In dentistry, a pediatric dentist is considered the equivalent of a pediatrician. He specializes in addressing the comprehensive therapeutic and preventive oral health care needs of kids, from infants to teenagers, including special-needs children (even adults), or those who may be disabled, mentally challenged or afflicted with chronic disorders.
The Pediatric Dentist’s Job
Part of the job of a pediatric dentist is to administer regular oral health examinations that include caries risk assessment for both mother and infant, preventive dental care including dietary recommendations and brushing, regular teeth cleaning and fluoride treatments, as well as application of sealants for cavity prevention.
The pediatric dentist may also prescribe mouth guards for sports activities, recommend special care measures to prevent oral health issues like gum disease and teething, offer counseling for child habits like pacifier use and thumb-sucking, repair tooth cavities and defects, assess and apply straightening treatments, and fix improper bite in children otherwise known as orthodontics, provide care for dental injuries like knocked-out and fractured teeth, manage oral conditions resulting from diseases like asthma, congenital heart disease, diabetes, and ADHD.
Diagnosis and treatment of dental developmental difficulties on adult teeth that have not fully-formed root canals are also performed by a pediatric dentist. They are also tasked to manage various gum conditions and diseases like tongue-tie and ulcers.
Choosing a Pediatric Dentist
Just like when choosing a pediatrician for your child, there are some factors to consider when selecting a pediatric dentist. Choose a dentist who is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and one who stays abreast with the latest trends in the practice by taking continuing education classes, and attending seminars and courses on pediatric dentistry.
It is also important to work with a dentist who can put both your kid and you at ease. It also helps if the dentist has knowledgeable and friendly staff who are always on hand to address whatever concerns you or your child may have.
Check out the dental clinic. Is it child-friendly by having decorations, instruments, furniture, distraction/entertainment options appropriate for kids of various ages? While some dentists require parents to be with their kids, so they can be properly educated, and for them to help in reassuring anxious children, other dentists encourage the patients to come back on their own for succeeding treatments. This way, the pediatric dental team can exclusively focus on the child, and immediately start developing a sense of trust.
Weigh the policies that are most convenient for you. Will you be informed of the progress of your child’s tooth development, and will you be taught at-home prevention and dental care? Likewise, check if the clinic will honor your dental insurance.
Follow the tips provided to make sure that your child gets the proper oral health care he needs. Possible problems in the future will also be avoided.