Most Common Types of Pediatric Dental Visits
What exactly is pediatric dental care? According to the Food and Drug Administration, "pediatrics" can be subdivided into various categories:
- Newborn: Birth to 1 month
- Infant: 1 month to 2 years
- Child: 2 years to 12 years
- Adolescent: 12 years to 21 years
So, a pediatric dentist sees patients who are between the ages of 6 months (about when the first baby tooth comes in) and 18 years. Pediatric dentistry is a specialty that requires extra training. A pediatric dentist attends four years of dental school, followed by a two-year pediatric dental residency program. During this extra training, they learn techniques specialized to the different age groups and how to use the accompanying equipment.
Types of visits
Whether a patient has either made an appointment or received a referral from another dentist, here are common reasons for a pediatric dental visit.
A pediatric dental visit is the best place for an infant to start receiving regular checkups. These visits are ideal for parents because the dentist can help teach them the best way to care for their child's teeth. It is best to take a child to the dentist at least once every six months.
Preventative care is similar to a standard adult dental visit and involves cleaning and X-rays to check for cavities. The most common dental operations for children are dental cleanings. These should begin no later than six months after a child gets their first tooth.
The dentist will examine the child's teeth and check for signs of potential issues during the first few visits rather than perform significant cleaning. It is best to get children used to coming to the dentist for regular cleanings as soon as possible, but the dentist will ultimately decide when that should be.
During a typical cleaning, the dental hygienist will first scrape away plaque with a special scraper and then clean each tooth individually using an ultrasonic dental instrument. The hygienist will then floss, polish, and perhaps use fluoride on the teeth.
It might be challenging for children to reach their rear molars when they are brushing their teeth. Cavities and other forms of plaque accumulation are thus more likely to form. After a child turns six years old, their first permanent molars will typically begin to emerge. To protect these teeth from plaque and acids, dentists might apply sealants using a special brush. No anesthetic is needed for this quick and easy operation.
Fluoride treatment is an example of preventive dental care. This procedure strengthens tooth enamel, which in turn, protects against the acid assaults brought on by bacteria, sugar, and plaque. Fluoride is available through toothpaste, mouthwash, certain municipal water supplies, and dental procedures (usually right after a cleaning).
Dental fluoride is most often administered in the form of a gel, varnish, or foam. Although it is not always required, it will usually be stronger than over-the-counter remedies. Parents should leave the timing of this treatment to their child's dentist.
A pediatric dentist will also be able to make repairs to a child's teeth if they have cavities. They are specially trained to examine the teeth of children and infants in ways that are unique to their dental needs.
Unfortunately, injuries are common in growing children, including to the jaw and teeth. A pediatric dentist can repair this damage and provide treatment to help the mouth heal properly. Additionally, if the child participates in sports activities, a pediatric dentist can custom-make mouthguards for their sport.
Typically, thumb and pacifier sucking is healthy and normal until about the age of 3. But some infants and children wean from thumb sucking later than they should. Pediatric dentists are trained in habit counseling to help patients overcome this issue.
A child's dentist will probably be the first dental specialist in a position to assess the future orthodontic needs of the child. They are trained to spot any issues and can help recommend a plan of action if necessary.
Where can I find pediatric dental services?
Dental specialties are becoming more common as more specialized training programs are available. If you are seeking a pediatric dentist, you can check with your general dentist, search online, or even ask friends with children. Just like adults, children need strong oral hygiene habits and regular dental appointments to keep a healthy smile.
If you need help finding a pediatric dentist, please call us or send an email to our staff. We can discuss your child's needs and recommend appropriate care.
Request an appointment here: https://www.grandparkwaypediatricdental.com or call Grand Parkway Pediatric Dental at (832) 222-8687 for an appointment in our Richmond office.
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