Everything You Need to Know About Pediatric Dental Care

Pediatric dental care is essential to keep your child’s oral health in tip-top shape from infancy through adolescent years.

A lot of parents mistake falling teeth as something not to be concerned about, which is why most of them take their children to general or family dentists. However, pediatric dentistry is a recognized, age-defined specialty in dentistry that – unlike general dentistry – caters specifically to children. This field includes areas and procedures in adult dentistry that are applicable to the distinct oral needs of children, especially concerning their primary teeth.

Pediatric dentists have the necessary qualification and experience to care for a child’s oral health throughout the different stages of childhood. Compared to adult dentists, these professionals apply the practice and understanding of well-grounded psychological principles to enable children to have positive experiences when taking care of their oral health. Thanks to the help of pediatric dentists, your children can develop oral care routines that lead to a lifetime of good oral health.

For you to understand how these professionals aid in the dental care that your child needs, here is what you should know about pediatric dental care.

Teething Problems

Teething can be uncomfortable and is usually accompanied by drooling, biting, lack of appetite, and swollen gums. These symptoms usually start 3 to 5 days before the new tooth comes out. The painful experience ends once the tooth breaks through a child’s gums.

The first primary tooth usually emerges when children are 4 to 7 months old – with the last one developing just before they turn three years old. Their primary teeth then start to fall out by the time they turn six or seven. During this time, their adult teeth (or secondary teeth) start to erupt and replace their primary teeth.

Although baby teeth do not seem important given their life cycle, it’s necessary to keep them healthy with proper pediatric dental care. Otherwise, your child may suffer tooth decay or other oral diseases that could disrupt their life in the long run.

Cavities are the most common oral disease during childhood. Experts estimate that more than half of children suffer from cavities early with their primary teeth. This infectious disease is seven times more common than hay fever and five times more common than asthma.

The good news is that cavities are preventable, thanks to the help of dental professionals known as pedodontists or pediatric dentists.

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric dentists are dental professionals who specialize in children’s oral health from infancy through teenage years. With their experience and training, they provide age-appropriate care and education to young children and adolescents with disabilities or special needs. To ensure the best care, they work closely with pediatricians and general dentists, who usually refer patients to their care.

These dental professionals diagnose and treat various types of dental problems in infants, children, and adolescents, specializing in unique dental issues concerning the gums, teeth, and jaw.

Other than that, pediatric dental care is also uniquely characterized by the application of behavioral science. While providing quality dental care, pediatric dentists also build trust and a positive relationship with the young patients and their parents.

Some specific tasks that they do include introducing a toddler to dentistry or caring for young patients with intellectual disabilities. Rather than perceiving it as “dealing with” a child, pediatric dentists view the science as a way to build a positive relationship with a child and parent while meeting the child’s oral health care needs. Thus, they aim to meet the great demands of pediatric dental care with professional practice and self-reflection.

What Do Pediatric Dentists Do?

Pediatric dentists offer comprehensive oral health care designed specifically to meet the needs of children and teenagers. Among these include:

  • Infant oral health exams (e.g., risk assessment for dental caries in mother and child)
  • Preventive dental care (e.g., diet and nutrition recommendations, teeth cleaning, and fluoride treatments)
  • Diagnosis and early treatment for teeth straightening and improper bite correction
  • Habit counseling (e.g., thumb sucking and pacifier use)
  • Tooth cavity removal
  • Repair for defects or dental injuries (e.g., displaced or fractured teeth)
  • Early diagnosis of oral conditions associated with other diseases like asthma, hay fever, ADHD, congenital heart defect, and diabetes
  • Gum disease management and pediatric periodontal disease prevention

What Age Does Pediatric Dental Stop?

The American Dental Association recommends that children can visit a pediatric dentist as early as six months of age or as soon as their first tooth erupts. These professionals usually continue to see the child until they are 12 or 13 years of age, wherein their final adult teeth usually erupt. Still, some parents prefer to have their children visit their pedodontists even in their teenage years.

Like pediatricians, pediatric dentists can care for their patient’s oral health from birth to college. A typical individual will have to move on to an adult dentist as soon as they reach 18 years of age, but pediatric dentists can still see patients with special needs beyond 18 years of age, given their knowledge of the patient’s special treatments, dental history, and procedure needs. Due to this, it is common for children to prefer staying with the dentists that they have been seeing and trusting over the years.

Where Can You Find a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist helps your child achieve a lifetime of healthy smiles with positive dental experiences. With a wide range of treatment options, along with trusted expertise and training, these professionals work to maintain your child’s overall oral health.

For the best dentists in Durango, CO, visit our child-friendly professionals at Sunrise Dentistry. Our pedodontists assess your child’s baby teeth and offer expert solutions for any possible dental problems diagnosed. Our team aims to keep your children’s teeth and gums healthy while creating a friendly atmosphere that fosters a positive dental experience.

We are always glad to provide the best oral care for you and your loved ones. Start your child’s journey towards improved oral health by setting an appointment with us today. Call (970) 247-3303 now!