What is pediatric dentistry?

As one of the branches of dental medicine, pediatric dentistry concentrates on oral health, corrective and preventive dental care for children. With the needs or requirements and the dental setup of children differing from adults, special care is taken when dealing with children and understanding their dental care to great detail. As a common factor, fear is one of the main problems that a pediatric dentist should deal with in the most subtle and comprehensive manner to eliminate any misconceptions and should be able to make their young patients whose ages range from infants, small children to adolescents feel at ease and comfortable.

How is a pediatric dentist different from other regular or usual dentists?

Dedicating skill, expertise, years of dental study and knowledge, a pediatric dentist takes care of the dental needs of infants, young children and teenagers. Differing from the regular dentists in their role as a pediatric dentist, a pediatric dentist is a specialist who is qualified to handle and channel his/her experience to deal with the dental development and growth of children to meet specialized requirements. With additional years of training to equip themselves with in-depth knowledge of pediatric dentistry, pediatric dentists deal with the medical issues pertaining to children's dental care and impart advice in an educational yet entertaining way where young children can absorb the rules of oral hygiene.

With intense study and formal training, a pediatric dentist offers more than dental care to his young patients and counsels parents with sound advice on how to take care of the dental needs of their children to prevent problems. Besides imparting advice to parents on how to stop thumb sucking in infants, the pediatric dentist also informs them that this habit can lead to teeth falling out prematurely, teeth being misaligned and teeth growing in an improper manner. A pediatric dentist also attends to dental problems such as gum disease, dental cavities, fluoride treatments, offers advice on nutrition, balanced diets, flossing and the right way to brush teeth.

What are the other aspects of the role of a pediatric dentist?

With many responsibilities pertaining to the dental care of young children, a pediatric dentist determines and reduces infection, pain and gives the best dental solutions to children who are taking other medication or are under any clinical situation or circumstance. Providing all the aspects of dental care, a pediatric dentist offers specialized care to children who have phobias and who face trauma due to fear. With multi-faceted roles and responsibilities, a pediatric dentist performs endodontic and orthodontic treatment besides taking care of the dental needs of children who are traumatized or conditions that need emergency care and c hildren who have had accidents that are not too serious. Using their skill and knowledge, pediatric dentists also render detailed examination of a young child's oral cavity to look for abnormal teeth, teeth that may be missing and indications of teeth development. With pediatric dentistry as their forte, a pediatric dentist also is adept at tooth extraction, performing oral surgery for children, looking after infections of the gum and extraction of teeth.

Is it necessary for a child to visit a pediatric dentist's office often?

A dental check up is necessary every six months for the prevention of decay, cavities and any other dental problems. But your pediatric dentist will inform you on the number of visits that should be made based on your child's dental needs and oral health.

Will a pediatric dentist be able to recommend guidelines that can be followed to help keep children free from cavities?

Yes, being highly qualified and specialized in the branch of pediatric dentistry, a pediatric dentist will offer advice and recommend various ways that can keep children cavity free. The pediatric dentist would advise you to check that your child or children get the right amount of fluoride with drinking water and this can be supplemented with fluoride products. Your child should brush the teeth twice in a day with toothpaste that has fluoride and floss once in a day to remove debris, food particles and plaque . Your pediatric dentist will also advise having sealants applied on the exterior surfaces of the chewing molars. Snacking should be kept to a minimum of twice a day and visits to the pediatric dentist should be a regular feature for cleanings, X-rays and check ups.

Will a pediatric dentist be able to help parents to identify symptoms that can prevent orthodontic problems?

Yes, the pediatric dentist will be able to guide, monitor and advise parents about the symptoms that can prevent orthodontic problems. The pediatric dentist will follow up closely on the dental development of the child and advise him/her on avoiding bad oral hygiene habits that would start and increase orthodontic problems. The pediatric dentist would be able to position the teeth in the right way if there is malocclusion or dental alignment that is not normal. With many advances in dentistry and technology, your pediatric dentist would use various preventative techniques. It is important to consult with your pediatric dentist if your child or children find it difficult to bite or chew food, jaws that make sounds or shift, clenching or grinding of the teeth, if there is breathing through the mouth, if your child is biting his/her cheek, facial imbalance, if there is difficulty in speech and late or early loss of baby teeth. A pediatric dentist is a specialist and would help to prevent orthodontic problems on time so that your child can have a happy and normal childhood.