Pediatric dentists are dental professionals who focus on childrens oral health and development. They complete four years of dental school like a general dentist and then go on to two additional years of specialized training for pediatric patients.
They also specialize in treating the teeth and gums of infants, children, adolescents and patients with special needs.
Unlike family dentists, who typically treat children in the tween to teen range, pediatric dentists have the expertise and patience needed to treat young patients in a fun and child-friendly environment. They will explain the importance of a healthy smile and help your child develop good oral hygiene habits to ensure they are on the right track for a lifetime of excellent dental health.
Their training focuses on the unique needs of kids and adolescents, from the very first tooth to the full set of adult teeth. This means they are well versed in issues such as the relationship between a toddlers diet and their teeths growth, how to educate parents on good home dental care habits and even updates on the latest diagnostic procedures that can help your child get an early start on their oral health journey.
A pediatric dentists primary goal is to make a childs visit as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. They use a variety of techniques to calm and ease the fears of their patients. These include positive reinforcement, tell-show-do and using a friendly tone that helps them build trust and demystify the appointment.
They are experts in understanding and managing the physical, emotional and cognitive challenges that children experience in their oral health care routines. Their focus on a patients entire body allows them to understand their patients needs better than any other dental professional, making them a more effective partner in creating a lasting and healthy smile for your child.
In addition, they are trained to recognize signs of a childs special needs and work with other providers to support your childs treatment. For example, if you have a child with a disability or developmental challenge, the childs pediatric dentist can work with your childs other healthcare providers to coordinate a plan for their health care.
The best way to help your child develop a lifelong habit of regular visits to the dentist is to take them in as soon as their first tooth appears. This is because baby teeth are more susceptible to decay and disease than their adult counterparts, so you can prevent serious dental problems from occurring before they happen by visiting a pediatric dentist as soon as your childs first tooth comes in.
One of the biggest challenges pediatric dentists face is dealing with anxiety and stress from children who do not feel comfortable at the dental office. They are trained to use calming techniques that help kids relax and get the attention they need to feel safe and confident in their dental care.
When a child becomes anxious about a routine visit to the dentist, it can have serious implications for their long-term dental health. Thats why a pediatric dentist will help your child understand the benefits of a regular dental checkup in a way that they can understand, and then reassure them that their oral health is important to them.