Children’s DentistRichmond, TX
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing babies in for their first appointment with a children's dentist by their first birthday or after their first tooth erupts. After the initial appointment, children should be brought to the clinic at least twice yearly.
Failing to prioritize your child's oral health can lead to a lifetime filled with dental problems. About one in five children in the U.S. have at least one untreated cavity, which can lead to significantly bigger problems in the future.
A children's dentist is a dentist who primarily takes care of children from the time they're born to adulthood. These dentists are often pediatric dentists with additional years of training centered around diagnosing and treating the dental issues that affect children. Pediatric dentists are also trained on children's behavior, including those with special needs. They know the right things to say to a child to make them feel completely relaxed and comfortable during their appointments. Children who visit a children's dentist regularly are more likely to view dentists positively as adults.
Why your child is better off with a children's dentist
Pediatric dentists often customize all aspects of their practices to make children feel comfortable during dental appointments. Some of the little things they do that separate them from other dentists include:
1. Child-friendly facilities
Taking a child to a pediatric dentist's clinic is a lot less intimidating than taking them to a general dental clinic. A children's dentist clinic is designed to make children feel comfortable and relaxed at all times. Walls are often painted with fun colors and waiting rooms are stocked with toys and games. Cartoons are typically playing 24-7 on televisions at these practices. It's all done to accommodate children and to get them to associate seeing the dentist with positive feelings.
The equipment used by children's dentists is also customized for their smaller patients. The regular tools used by dentists are designed for the bigger mouths of adults, and they can be intimidating. Pediatric dentists use smaller tools designed to look less intimidating to avoid scaring children. They typically take the time to explain to their patients what each tool is and how it will be used to make children feel at ease.
2. Additional training on treating children
All dentists can provide dental treatments for patients of all ages, but pediatric dentists have additional education about diagnosing and treating children's teeth. They also learn about the development of children's teeth, making them better qualified to detect abnormalities with the growth of a child's teeth.
Children's dentists learn about children's behavior and use tools like positive reinforcement to make their young patients more comfortable during appointments. They also have additional education focused around providing dental care to children with special needs.
3. Preventative dental care
A children's dentist spends most of their time performing preventative treatments and educating children and parents about oral hygiene and nutrition. This is done in a fun way, so children hold on to the lessons taught. Some of the preventative treatments pediatric dentists perform include:
- Teeth cleanings: This procedure serves as the foundation of preventative dental care. It involves removing tartar and plaque from teeth surfaces. Plaque is a film that coats teeth surfaces. It contains oral bacteria and acids that damage teeth structures. It can be removed by brushing and flossing, but it turns into tartar when left on teeth for more than a day. The American Dental Association recommends getting teeth cleaned twice yearly to protect teeth against tooth decay and gum disease
- Dental sealants: This involves painting the biting surfaces of teeth with liquid composite resin. The liquid is hardened with ultraviolet light, and it prevents acids made by oral bacteria from getting to the areas covered by them. It significantly reduces the risk of tooth decay
- Fluoride treatments: These are some of the quickest treatments provided by children's dentists. It involves asking the child to bite down on a mouth tray filled with a fluoride-infused solution. Pediatric dentists often use products with fun flavors kids will like
- Dental hygiene education: Children's dentists often develop fun games that teach children proper brushing habits and the importance of dental hygiene. Children who form good oral hygiene habits early on are more likely to stick with them for the rest of their lives
4. Assistance with bad habits
Some children have a hard time growing past the use of a pacifier or sucking their thumb. Excessive thumb-sucking or using a pacifier can cause significant problems with the development of the child's teeth. Fortunately, a children's dentist can help your child to get past such habits.
A pediatric dentist can help pinpoint why the child is struggling with the habit and educate patients on ways to use positive reinforcement to break it. Children's dentists also provide appliances that help with breaking these habits.
5. Addressing issues with the child's bite
A pediatric dentist's additional training allows them to detect issues with a child's bite quicker than dentists who specialize in other areas. They have a more comprehensive understanding of baby teeth and their development.
Detecting orthodontic issues early in a child's life is crucial since treatment is much easier. A child's facial structures and jawbone are still developing, making it easier for dentists to manipulate them to address bite issues.
Bite issues can negatively impact a child's development when they are not detected early on. For example, they can cause speech development issues since misaligned teeth can make it impossible for a child to pronounce certain words.
Children's dentists also provide appliances like braces and clear aligners to address orthodontic issues. Treatment with these teeth straightening appliances usually takes somewhere between 12 to 36 months.
6. Equipped to handle special needs
A children's dentist is trained to treat children with special needs. Some of the special needs pediatric dentists are trained to work with include:
- Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
- Cerebral palsy
- Hearing or visual problems
- Developmental disabilities
- Conditions like a cleft palate or lip
- Down syndrome
We can take care of your child's dental needs
Your child is in safe hands with our pediatric dentist. Give us a call or stop by our Richmond clinic to set up an appointment.
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