One of the things that makes pediatric dentists so special is their ability to adapt to their patients’ needs as they grow older. Pediatric dentists are trained to treat age-specific dental issues for children from infancy through adolescence. When parents take their kids to the pediatric dentist, they can rest assured that their child is in great care! The great part about going to the pediatric dental office is that it is designed to treat children, so the office, equipment, and even the staff are all prepared with a child’s comfort and safety in mind. Learn more about how pediatric dentists cater to their patients through each stage of life.
Pediatric dentist for babies
As odd as it may seem, even toothless babies can benefit from a visit to the pediatric dentist. Babies can and should start seeing their pediatric dentist around the age of one or whenever their first tooth erupts. The pediatric dentist can provide a number of services to parents and their infants to set the stage for great oral health!
Before the doctor checks your baby’s gums, they will take a look at the family dental history. Genetics plays a big part in dental health and knowing what your baby could be at risk for can help you prevent your child from contracting dental illnesses later on!
Afterward, the pediatric dentist will conduct a dental exam to see if your child is ready to start teething. Signs of teething include swollen gums, mouth rash, excessive drooling, and of course, erupting teeth. The pediatric dentist will give you nutritional counseling and tips about how to help your child get through their teething phase and what to do once the teeth erupt!
Pediatric dentist for toddlers
Even toddlers can get cavities, so it’s pertinent for parents to get a head start on establishing a good oral hygiene routine with their children. After every meal, snack, or milk feeding, you can start cleaning your baby’s teeth to avoid plaque buildup. Sensitive baby gums can tolerate light brushing with finger brushes or even just wet cloths. Talk to your pediatric dentist about how much toothpaste is okay for kids and when to start introducing fluoride into the routine. Too much toothpaste or fluoride too early can result in fluorosis or choking.
Around the stage of life, many toddlers start to exhibit habits like thumb sucking, using pacifiers, and drinking milk as they sleep. While thumb sucking and pacifier use are okay up to a certain age, they can cause your child to develop an abnormal bite over time. The pediatric dentist will be able to let you know when to wean your child off the habit and how to do that. Most pediatric dental offices provide mouthguards and other devices to help children stop sucking their thumbs and pacifiers.
Many toddlers are also transitioning from drinking milk from bottles to solid foods. When they were babies, drinking milk from bottles was fine, but now that their teeth have erupted, it’s important to stop giving your child milk to suck on unless it’s mealtime. Drinking milk or any type of drink other than water during naps can result in cavities from the sugar.
Pediatric dentist for kids
If your child has been seeing the pediatric dentist since they were a baby, they should have no problem visiting the office later in life. If not, that’s okay, too. We understand a lot of kids between the ages of 5 and 12 may feel nervous, apprehensive, or scared of going to the dentist for the first time. Not to worry! Pediatric dental offices are designed to combat just that. At New Generation Dentistry, for example, Dr. Sara is trained to communicate with kids in a way that is fun, friendly, and easy to understand. She will walk your child through the dental exam process, so they have nothing to fear. Your child can even watch TV shows or listen to music during their appointment!
Like other pediatric dentists, Dr. Sara is also trained in providing dental treatments specifically for children. Some of these include:
- Pulpectomy & pulpotomy
- Dental sealants
- Dental fillings
- Tooth repairs
- Tooth extractions
- Sedation dentistry
- Dental cleanings
- Early orthodontic screening
Your child will have plenty of toys and games to ease their anxiety in the waiting room as well. The staff at a pediatric dental office is also trained to treat children with the care and respect they need to feel safe and comfortable before their appointment.
Pediatric dentist for adolescents
Teens can be hard to read, but the pediatric dentist understands all the bodily changes your child is going through and will be able to detect them even if your teen doesn’t want to talk about it.
Adolescents experience a change in hormones when they reach puberty. This can affect how their bone growth and blood flow. Some teens even develop periodontal disease as a result of these changes. The pediatric dentist can help your child adjust their eating habits and dental hygiene routine to treat gum disease.
Most kids are ready to get orthodontic work during adolescence. The pediatric dentist knows how to maneuver around brackets and wires to ensure your child still receives stellar dental care when they have braces.
Pediatric dentist for special needs
Unlike general dentists, pediatric dentists must complete a two year specialty residency program after they graduate dental school. There, they learn behavior management for children and special needs patients. Pediatric dentists understand that each patient is unique and they know how to adjust to everyone’s needs. Though most pediatric dentists don’t work with kids past the age of 18, they can make accommodations for their disabled or special needs patients.
Overly rigid, clinical dental offices can be scary for children, and even adults, of any age. At the pediatric dentist’s office, you can rest easy knowing that your child will be with a pediatric dental specialist who is happy to accommodate to their needs. No matter what age your child is, the pediatric dentist will provide your child with the treatment and resources for a bright, healthy smile.
At New Generation Dentistry, we can transition your child from our pediatric dentist to our general dentist once they turn 18. That way, your child won’t have to go through the hassle of finding a new dental office and transferring dental records after they become an adult. We want to make your family’s dental experience as easy as possible. Feel free to give us a call if you’d like to learn more!