What is a Children’s Dentist Called?

A pediatric dentist focuses on children’s oral health. A child includes patients beginning at infancy through their teenage years. Pediatric dentists have specific qualifications and experience which focus on caring for children’s teeth, gums, and mouth throughout their childhood.

While it can vary, most children get their baby teeth at some point in their first six months. Around the age of 6 or 7, children will begin to lose their primary or baby teeth. These baby teeth are then replaced by the secondary, or permanent adult teeth. When children fail to receive proper dental care, they can experience tooth decay and disease which can lead to discomfort and complications throughout their life. Dental caries in children, which is considered an infectious disease, is currently 5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever.

Training and Pediatric Dentists

At a minimum, all pediatric dentists are required to complete four years of dental school and two additional years of residency training. The residency training focuses on dentistry for infants, children, teens, and patients who have special needs or disabilities.

The following are various treatments and services that pediatric dentists typically provide:

  • Comprehensive oral health care
  • Infant oral health exams, including the assessment of risk for dental caries in the mother and child
  • Preventive dental care such as professional cleanings and fluoride treatments
  • Provide nutritional guidance and recommendations on the patient’s diet
  • Counseling on certain habits which effect children such as the use of pacifiers and thumb sucking
  • Provide assessments and initial orthodontic treatments for adjusting crooked teeth and correcting an improper bite
  • Repair tooth cavities or defects
  • Diagnose of oral conditions which are affiliated with certain diseases. This can include diabetes, congenital heart defects, asthma, hay fever, and attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder
  • Aid in managing gum disease and certain conditions which may include ulcers or pediatric periodontal disease
  • Treatment and care of dental injuries such as a fracturing a tooth, displacing a tooth, or teeth which are knocked out

Finding a Pediatric Dentist

Because of the broad spectrum of their practice, pediatric dentists often practice in various locations. This can include a private practice, dental school, or medical center. The child’s pediatrician can be an excellent resource for finding a good pediatric dentist in your area.

Pediatric Dentists & Care for Children

Unfortunately, it is not fair to define children as small adults or have the same expectations in a dental visit. Children often have a low tolerance for dental exams and struggle with being patient. They may find it quite difficult to cooperate during a dental exam. Pediatric dentists are specially trained in how to complete examinations and provide excellent care for children. The goal for the pediatric dentist is to ensure the child receive necessary treatment and remains as comfortable as possible. Pediatric dentists also use equipment which is specially designed to be accommodating and welcoming to children.

Pediatric dentists provide children with a wide variety of different treatments and care. In addition, they have special expertise and training in caring for the teeth, gums, and mouth of children. When it is time for your child to have their first dental exam, rest assured that they are in good hands with the pediatric dentist who will provide them with excellent care.

At what age should I start bringing my child to the dentist?