It may not be too surprising to know that your pediatric dentist will be able to answer all of your questions regarding oral care for your infant or young child. Just like a general dentist, a pediatric dentist is certified to work on your teeth and gums, as well as provide medical advice regarding oral health. However, a pediatric dentist is specially equipped to care for younger patients. Pediatric dentists must have an additional 2-3 year residency program that involves care with babies, children, and adolescents, giving them the qualifications necessary to answer questions specific to the growing needs of your child’s oral health.
For new parents, speaking with and taking your child to a pediatric dentist is a wise idea, especially if you’re having questions on what to do for your child’s dental needs and how to handle specific problems pertaining to your child’s teeth. For example, your pediatric dentist will be able to help with issues pertaining to tooth eruption, childhood brushing and flossing methods, orthodontic concerns (but not the administration of braces), and what to do in the case of an emergency.
When your child’s teeth start to erupt, your pediatric dentist will be able to provide you detailed information on how to care for those teeth before the full set comes in and after they have all erupted. If you are concerned that your child’s teeth are coming in late, or have been slow to come in, your pediatric dentist will answer your concerns and offer guidance on what to expect.
Once the teeth have come in, your pediatric dentist can also provide advice on how to care for baby teeth until the permanent ones begin to erupt. If your child happens to lose a permanent tooth, chip one, or otherwise harm them, your pediatric dentist is also skilled in repairing lost or damaged teeth.
You can also get advice on getting your child to break habits that may have long-term effects on their oral health, such as improper brushing/flossing techniques or thumb sucking. These can have adverse consequences, as poor hygiene will eventually lead to tooth decay and plaque buildup, perhaps resulting in cavities or tooth extraction in extreme circumstances. Thumb sucking can lead to a myriad of problems, such as exposure to germs, speech impediments, overbite, and poor relationships with peers (from ridicule or self-esteem issues). Curbing behavior at a young age is essential to long-term well-being, so asking your pediatric dentist for advice on how to break the habit may prove valuable if your child sucks their thumb or isn’t brushing/flossing their teeth properly.
All in all, your pediatric dentist is an amazing resource that all parents should take advantage of for the continued health of their child. Oral health affects all other aspects of one’s life, so keeping the mouth, teeth, and gums happy is essential to keeping one’s body happy. The earlier you reach out to and begin seeing a pediatric dentist, the better off your child will be!