Pediatric Dentist have special training to treat toddlers/infants
There are several advantages for a child to see a pediatric dentist in comparison to a general dentist. A pediatric dentist has received additional training that a general dentist has not. A pediatric dentist will be able to spot a problem with developing teeth and has special abilities to address any issues in the baby teeth. Pediatric dentists also have had special training to deal with any challenging behavior issues that children may have. For example, a pediatric dentist may be able to sedate a young child to address a dental issue.
A pediatric dentist has four years of dental school and two additional years of residency for infants, children, teens, and children with special needs.
When you see teeth start to appear in the mouth, it is time to see the Pediatric Dentist!
It is important for a young child to see a pediatric dentist just as they would see a pediatrician. The first visit with the pediatric dentist should take place when the first tooth is coming in the mouth, but no later than one year old. The pediatric dentist will discuss the importance of proper oral hygiene for the child and review healthy dietary habits. For example, the gums of a young child should be washed/cleaned with a wet cloth until teeth start to erupt in order to help keep the mouth clean. Once the teeth begin to erupt, a small amount of toothpaste without fluoride and a soft toothbrush should be used to clean the teeth. The reason for using non-fluoridated toothpaste is that at young ages a child is unable to spit out excess toothpaste and this could lead to ingesting the fluoride.
The pediatric dentist will also advise on some healthy habits to start and unhealthy habits to avoid. Brushing and flossing are important parts of maintaining healthy teeth for life. It is easier to introduce good habits such as brushing and flossing on a daily basis with young children. When a child is introduced to a brushing and flossing routine, good oral health will become second nature to them. Bad habits can also be avoided by knowing what the consequences are. For example, letting a baby go to bed with a bottle can cause extensive cavities and infections in the teeth. In addition, a prolonged thumb habit can cause the front teeth to protrude(stick out). The proper development of a child’s teeth are linked to both the oral health routine and the dietary habits. A pediatric dentist is the most qualified to help a parent and child understand what is needed to keep a child’s teeth healthy for life.