Pediatric dentistry is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the oral health needs of children, typically from infancy to adolescence. A pediatric dentist will work with parents and caregivers to ensure the mouth’s development is not compromised by dental problems.   Because children’s teeth and jaws are still developing, pediatric dentists utilize X-rays less than the general dentist. Pediatric dentists may recommend fluoride treatments or fluoride varnish to prevent tooth decay and will recommend an annual exam and teeth cleaning by a general dentist as soon as the child’s adult teeth start coming in.

Why do children need a pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the only dental professionals who receive special training to understand how children’s teeth develop and grow. Pediatric dentists help ensure good oral health during childhood, which is critical to overall healthy development. They can detect tooth decay early before it spreads or causes pain. During regular exams, pediatric dentists check for things that might indicate a problem, such as misaligned teeth. Early detection can make it easier to correct problems with braces or other treatments. In addition, pediatric dentists are trained to understand the special needs of children and can help parents understand how best to care for their child’s teeth.

How to find a good pediatric dentist?

When it comes to choosing a pediatric dentist, the best option is to ask your child’s general dentist if he or she can recommend someone. You can also get recommendations from other parents whose children have seen a pediatric dentist. Before making an appointment, determine whether the practice treats patients of all ages or specializes in caring for children only. Inquire about the facility, including the availability of a play area, and whether a nurse or other healthcare providers will be present during your child’s appointment. It is important to feel comfortable with the dentist you choose.

Once you find a pediatric dentist near you who meets your needs, make sure to keep all scheduled appointments for regular check-ups and cleanings. These appointments should start early in a child’s life and continue through the teenage years. During these visits, your pediatric dentist can monitor your child’s dental development, screen for signs of oral health problems, and help you practice good oral health habits at home.

Tips for making dental visits with your child more enjoyable.

The most important tip for making your child’s dental visit more enjoyable is to choose a pediatric dentist you feel comfortable with and who has plenty of kid-friendly features in his or her office. Your child’s comfort may depend on the size of the waiting room, toys and games available during the visit, and whether your child can watch his or her favorite cartoons during the visit. Helping your child prepare for the appointment by reviewing what will happen at the office can also put him or her more at ease about visiting a dentist.

Pediatric dentists also emphasize prevention, which includes proper brushing and flossing techniques. Your child’s pediatric dentist can help you select the right toothbrush for your child, establish good habits early by developing a brushing routine, make sure your child brushes for the recommended amount of time (two minutes), and show you how to brush properly. It is important to visit a pediatric dentist as soon as your child’s first tooth appears, or no later than his or her first birthday. By seeing the pediatric dentist regularly, you can avoid problems before they start and ensure that your child has a lifetime of healthy smiles.

When should your child see a dentist?

From the time their first tooth appears, children should be seen by a pediatric dentist at least once a year for regular checkups. At these visits, your child’s pediatric dentist will screen for signs of developing oral health problems and make sure that any dental problems are diagnosed early to minimize issues with future treatment. If necessary, he or she may place sealants on your child’s teeth to protect them from future decay.

Regularly scheduled dental visits are also important because they allow your child’s pediatric dentist to monitor the development of new teeth, watch for signs of tooth decay, and provide guidance on how best to clean your child’s teeth. During these appointments, your child’s pediatric dentist can also help you understand whether or not fluoride treatments would be helpful in protecting your child’s teeth and answer any questions you might have about caring for your child’s teeth.

Regular visits to a pediatric dentist can help you and your child develop good habits for brushing and flossing, which will contribute to healthy smiles now and well into the future. Pediatric dentists also screen for signs of oral health problems, such as tooth decay or oral cancer, and they can diagnose problems early when they are easier to treat. Most pediatric dentists provide sealants for the prevention of tooth decay on children’s teeth.

Tips for making a dental visit with a child

Schedule your child’s first dental visit early.

Most pediatric dentists recommend scheduling your child’s first appointment as soon as the first tooth appears or no later than his or her first birthday. Early visits help you develop good habits for brushing and flossing, which will contribute to healthy smiles now and into the future. Regular visits allow your pediatric dentist to monitor your child’s dental development and diagnose problems early when they can be easier to treat.

Attend all appointments and checkups – with or without your child.

Attending appointments and checkups with your child can help reduce the stress associated with visiting a pediatric dentist. Ask your child’s pediatric dentist any questions you have about caring for your teeth or teeth cleaning procedures so that you understand what is going to happen during the appointment.

Bring a favorite toy or blanket to comfort your child during the visit.

When you take a familiar item with you to appointments, it may help your child stay calm and more comfortable in the pediatric dentist’s office.

Even if they don’t like brushing their teeth, kids probably love getting stickers.

If you’re looking for a way to motivate your child, offering stickers or even small toys every time they brush might help. Just make sure they brush long enough (at least two minutes), twice per day. If you want to use this tactic, it’s important that your child brushes long enough; if not, you’ll be spending money on stickers for no reason.

If your child shows signs of anxiety during a dental visit, talk to his or her pediatric dentist about using nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Nitrous oxide is safe and effective when used by a trained professional who can monitor your child’s condition throughout the treatment. Nitrous oxide can help kids calm down and feel less anxious about dental care.

Other things that parents should know when it comes to their child’s oral health.

Pediatric dentists take special care when examining a child’s teeth because the developing teeth and gums are much more sensitive than those of adults. In addition, pediatric dentists have an understanding of child development that allows them to communicate effectively with your child in a way he or she will understand.

Research also suggests that children tend to be less scared of pain if they see their pediatric dentist regularly. So children tend to be more relaxed, and that’s good for them because it makes the procedure less stressful for them.

Tips on Preventing Tooth Decay and Cavities in Children 

One of the best ways to prevent cavities and tooth decay in children is by using good-quality toothpaste that contains fluoride. Toothpaste with fluoride cleans teeth, fights cavities, strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent future decay.

A recent study found that fluoride toothpaste does not cause fluorosis, a condition in which the tooth enamel becomes permanently stained. But this type of toothpaste should only be used by children under six years of age when good brushing habits have been learned and parents can supervise its use.

Do you need a child dentist to take care of your child’s teeth in Waterloo?

New parents should schedule a child’s first dental appointment early, as soon as the first tooth appears or no later than their 1st birthday. Early visits help to develop good habits for brushing and flossing which will contribute to healthy smiles now and into the future. Regular visits allow your pediatric dentist to monitor your child’s dental development and diagnose problems early when they can be easier to treat.

The Waterloo Emergency Dental Centre specializes in providing timely emergency and nonemergency dental care to residents of the Waterloo, Ontario region. Many dental issues must be treated straight away to avoid deterioration, which is why it is our goal to serve you as quickly as possible in order to avoid any discomfort or additional damage.

DISCLAIMER: The advice offered is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. It is in no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation. Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.