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What Is Pediatric Dentistry and Why Should My Child See One?

Pediatric dentistry refers to a field of dentistry that deals with preventive dentistry for children. Dental care for your child is essential to ensure they grow up to have healthy and attractive teeth. The following are some key points that confirm why you should take your child to a pediatric dentist.

Pediatric Dentists are Specialized Dentists

A pediatric dentist goes through advanced training for their specialized field. Apart from the four years of basic training, pediatric dentists go for an additional 2 years for residency training that focuses on pediatric dentistry.

Pediatric Dental Care Is Solely Aimed At Treating Children

Pediatric dentists are skilled in supervising and relating to children during treatment. The training of pediatric dentists also helps them to deal with children who have disabilities or special needs. The local dentist office of a pediatric dentist is custom made to accommodate the needs of children.

Pediatric Dentists Are Highly Skilled With Dental Procedures

Pediatric dentists use sedation that is different from general anesthesia because it is not intended in making the patient unresponsive or unconscious. This conscious sedation ensures the child feels no pain throughout the procedure and mostly helps to keep the child calm during the treatment. Pediatric dentists will also educate the child on proper dental hygiene. This also includes giving advice to parents on the foods to give their children and those that children should avoid. The children’s dentist will instruct the child on how to perform basic dental hygiene like flossing and brushing. The dentist also advises parents on how to discourage children from bad habits like sucking their thumb. Sucking of the thumb can cause your child to suffer from problems like premature falling of their teeth, improper growth of teeth or misaligned teeth. Pediatric dentists also conduct procedures such as fillings, cleanings, crowns and other forms of support for gum diseases and dental cavities.

How Often Should A Child Visit a Pediatric Dentist?

A child should visit a children’s dentist after every six months. Visiting a pediatric dentist on a short term basis ensures that problems such as decay is caught in time and do not lead to serious condition such as gingivitis.

If you have a child, one of the basic treatments that can benefit them even in their future lives is dental care. A pediatric dentist is responsible for the dental health of your child and ensures that their teeth grow to be healthy, strong and attractive. For more information about how a pediatric dentist can help you, call your local dentist office and book an appointment for your child.

Oral Health Concerns in Children Shared by Our Charlotte Dentist

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

This condition is also known as nursing bottle syndrome, childhood caries or nursing caries. It occurs when the teeth of the baby are in regular contact with sweet drinks or sugars from milk, fruit juices, sugar water or fruit juice diluted with water. When children fall asleep with breast milk in their mouth there is a high risk of tooth decay. This happens because the bacteria in the teeth will feed on the sugars resulting in tooth decay. If this condition remains untreated for a long period of time the child may experience pain and discomfort when eating or chewing. It is important to remember that the baby’s teeth function as space savers to give room to adult teeth. If the teeth are damaged at an early age, the permanent teeth will be misaligned, resulting in crooked permanent teeth or crowded teeth. Proper dental hygiene should begin at an early age.

Tongue Thrusting

Tongue thrusting is basically sealing the mouth by thrusting the tip of the tongue forwards pushing it against the lips. Similar to thumb sucking, tongue thrusting also exerts excess pressure on the front teeth. What this does is that it pushes them out of position. The pressure which acts against the front teeth causes them to protrude therefore creating an overbite. The overbite can interfere with speech development which affects pronunciation. A children’s dentist in a local dentist office can assess the extent of the damage as a result of tongue thrusting. The dentist can work out a treatment plan that will help the child to develop muscles when chewing by adopting a new swallowing pattern.

Lip Sucking

Lip sucking is basically holding the lower lip in between the upper and lower jaw. Sucking often occurs in combination with either tongue thrusting or thumb sucking. Lip sucking also results in an overbite and may cause teeth misalignment. Children struggling with lip sucking need to visit a children’s dentist to get advice on how to stop the habit.

Early Tooth Loss

Premature tooth loss in children can occur due to an injury, poor dental hygiene that leads to tooth decay or lack of sufficient jaw space. If tooth loss happens before the permanent teeth grow, the nearby teeth can shift or tip. A permanent tooth which is trying to make its way may lack enough room. This may cause the new tooth to emerge tilted. Misaligned or crooked teeth can interfere with proper chewing and also result in temporomandibular joint problems. It is important to immediately take the child to a local dentist office. The children’s dentist may give the child a space maintainer. This space maintainer holds the space that is left by the tooth loss and maintains it until the permanent tooth erupts.

Oral dental problems in children can be treated if detected early, so be sure to visit your dental office or come to our local Charlotte NC dentist office for a comprehensive dental evaluation of your child.

Bringing Children for the First Dental Visit

The fear of dentists among children is virtually ubiquitous, and the reasons vary. Some kids have listened to their friends’ tales, and others build off their own parents’ fear. Instead of making the first appointment with the general dentist an overwhelming and terrifying experience, help to calm your kids’ nerves early on.

Use Children’s Literature
To squash the playground stories of dental exams, pick up some children’s books about positive experiences at the dentists the next time you’re at the library or book store. Perhaps these tales begin with the protagonist fearing the general dentist, but then developing an appreciation for the practice and good oral health after the visit. When children can identify with the main characters, they can also begin building their own self confidence.

Share Your Own Positive Experiences
Even if you haven’t realized it, you may have let it slip that you have your own fears about dental exams, thereby giving your children the wrong impression. Instead of focusing on taking back those negative statements you made, pay attention to sharing positive times at the dentist. You may explain how your childhood dentist helped you to overcome a particular problem you were having, or you may want to share a funny story about a time when you went to the dentist.

Plan a Reward
You want to encourage your children to follow through with healthy habits, so opting for an unhealthy snack after the dentist is not necessarily the best idea. However, after you visit the local dentist office, you could plan to go to the amusement park or pick up a video game that your kids have been begging you for. While you don’t want to teach your children that they receive rewards every time that they go to the dentist, you can at least use this tactic to familiarize them with the process.

Accepting that your children may still have some fear, even after employing these strategies, is important. Learning to work through fear and taking on challenging tasks helps children to develop a greater sense of character and ability to overcome adversity. Help them along the way, but work to shape them into adults who can do these tasks for themselves.

To get started on this path to better oral health for your kids, contact our Charlotte dental practice to  schedule an appointment today!

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." — Mark Twain