Pediatric Dentistry – The Specialty That Deals With Children’s Oral Health

Pediatric dentistry is the specialty that deals with children’s oral health and is committed to providing excellent care throughout childhood. It encompasses many different techniques and treatments, from preventative services to emergency treatment.

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Good oral health is critical for a child’s overall well-being. Pediatric dentists are trained to help kids develop and maintain healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

Preventative care

The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly applies to dentistry. Regular preventative visits to the dentist help catch problems like tooth decay in their earliest stages, saving children from pain and expensive treatments down the road.

Pediatric (children’s) dentists are specially trained to treat the unique oral health needs of infants, toddlers, kids, and teens. They are skilled in providing early detection and intervention of dental problems, and they understand how to make the experience of going to the dentist fun and enjoyable for kids.

In addition to regular cleanings and exams, pediatric dentists can perform in-office preventative treatments like applying fluoride to baby teeth or permanent molars, and placing dental sealants on the chewing surfaces of newly erupted molars to fill in pits and crevices where decay often occurs. They can also provide advice and guidance to parents on thumb sucking, pacifier use, and other behavioral issues that impact dental health, as well as promote good eating habits and overall wellness.

Educating kids and parents on brushing techniques, flossing methods, healthy food choices, fluoride use, and other aspects of good oral hygiene helps ensure that the good habits established at an early age continue throughout life. This not only protects kids’ teeth and gums from common problems like tooth decay, it can also improve their overall well-being by reducing the risk of chronic medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

Fillings

Children are prone to tooth decay, which can lead to the need for fillings. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that eat sugars and starches, producing acid that destroys teeth. When left untreated, a cavity can grow larger, causing pain, discomfort and other dental problems. Pediatric dentists will use a composite filling to restore damaged teeth. This procedure is quick and painless. The dentist will first numb the child’s mouth using a local anesthetic. Then the deteriorated area will be cleaned and prepped for the filling. Finally, the composite resin is placed and cured with a special curing light.

A tooth-colored filling will blend in perfectly with the other teeth in the child’s mouth and improve their overall oral health. It’s also a much safer option than silver amalgam fillings, which contain mercury. In addition, a composite filling will reduce tooth sensitivity and make eating, biting and drinking comfortable for the child again.

Whether your child needs a filling or a root canal, a pediatric dentist can help them get back on the path to good oral health. They will promote preventative care, provide treatment for cavities and advise parents on good dietary habits and home care. Getting your child to the dentist regularly will ensure they have healthy teeth and a bright smile for life. This will help them feel confident and happy.

Cleanings

Dental cleanings are a vital part of preventative dentistry for children. They remove plaque and tartar, reducing bacteria that erode teeth and lead to tooth decay and gum disease. They also clean hard-to-reach nooks and crannies between crooked teeth, making it easier for children to brush and floss their teeth effectively. Dental cleanings can also spot potential problems like a broken or cracked tooth, and help kids develop good oral hygiene habits that last a lifetime.

Pediatric dentists are specially trained to make teeth cleanings and exams more comfortable for kids. They have special equipment and decorations that appeal to children, and they are familiar with how to interact with children to keep them calm and engaged during their visit. Many pediatric dentists are also certified in the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), which can be used to help kids stay relaxed and calm during procedures that may cause them anxiety.

A dental exam is a necessary component of any dental appointment. Kids will have their teeth examined to make sure they are growing in and developing properly, and a full set of X-rays may be needed for older children to identify possible issues that could require treatment. X-rays are safe for children and are only taken with the help of a shield to protect their sensitive gums.

Emergency treatments

Pediatric dental traumas can have severe consequences if not treated immediately. These may include tooth fractures, jaw injuries, and loss of primary or permanent teeth. Pediatric dentists are highly trained in handling these emergencies. They are also familiar with the oral structures of children from infancy through adolescence, and can provide specialized care that is tailored to each child’s needs.

Dental trauma can be caused by sports, siblings’ play, or accidents in the home and outdoors. Tooth fractures can occur when a child chews hard food or falls while playing. Symptoms of a broken tooth include pain, swelling, and socket bleeding. The doctor can usually diagnose the problem from a physical examination of the child’s mouth. X-rays may be taken to determine the extent of the damage.

If a child has a toothache, the doctor can prescribe medication to reduce discomfort. The doctor can also treat a painful impacted or infected tooth by opening the pulp chamber to relieve pressure, draining abscesses, and splinting teeth after injury. In most cases, a knocked out tooth can be saved if it is reinserted within an hour of the accident. This can prevent further damage to the root bud and the adult tooth. If the tooth cannot be reinserted, a pediatric dentist will splint it until it grows in. If a tooth is lost permanently, the doctor will replace it with an artificial crown.