Pediatric dentistry focuses on the oral health of children. It involves treating the dental needs of children right from infancy to adolescence. It is a specialty that's recognized by the ADA and the dentists undergo special training for this purpose.
What do pediatric dentists do?
- Pediatric dentists monitor the growth of your child's teeth from infancy to adolescence.
- They check your child's oral set up for any signs of cavities.
- They suggest suitable treatment and oral hygiene plans for your child.
- They educate the parents on how to take care of their child's oral set up.
- They check for early signs of malocclusion and take preventative measures.
- They offer solutions to habits such as thumb sucking.
- In case of emergency, such as an injury to your child's teeth, they offer first aid and tend to the injury.
- They offer treatments which help strengthen the teeth. Ex: Fluoride treatment.
- They involve in the extraction of the milk teeth which refuse to fall off naturally.
- They treat decayed teeth and fill cavities.
- In case of malocclusion or improper bite, they offer orthodontic solutions.
- They conduct overall oral examinations to determine the health of the teeth and gums.
Why is pediatric dentistry important?
Monitoring your child's teeth for any signs of cavities and malocclusion issues is absolutely necessary. Hence, it is advisable that your child is taken to a pediatric dentist at least once in six months, starting at an age of twelve months. Milk teeth usually erupt when the child is six months old. The pediatric dentist would offer suggestions about the brushing techniques, maintaining proper oral health, foods that should be avoided, etc.
In children, small unnoticed cavities can rapidly turn into severe ones. They could lead to childhood periodontal as well. Hence, a pediatric dentist may take an X-ray when he/she suspects that your child has underlying hidden cavities. Another advantage of visiting the pediatric dentist regularly is that your child's oral health record can be maintained meticulously. Hence, any sudden changes in the oral health of your child can be treated effectively. Malocclusion issues which are treated during childhood have a higher success rate and would help in the proper growth and alignment of teeth.
How can you take care of your child's oral health at home?
- Brushing: Brushing gets rid of most of the cavity-causing bacteria from the mouth. Also, any food particles and debris that are stuck on the teeth can also be removed, thereby reducing the chances of cavity development.
- Flossing: Flossing removes the bacteria and food debris that are stuck between the teeth. This is highly important as cavities mostly develop at the interface between two teeth.
- Thumb sucking: Thumb sucking can lead to malocclusion. It can affect the way teeth grow and also gradually change their alignment. Hence, parents should make sure that their kids do not suck their thumbs. An orthodontically correct pacifier will be suggested to you by your child's pediatric dentist which would prevent thumb sucking.
- Diet: Diet plays a major role in the oral health of your child. Sugary foods, chocolates, candies, etc. should be limited to avoid the onset of cavities.