5 Benefits Pediatric Dentists Offer Your Child
The first part of the answer to why your child should see a pediatric dentist is simple: children’s teeth are still developing. As a result, their dental needs are very different from adults’ needs. A pediatric dentist has several more years of training beyond dental school to address these unique needs of infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents. They can also help families save money, too. How? In the following 5 ways:
1. Pediatric dentists can catch problems early.
This can save the child unnecessary discomfort. It can save parents expensive dental bills to correct problems later, too! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children be seen by a dentist when the first tooth erupts or at the first birthday, whichever milestone occurs first.
By seeing children as early as the first tooth or age one, pediatric dentists can help children and families
- Monitor how a child’s teeth and jaws are developing in order to catch problems early.
- Offerguidance with childhood oral behaviors, such as thumb-sucking and pacifier use.
- Help parents establish no-tear routines for good oral health at home.
- Educate families on nutrition for the best oral health.
- Focus on cavity prevention in order to avoid painful, costly problems in the future.
- Offer tips to avoid dental injuries.
- Treat oral injuries when they happen.
- Provide the most up-to-date information in children’s oral health.
2. Pediatric dentists help keep the fear out of visiting the dentist.
Dentists wishing to specialize in the treatment of children must receive additional education in childhood development and psychology. As a result, pediatric dentists are focused on the emotional well-being of your child, just as much as they are focused on their oral health!
They understand the need to reduce anxiety surrounding dental visits. This means pediatric dental practices focus on providing the following:
- Child-friendly office design makes the dentist a fun, welcoming place. Bright, fun décor makes children feel welcome, and a child-height counter helps children feel included in the process!
- Child-friendly terminology makes procedures less frightening to children. A child might get frightened by a nitrous oxide mask, but a “happy nose” is much less threatening!
- Child-friendly staff know to be gentle and patient with kids. Every part of the experience needs to be pleasant, not just the time with the dentist!
- Child-friendly activities in the waiting room keep fear away. Waiting doesn’t have to be a time for anxiety to build; kids can stay happy playing touchscreen computer games or stacking blocks or reading a book with a parent!
- Child-friendly treatment chairs keep kids distracted. Movie screens above each chair can greatly reduce the fear associated with cleanings and other dental treatments and make the time zip by for kids.
Finally, children who come to the dentist before they experience problems are less likely to develop fear of dental visits. Thus, they are more likely to continue good dental care throughout their lives!
3. Pediatric dentists offer a prevention-based approach to dentistry.
They consider themselves teachers in addition to dentists. They want to help children and their families develop good habits to last a lifetime! According to the AAPD, tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease–and that it’s largely preventable! That’s why pediatric dentists offer
- Regular fluoride treatments
- Brushing and flossing education
- Nutrition education
- High fluoride toothpastes
Prevention, of course, keeps pain away for children. It also keeps dental expenses down for caregivers.
4. Pediatric dentists offer less-invasive treatment options.
Even with the best oral health habits, problems can still occur. Since children still have primary (baby) teeth, different treatment options need to be considered.
- Silver Diamine Fluoride (S.D.F.): This exciting treatment for cavities means no drill at all! By brushing S.D.F. on tooth decay, the decay is halted! From the child’s perspective, it’s a simple, painless treatment. From the parent’s perspective, it typically costs less–even when not covered by insurance–than a traditional filling.
5. Pediatric dentists can treat more serious dental problems for children in-house, saving you time and money.
As specialists themselves, they can treat children in the comfort of a familiar building with familiar faces. The costs of staying in-house are usually significantly less than visiting a second specialist, too. Examples of more intensive treatments they can perform in their offices include
- Tooth Extraction: Pediatric dentists recognize the important role primary (baby) teeth play in helping permanent teeth develop and erupt healthily, so pulling a tooth is only performed when absolutely necessary.
- Fillings: pediatric dentists can use a traditional drill–or now some have the ability to use a more painless option of a laser in place of the drill–to remove the tooth decay and place a filling.
- Pulp Therapy: Severe decay or tooth trauma can cause painful pulp exposure; pediatric dentists can treat such conditions.
- Space Maintainers: If a baby tooth is lost too prematurely due to trauma or decay, pediatric dentists can provide the necessary treatment to help the permanent tooth erupt in the proper place.
Children are not just small adults. They have unique needs for their oral health. That’s why your child should see a pediatric dentist, rather than just a general dentist. Seeing a pediatric dentist can help children learn to enjoy dental visits. Regular check ups also help children develop good habits that prevent dental problems from happening in the first place. All of this is good for the child, and good for the parent’s checkbook!
Dr. Laura, Dr. Rachel, and Team would love to be your child’s pediatric dentistry team! We are accepting new patients under the age of 12! Children with special needs are always welcome!
Are you asking, “Is there a pediatric dentist near me?” Yes! Call Great Beginnings Pediatric Dentistry today at (330) 425-1885 to schedule a visit and to see what a difference a pediatric dentist can make for your child!
*This blog is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please call your doctor or dentist for advice specific for your child.*