A pediatric dentist treats infants, children, and teens, offering a wide variety of dental care services. This role includes stewardship over the transition from their primary (“baby”) teeth to their secondary teeth, ensuring that those come in and develop in a healthy, safe manner.
Pediatric dentistry typically refers to dental care provided to children at their first appointment (ideally, by the time they are 1-year-old) through college. Young patients with special needs that extend into their adult years will sometimes see the same pediatric dentist long past the age of 18, as their dentist is uniquely familiar with their dental history and how to adjust treatment to fit their specific situation.
General Dentists & Pediatric Dental Care
Fortunately, all dentists undergo pediatric dentistry training as part of their extensive education. Pediatric specialists are often integral members of the faculty that shapes each class of dentists. Certain dentists, like Dr. Levitin at Mile High Smiles, thrive with young patients. These dentists develop professional expertise in treating minors thanks to years of successful work, continued education, and a personal predisposition to engaging positively with kids. This holds especially true for practices that provide care for many different families, which requires a strong grasp of addressing common behavioral conditions and challenges that can arise during a dental procedure.
What Pediatric Services Will the Dentist Provide?
The way in which a dentist provides care for a child obviously differs from how they interact with adult patients. Foremost among the differences is an especially heavy emphasis placed on oral health education. As patients effectively living with brand new and relatively new teeth, the dentist will take special care to help kids set themselves up for a lifetime of great dental health. Preventing unnecessary oral health problems in the future is a priority, and a good dental education helps achieve this end. In addition to teaching the patients themselves, the dentist will also invite the parent to learn as much as possible. By getting both the child and parent invested, the dentist is better able to help establish the right dental health habits.
There are other benefits to visiting a dentist with experience in pediatric care. For example, children are especially prone to tooth decay, given how difficult their small teeth can be to effectively clean. Basic preventative services, like teeth cleaning, sealants, and fluoride treatments, are great ways to mitigate that risk. The dentist will also know to be especially vigilant when looking for potential future problems, leveraging tactics like X-ray technology. Pediatric dentists also fill cavities, pull teeth, repair broken teeth, and more. The dentist will also be well equipped to prescribe medications and recognize when to refer the patient to specialists (for example, identifying when it is time for braces or a trip to the orthodontist).
Most importantly, the right dentist for you child will know how to make him or her feel comfortable. The dentist’s office can seem like a scary place at first, but your dentist should be more than happy to do whatever they need to fully communicate the importance of taking great care of your teeth, as well warm and friendly that experience can be.