a reason experts recommend taking infants to visit pediatric dentists as soon as they start developing teeth. It allows dentists to provide education to parents and identify potential problems such as:
- Baby bottle decay
- Pediatric gum disease
- Oral habits like thumb sucking that could cause problems later down the line
Parents should never assume that baby teeth are less important than adult teeth. Children’s primary teeth allow them to chew, learn proper speech patterns, and develop healthy jawbones and muscles. If children lose their primary teeth early, it can leave permanent teeth coming in crooked or crowded, and primary tooth decay can spread to new, permanent teeth.
How to Prepare for a Pediatric Dentist Appointment
Some kids, and some parents, worry more about dental appointments than others. Parents who want to encourage their children to feel comfortable with visits to the dentist should take the time to prepare them in advance. Follow these tips to maximize the child’s comfort before and during the appointment:
- Stay positive
- Read books about dental visits
- Play dentist-related games
- Use positive reinforcement
- Bring the child’s favorite toy to the appointment
Why Trust Rincon Family Dentistry?
Rincon Family Dentistry is a family dental practice that provides a child- and family-friendly environment for patients of all ages. Dr. Brock Boudreaux, the clinic’s primary dentist, has plenty of experience working with children. In fact, he has two beautiful daughters of his own, and Dr. Boudreaux gives every pediatric patient the same care and attention he would want for his own daughters.
Rincon Family Dentistry’s pediatric team is committed to helping children learn and implement healthy oral hygiene habits. They don’t stop at offering preventive and restorative care. At each visit, parents will also be encouraged to explore the clinic’s many educational resources for improving oral hygiene and nutritional habits at home and to ask any questions they may have.
When parents take their children to Rincon Family Dentistry, they can rest easy knowing their kids’ dental health will be in good hands. Plus, patients who age out of the pediatric program can continue to receive family dentistry services at the same clinic they have grown to know and love.
Schedule an Appointment Today
Whether parents have questions about how to care for their infants’ gums before tooth eruption or they need to find new dentists for their teenage kids after moving in from out of town, Rincon Family Dentistry has them covered. Browse the website to find out more about this unique family and pediatric dentistry clinic or call (520) 297-7263 to schedule an appointment today. Rincon Family Dentistry takes most insurance plans and offers savings and financing plans for qualified patients, so don’t delay. Call today.