Choosing your child’s first dentist is an important decision. Not only will this person care for your child’s oral health, but they will shape your child’s ideas and feelings about dental care and dental visits as well. Though you, understandably, may want to take your child to your family dentist, a pediatric dentist may be a better option. Consider the below reasons why you should choose a pediatric dentist.
Pediatric dentists are uniquely poised to address a child’s full range of needs during dental visits.
Unlike general or family dentists, pediatric dentists have at least two additional years of school after completing their DDS or DMD. During these extra years, they focus on understanding the different physical and emotional stages of development your child will experience. This enables them to address your child’s oral health care needs while supporting them emotionally during trips to the dentist.
Baby teeth are not just small adult teeth.
Baby teeth differ in important ways from permanent teeth. They are not just smaller in size. For starters, they eventually fall out! The two types of teeth have other structural differences which impact treatment practices and options, too. For instance, baby teeth have softer, thinner enamel than permanent teeth. They also have larger nerves and nerve chambers relative to tooth size than permanent teeth have. As a result, a small cavity in a baby tooth can spread more quickly to neighboring teeth. Also, even small cavities can impact the nerves. Pediatric dentists work with these realities on a daily basis, so they better understand how to diagnose and treat presenting problems.
Children are not just small adults.
Let’s face it. Sometimes a trip to the dentist is a little stressful or scary, even for adults. Children and adults need different emotional supports to help conquer their dental fears. Moreover, what strategies work for a 2-year-old are unlikely to work for a 10-year-old, and vice versa. A pediatric dental practice excels at meeting children where they are. They adjust their strategies and treatment options to treat the whole child while in their care.
Different dental treatment options make sense at different stages of life.
Because they are dealing with a mixture of permanent and baby teeth, pediatric dentists typically offer a wider range of treatment options than general dentist practices. For instance, more and more pediatric dental practices offer silver diamine fluoride (SDF) treatments for children. Because this treatment leaves some dark staining behind, many general dentists shy away from its use. In a baby tooth that will eventually fall out anyway, however, this treatment makes more sense.