Pediatric DentistRichmond, TX
A pediatric dentist is dedicated to taking care of children's oral health from birth through their teenage years. They have additional training and experience caring for children's teeth and gums during the different stages of childhood.
A child's first set of teeth typically emerges during the first six months. Most of their primary teeth should have emerged by the age of three, and these teeth start to fall out around the age of seven to make room for the permanent teeth behind them.
Understanding why your child needs a pediatric dentist
Tooth decay is the most common dental issue that affects children, and it can cause problems with the development of a child's permanent teeth. Baby teeth are placeholders in the mouth, holding space for permanent teeth. A baby tooth falling out of the mouth prematurely due to decay or other reasons can lead to the remaining teeth shifting towards the gap in an attempt to fix it.
The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing children in for their first dental appointment before their first birthday. A pediatric dentist has additional training in diagnosing and treating issues that affect children's developing teeth. Their training includes four years of dental school and at least two years of residency training working with infants, children, children with special needs, and teenagers.
Some of the oral care services pediatric dentists provide include:
- Infant oral exams that typically include assessing the child's vulnerability to cavities
- Preventative dental care like the application of dental sealants, teeth cleanings, and fluoride treatments
- Nutrition and diet advice
- Providing counseling for habits like thumb sucking and extended pacifier use
- Early assessment of a child's bite and providing teeth straightening treatments
- Repairing teeth damaged by decay
- Diagnosing oral issues that are linked to general health issues like asthma, congenital heart defects, and diabetes
- Diagnosing and treating issues that affect soft tissues in and around the oral cavity like gum disease, a short frenulum, and mucoceles
- Repairing damage caused by dental injuries like knocked-out teeth, broken teeth, and fractures
A pediatric dentist's approach to treating children often makes the experience more pleasant for the child. Children have a more challenging time staying patient and cooperative during dental exams, and they can easily get frightened by some of the tools used by dentists like drills.
Pediatric dentists typically customize their practices to suit the needs of their young patients. From the decorations in the clinic to the free toys available in the waiting room, pediatric dentists are experts at making children feel comfortable during dental appointments.
A dentist for kids spends most of their time diagnosing and treating children's dental needs. They typically have additional education regarding caring for young patients, including those with special needs.
A dentist for kids does not always have the same qualifications as a pediatric dentist, but they customize their practices and services to meet the needs of children. This includes simple things like using less intimidating equipment that does not make children feel uncomfortable during their treatments.
Some of the services provided by dentists for kids include:
- Preventative treatments like the application of dental sealants, teeth cleanings, and fluoride treatments
- Restorative treatment to address issues like tooth decay and damaged teeth
- Educating parents and children on proper ways to take care of their mouths
- Evaluating and correcting issues with a child's bite
Reasons to choose a children's dentist
A general dentist can take care of patients of all ages, but pediatric dentists spend most of their time treating children. Pediatric dentists also have three years of additional education focused around treating children and their unique needs, allowing them to provide a higher level of care.
Some of the benefits of choosing a pediatric dentist include:
A children's dentist's practice is explicitly designed to make children feel comfortable. These clinics often look more like amusement centers or playgrounds than dental clinics. Little things like having colorful murals on walls, video games in the waiting areas, and countless toys for children to play with make a huge difference in making kids feel comfortable at the clinic. Getting a child to associate going to the dentist with all these positive things often leads to a life of excellent dental health. Children who visit a kid's dentist early on are less likely to develop dental phobias as adults.
A pediatric dentist is better equipped to deal with a child's behavior if they are super chatty or shy during their appointments. These dentists spend most of their time working with children, so they know exactly what to say to encourage children to be more cooperative. They can also provide dental sedation if the child has special needs or behavioral problems preventing them from sitting still in a chair.
The assistants that work with pediatric dentists are just as skilled at addressing the specific needs of children at the clinic. In some clinics, assistants go over each tool the dentist will use during the appointment in a fun way to make children feel more comfortable.
An emergency pediatric dentist takes care of dental emergencies. They are typically accessible to patients 24/7 to provide the urgent care that some situations require. Examples of dental issues that are classified as dental emergencies include:
- Knocked out teeth
- Teeth severely damaged by trauma
- Root fractures
- Displaced teeth
A kid-friendly dentist leads to better overall health
Kid-friendly dentists get your child used to the idea of going to the dentist early on. They provide preventative treatments like teeth cleanings that help prevent issues like tooth decay and gum disease, and they educate parents and children on effective ways to take care of their teeth and gums.
Most importantly, a kid-friendly dentist provides an environment that allows children to feel relaxed during their appointments. As a result, the child will likely feel comfortable going to the dentist for the rest of their lives, leading to better dental health.
Get your child the highest level of dental care
A pediatric dentist sets your child on the right track regarding their dental health. Give us a call or visit our Richmond clinic to set up an appointment with our pediatric dentist.
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