Age Limit for Pediatric Dentists
A common question patients have is when they should stop seeing a pediatric dentist and transition to a regular adult dentist. Pediatric patients often feel very comfortable with their pediatric dentist and want to avoid changing providers as it makes them feel anxious. This article will review the age range for visiting a pediatric dentist and when to begin visiting a general dentist.
Parents should not feel anxious regarding these types of questions as they are completely normal. Both parents and children often ask about the appropriate age range for visiting the pediatric dentist.
Normal Age Range for Visiting the Pediatric Dentist
In most cases, a pediatric dentist will oversee care for children from about 6 months old until the child’s adult teeth have fully erupted. Children will typically develop their adult teeth until they are around 12-13 years old. Parents commonly elect for their children to continue receiving care from a pediatric dentist into their teenage years. Pediatric dentists are very familiar and qualified to treat issues related to adolescent oral development.
Some pediatric dentist also see adult patients and can serve as the family dental care provider. Pediatric dental offices often have the following:
- Specialized training and experience - Following completion of dental school, pediatric dentists are required to complete at least two additional years of training. This training focuses specifically on working with children and patients with special needs. Pediatric dentists are specifically educated on dental issues related to children and how to best treat them.
- Dental team – It is perfectly normal for children to be anxious and worried about their visit to the dentist. The staff at pediatric dental offices are trained be patient and comfort the child throughout the duration of their treatment. Pediatric dentists are also qualified to work with special needs patients.
- Dental office – Pediatric dental offices are often different from traditional dental offices in the way they decorate. Pediatric offices are usually bright and cheery. They may even have televisions near the chairs to help distract the child and put them at ease. The waiting rooms often contain books, games, and toys to help occupy the child or their siblings. The dental chairs are often smaller as well to accommodate the smaller patients.
According to the American Dental Association, it is recommended that children should start seeing a pediatric dentist as early as 6 months old or before their first birthday. New parents often overlook oral hygiene for their young child. Early intervention and prompt treatment is critical for all patients, especially young children.
Another important factor of a pediatric dentist is in training and educating the parent on good oral care and oral hygiene. Pediatric dentists are trained to answer questions and discuss normal oral development in children.
Pediatric Dentistry and Teenagers
Pediatric dentists often see teenagers in addition to younger children. In most cases, the patient will transition to an adult or family dentist prior to turning 18. General dentists are better suited to treat adult patients. In addition, the patient is usually ready to move on when they reach this age.