Monday, January 25, 2010

Why Choose a Pediatric Dentist?

Choosing any type of medical service provider in the era of managed health can prove challenging. It either involves pouring through pages of provider booklets or spending time online to find someone who accepts a particular insurance plan.

In terms of dentists, it can be difficult to discern pediatric dentists from regular practices, leaving individuals to wonder if they should bother seeking out a pediatric dentist at all.

Importance of Care

It is important to make children's dental health a priority. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that tooth decay is one of the most chronic diseases among children aged five to 17. Oral health problems affecting infants are no less serious.

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric Dentists specialize in the care of infants, children and adolescents. In the United States, pediatric dentists complete two years of residency in addition to their four years of dental training to become a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). Specialty education includes child psychology, behavior guidance, preventive techniques, restorative dentistry, interceptive and comprehensive care (braces), and the treatment of handicapped or chronically ill children. Residents also learn about the process of adolescent tooth replacement and the importance of regular care from a young age. A pediatric dentist is the only dentist completely qualified in delivering comprehensive children's dental care.

Apart from the training geared toward a younger patient, pediatric dental offices are also built around creating a comfortable environment for youngsters. Rather than the large, often imposing equipment of a family practice, pediatric offices have furniture and equipment in scale with a younger patient. There also may be items used to assuage the fears of children, including televisions, games and toys to divert attention from the procedures to come.

Guide to Children's Dental Care

Dental care should begin as soon as a child's first tooth erupts, generally around 6 months of age. A warm, wet washcloth can be used to clean the teeth and gums. If more than one tooth erupts, a small, soft-bristled toothbrush with warm water can be used to clean teeth.

Pediatricians generally recommend a child visit the dentist by the age of 1. A pediatric dentist can point out if teeth are developing properly and provide guidelines for care. He or she may also apply a dental sealant to prevent tooth caries in developing teeth.

When children are old enough to use a fluoride toothpaste, only a pea-sized amount should be used and the child should be supervised to minimize swallowing of the paste. As children get older, they should be encouraged to brush their teeth at least twice a day and learn flossing skills.

A pediatrician may have a listing of recommended pediatric dentists, making the search for a qualified, board-certified professional easier.

CAPTION: Pediatric dentists specialize in the care of younger patients and can help foster a lifelong comfort visiting the dentist.


Share on: facebook

No comments: