What Is The Main Goal Of Pediatric Dentistry?
Pediatric dentistry specializes in the dental care and treatment of children, from infants to teenagers, and people with special needs. The main goal of pediatric dental care is to prevent, diagnose, and treat oral diseases and conditions to ensure optimal oral and overall wellness. Pediatric dentistry also provides oral care education, helping children develop healthy oral hygiene and habits. In this article, let’s discuss what pediatric dentists do when you see them, when to see them, and how they can help your child develop a healthy and beautiful smile.
What Does a Pediatric Dentist Do?
Pediatric dentists are dental professionals who specialize in children’s dental needs. They focus on preventing, diagnosing, and treating oral conditions and diseases that affect any parts of the oral cavity and maxillofacial areas like the gums, teeth, tongue, palate, jaw, face, neck, throat, and head. Their responsibilities can include the following:
- Collaborate with parents and other professionals to ensure appropriate dental care
- Offer preventative oral and dental care like dental sealants and fluoride treatments
- Prescribe pain, inflammatory, and antibiotic medications when necessary
- Diagnose and treat oral and maxillofacial conditions and diseases like tooth decay, poor bite, gum disease, and dental injuries.
- Perform and interpret x-rays and laboratory tests
- Perform routine dental cleanings and checkups
- Educate parents and children about various oral care topics like proper oral hygiene, oral diseases and conditions, bad oral habits, and oral disease prevention.
Who Should Consult A Pediatric Dentist?
Pediatric care focuses on children, from infancy to adolescence, and people with special needs. Dental experts recommend taking your child to a pediatric dentist as soon as they develop their first tooth or at one year, whichever comes first. After that, you should take them for routine dental checkups and cleanings every six months or as directed by the pediatric dentist.
Even if your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth look healthy, pediatric visits are essential to monitor the child’s dental and jaw development and correct any conditions early. For instance, you should treat most orthodontic problems early to prevent future problems. The dentist will also clean their mouth to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral problems.
When to See a Pediatric Dentist
Besides the routine dental checkups and cleanings, you should take your child to a pediatric dentist if they have the following signs and symptoms:
- Tooth pain or sensitivity to hot, cold, or sugary items
- Jaw, mouth, or facial pain
- Delayed tooth eruption or tooth loss
- Crooked teeth
- Pain or difficulty chewing certain foods
- Dry mouth
- Bad breath
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Dental injuries like chips, cracks, breaks, or teeth knocked out
- Soft tissue injuries
- Discolored or yellowed teeth
- Changes in the gums, lips, teeth, tongue, or face
- Medical conditions that can affect their oral health, like diabetes
What Conditions and Diseases Can a Pediatric Dentist Treat?
Children and teenagers are at a greater risk of oral issues due to frequent snacking on sugary and acidic items, high engagement in sports, poor feeding, poor oral hygiene, and smoking.
Below are some of the most common oral issues that pediatric dentists address:
- Toothache and tooth loss
- Tooth decay and cavities
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
- Teeth grinding and jaw clenching
- Dry mouth
- Mouth infections, sores, and tumors
- Dental and soft tissue injuries
- Teeth gaps and misalignments
- Gum disease
- Teeth stains and discoloration
How to Care for Your Child’s Mouth at Home
Pediatric care is only a part of your child’s oral care. You can do other things at home to create a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums for your child. Here are several helpful tips:
- Teach them how to brush and floss properly and make sure they do it daily: Daily oral hygiene helps prevent plaque and tartar buildup in the mouth, which could lead to tooth decay, gum disease, mouth infections, tooth loss, and other issues. Get them a soft-bristled toothbrush, and avoid abrasive toothpaste and other oral products.
- Healthy diet: Eating foods rich in essential nutrients like calcium and vitamins can strengthen teeth and gums. Limit their consumption of highly sugary, acidic, and hard items as they can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and dental trauma, among other issues.
- Proper hydration: Ensure your child takes enough fluids to prevent a dry mouth. A dry mouth can lead to bacteria attacks, bad breath, oral thrush, and other issues. Discourage them from snacking on sugary and acidic drinks.
- Mouth guard: Get your kid a mouth guard if they play sports or grind teeth at night.
Are You Looking For a Professional Pediatric Dentist?
For more information about pediatric dental care and treatments, contact Sunny Smile Kids to speak with our kid’s dentist near you.