Everyone in your family needs to see a dentist. For new parents, though, the question arises of where to find the right dentist for their child. There also may come a time to move, in which a child needs to switch dentists. In order to pick the right dentist for your child, and in order to make sure they get the care they need, it’s important to understand what pediatric dentistry is. From there, you can decide on the right time to take your child to the dentist, as well as what dentist is best for your child and your family.
What Is Pediatric Dentistry?
Pediatric dentistry is the field of dentistry that involves oral health services for children. Pediatric dentists specialize in the care of primary teeth, but are also able to provide support for adult teeth as they begin to emerge. Actually, pediatric dentists sometimes take patients up until the age of 18. This allows patients to maintain the same dentist throughout their entire childhood.
When Your Child Should Start Seeing a Pediatric Dentist
It’s important for your child to start seeing a dentist early on, to ensure the proper development of their teeth. A child should see a pediatric dentist by the age of 1 at the latest. If you are at all concerned about the teething process, make sure to schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist for them to look at your child’s teeth.
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What Is the Difference Between a Family and Pediatric Dentist?
While some parents decide to go with separate dentists for their children and themselves, there are also dentists that are able to care for patients of all ages. These dentists are known as “family dentists.” Family dentists care for patients that range from early childhood into later adult years. A family dentist allows patients to see the same dentist throughout a good portion of their lives. It also can make it easier for a family when it comes to billing and records.
Pediatric dentists, on the other hand, specialize in the treatment of children alone. This additional level of expertise often gives parents peace of mind knowing that their child is being cared for by a dentist that sees children all day, every day. Pediatric dentists are also good with children, and know how to interact with children in a way that keeps them calm and unafraid.
Like with any medical professional, some pediatric and family dentists are easier to work with than others. Make sure to find a dentist that is friendly, knowledgeable and accustomed to working with children in order to make sure your children receive the best care possible.
Finding the Right Pediatric Dentist
Finding the right pediatric dentist is extremely important. Unless you move, there is a good likelihood that you’ll be taking your child to the same pediatric dentist for their entire childhood. Because of this, you’ll want to pick the right dentist for your child.
There are a few considerations for finding the right pediatric dentist. One thing you’ll want to consider is the dentist’s qualification to work with children. While some dentists offer pediatric services, they may work primarily with adults. You’ll want to make sure to find a dentist that gets a lot of practice not only working on the teeth of children, but also being able to work with their demeanor. You’ll also want to consider asking friends and family members with children where they take their children. You may find an excellent pediatric dentist from a referral from someone that you trust.
However you find your pediatric or family dentist, make sure they are the right fit. Taking your child to a dentist once isn’t a permanent decision. If you don’t like the experience, continue to shop around for the perfect dentist.
Just like with adults, there are a range of services that fall under the umbrella of “pediatric services.” Some common pediatric services are discussed below:
In order to ensure your child’s ongoing oral health (and the health of every member of the family), it’s important to take them in for cleanings every six months. During these cleanings, the family or pediatric dentist will be able to provide a professional cleaning—removing any debris, plaque and tartar. They do this with special tools that allow for a more comprehensive cleaning than your child can perform at home.
Especially for children, regular checkups every six months are extremely important. Children have teeth that are erupting, and a dentist will need to make sure that the teeth are erupting properly. It is also common for children to develop certain oral health issues that need to be treated as soon as possible. With regular checkups, a dentist can diagnose and treat oral health issues quickly and effectively.
Fillings and Cavity Treatment
Many people get cavities, and they are nothing to be too worried about. As long as the cavities are caught early during a routine checkup, they can be treated with little worry. Cavities are essentially tooth decay that has eaten away a portion of a tooth. A pediatric dentist will clean away the decay, and then fill the damaged portion of the tooth with a filling. Fillings are very often covered at least partially by dental insurance.
Deep Cleanings (Scaling and Root Planing)
Sometimes plaque, debris and tartar makes its way below the gumline. When this happens, gum disease may occur. For the treatment of gum disease, a dentist will need to perform a deep cleaning (also referred to as a “scaling and root planing”). During this procedure, the dentist will use special tools to clean at and below the gumline—allowing the gums to heal. While this process is simple, it can be scary to some children. An excellent pediatric dentist, though, will help to keep your child calm, and reduce fear.