Article by Rob Taylor
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the cares and concerns of our health when we’re adults, but let’s not forget that our little ones need just as much care and attention – sometimes even more so.
We all know that kids can get into all sorts of trouble, whether they’re in the playground or scribbling all over your freshly painted living room wall. Sometimes, though, these mishaps can end up causing a lost tooth or other types of dental damage. That’s where pediatric dentistry comes in. It’s a special branch of dentistry that deals exclusively with children, and it could very well save your child’s smile one day.
What is Pediatric Dentistry?
Because the nature and structure of a child’s teeth differs drastically from that of an adult, the amount of care needed and the way it is delivered needs to be different too. For this reason, pediatric dentistry was created. The ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of pediatric dentistry aims to discover new ways to deal with the various infections and problems that children can encounter, whilst the ‘front line’ is made up of actual pediatric dentists, who are experienced in treating a range of oral hygiene problems in children.
One factor that has to be considered by pediatric dentists is the fact that children often have ‘baby teeth’, which will eventually fall out and be replaced with their adult counterparts. Because the size and shape of these teeth is very different to their adult forms, the tools and procedures are also very different. Pediatric dentists also come across a range of oral hygiene issues with kids because they have a tendency to not want to clean their teeth, and are difficult to convince of the benefits. Call it the arrogance of youth, but for some reason, telling them their teeth will drop out when they’re old doesn’t seem to bother them!
What Are the Benefits of Pediatric Dentistry?
There are a whole host of benefits that are associated with proper pediatric dental care. First and foremost is obviously the health of your child’s teeth. Children are notoriously difficult when it comes to oral hygiene, and a pediatric dentist can give you all sorts of advice which will help you do a better job of imparting the skills necessary for your child to retain a great set of pearly whites.
It is generally recommended that you take your child to see a pediatric dentist roughly once every six months. This will ensure that their teeth are receiving the best possible care. The pediatric dentist will give the child’s teeth a thorough checkup and, if necessary, a good clean. Another benefit of a pediatric dentist is that they are able to provide you with knowledge that you probably couldn’t gain elsewhere. They can teach you how to clean your children’s teeth properly, including flossing and mouthwash if appropriate.
What Sort of Issues can a Pediatric Dentist Deal With?
Pediatric dentists are fully qualified to deal with a range of issues that affect a child’s oral hygiene. For example, your child may at some point suffer from plaque buildup or tooth decay. A pediatric dentist can teach your child how to avoid this situation in future, as well as repairing any damage and removing the plaque. Pediatric dentists can also help with any diseases that may affect your child’s mouth.
Whilst relatively rare, it is possible that your child could contract mild gum disease (known as gingivitis) or an infection (this can happen a lot, as children tend to put things in their mouths). The dentist will be able to treat these problems in a way that is appropriate for a child. There are some ‘adult’ treatments that are simply too harsh to be applied to a child’s mouth. Pediatric dentistry utilizes well researched alternatives to ensure the safety of the child throughout any of these procedures.
Should You Take Your Child to a Pediatric Dentist?
The short answer to this is yes. Overall, it makes a lot more sense to employ someone who is specifically trained in the area to take care of your child’s oral hygiene. Whilst an ‘adult’ dentist will gladly treat a child, there is always a risk that they may not use the most gentle or effective methods to treat a child’s oral hygiene problems.
To be on the safe side, it really is important to have your child’s teeth looked at by a pediatric dentist at least once every six months. If any issues occur ‘in the between’ you can always make an appointment to see a pediatric dentist in the same way you would an adult one. Remember, the health and future of your children’s teeth really is in your hands.
The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate health care provider.