are specially trained to provide oral health care to infants, children, teenagers and those with special needs. All pediatric dentists have an extra two years of training (in addition to the four years of dental school) in the treatment of children. This training includes behavior management, child psychology, preventative dentistry, oral conscious sedation, general anesthesia, management of trauma, and hospital dentistry. They have been specially trained to monitor and guide the dental development, which is important for the overall growth of a child’s permanent teeth.
When should I take my child to a pediatric dentist?
A child should see a pediatric dentist by his or her first birthday or when the first tooth comes in, which is typically between six and 12 months of age, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and American Academy of Pediatrics. However, parents are encouraged to start proper oral care immediately after birth by wiping the baby's gums after each feeding. Parents should also oversee brushing and flossing until around age nine and schedule dental checkups every six months until the child grows into an adult. The AAPD recommends brushing your child’s teeth two minutes, twice daily.
What can my child expect during a visit to a pediatric dentist?
A first visit to a pediatric dental office can be exciting, yet scary for a child. The goal of the first visit is to give your child a positive experience, making him/her feel welcome and comfortable. Pediatric dental offices are kid friendly with smaller chairs, ceiling-mounted TVs, and video games that help put the child at ease.
Depending on the age and oral health of your child, Digital X-rays may be taken at the first exam. After the X-rays, the pediatric dentist will count your child’s teeth and perform a thorough examination. The next steps will be a cleaning, fluoride application and then applying possible sealants to help prevent cavities.
If the child is under three years old, the pediatric dentist may perform a “knee-to-knee” exam with the child sitting on the parent’s lap and his/her head leaning back into the pediatric dentist. This will help make the child feel secure and safe during his/her first visit.
Once the exam and cleaning are complete, the pediatric dentist will demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques to your child, discuss good nutrition and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
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