Pediatric dentistry is focused on the dental health of children who range from infancy through the teen years. Pediatric dentists are specially qualified to work with children and to provide care for their teeth, mouth and gums during the stages of childhood.
A child’s first teeth may emerge as early as 6 months of age and by 6 to 7 years of age, they will begin to lose their baby teeth. These teeth are then replaced by permanent teeth. If the baby teeth and new permanent teeth do not receive proper care, they can have numerous cavities, complications and oral diseases that affect them the rest of their lives. Starting to care for their teeth early on is essential for encouraging them maintain good oral health throughout their adult years. Good oral habits which start in childhood are likely to continue as they grow into adults.
Do pediatric dentists have special training?
Pediatric dentists have to meet certain qualifications to be certified to work with children. They must complete a minimum of:
- Four years dental schooling
- Two more years of training in residence – working with children of all ages and children who have special needs
What treatments are included in pediatric dentistry?
Dentists who work with children provide comprehensive care which includes:
- Oral health exams for infants and risk assessment for cavities
- Preventive dental care including cleaning, fluoride treatments and recommendations for diet and nutrition
- Counseling for parents pertaining to common problems like thumbsucking or pacifier use
- Repairing defects and cavities
- Early treatment for assessed problems such as improper bite and crooked teeth
- Managing gum disease
- Diagnosis of childhood oral conditions that are commonly associated with diseases like diabetes, asthma, ADD, ADHD or congenital heart defects
- Care for injuries such as fractured, knocked-out or displaced teeth