Pediatric dentistry encompasses a range of treatment options for various dental and oral issues that a child faces as he or she grows, regardless of their age. At Washington Dental, our pediatric dental professionals understand that a child is not simply a young adult. They require specialized treatment to ensure proper dental and oral hygiene as they continue to grow. With our extensive experience in serving the dental needs of children, we have earned a reputation in the city of Lomita, CA, and its surrounding areas. Get in touch with us to connect with our pediatric dentists.
An Overview of Pediatric Dentistry
The field of pediatric dentistry focuses on the general dental and oral health of children and newborns. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) states that all parents have a responsibility to provide their children with optimal oral and dental health.
It is recommended that parents of newborn babies have their first dental checkup with a pediatric dental professional before the child's first tooth erupts or before his or her birthday. Baby teeth, also referred to as primary teeth, usually start emerging around 6 months, though some infants are born with as many as two of these teeth already in place.
Suppose any of the primary teeth have developed. In that case, you should have a pediatric dental professional assess the child's overall oral health to make sure there aren't any infections or potential issues that could interfere with the child's future tooth eruption cycle. Even if you regularly floss and clean your baby's teeth, taking him or her to a dentist regularly will allow him or her to develop good oral health skills and knowledge from a young age.
Pediatric dentists, unlike any regular dentist, have more experience learning and acquiring skills to handle children and newborns who require specific attention and care for oral and dental healthcare issues. Pediatric dentists can care for your child's dental and oral health needs during their childhood and teenage phases before transferring them to any other dental professional of your choosing.
There are various advantages to introducing a child to pediatric dentistry at an early age, as you will discover as you read on.
Tips for Getting Your Child Ready for Pediatric Dentistry
Scheduling an appointment with your pediatric dental professional is essential for the dental and overall health of your child. However, you should start preparing your child and familiarizing him/her with the surroundings that can be expected in a dentist’s clinic to alleviate the child's concerns. Dental fear affects both adults and children, and it begins at an early age.
If you're not sure how to best prepare your loved one for his or her first dentist appointment, consult with the potential pediatric dentist. During your child's first dental check-up, an experienced pediatric dentist can advise you on the best ways to assist him or her in overcoming any anxiety or dental fear.
Taking your child to a dentist for the first time could seem stressful, but you can help ease his or her anxiety by following these general guidelines.
A parent’s dental phobia could make a child have a negative attitude about dental appointments. As a result, if dental checkups make you uneasy and anxious, you need to be cautious not to show these worries to your child. Avoid discussing any negative dental experiences you might have encountered with your child under any circumstances.
Discussing dentist checkups with a child should be done in a cheerful tone. Avoid making suspicious or negative statements, as these can increase the child's anxiety about the unexpected. To make a child excited for this important appointment, wear a pleasant face and make use of cheerful terms throughout your visit to the pediatric clinic.
Go through Dental Appointment-Related Videos or Magazines
You could choose to read books or magazines about dental checkups for your child. This can help to reinforce or support your belief that visiting a dentist is a fun and valuable experience. You can also make your story more entertaining by telling them about a dental professional who enjoys playing with young children and counting their teeth.
Additionally, several video clips on visiting a dentist's office could help prepare your child psychologically for his or her initial oral examination. You can help your child engage with the characters by watching the videos together on your computer or mobile device.
If a child notices his or her favorite character in the videos on visiting dentists to maintain their dental health, he or she will be more willing and eager to meet with the pediatric dentist. This method might help you prepare your loved one for his or her first dentist visit by giving him or her an idea of what to expect.
Schedule Your Child's First Pediatric Dental Appointment Wisely
Although carefully planning your child's dental appointment with a pediatric dental professional won't prepare the child for the appointment, it could make him or her compliant and ready to see a dentist on the appointment day or time. It’s recommended to plan your child's session with a pediatric dental practitioner when he or she is happy. The best time to set up your child's dentist appointment could be right after taking a nap or eating a meal.
Note that if the child is hungry or exhausted, he or she will probably find it challenging during his or her appointment with the pediatric dentist. As a result, it's prudent to plan your loved one's first dental checkup session with a pediatric dental professional while keeping in mind their overall attitude and mood.
Engage in Some Similar Games with Them
Help your child prepare for his or her visit to the dentist's clinic by playing games focused on dental hygiene and how it promotes healthy teeth and gums. For example, you could engage in a game whereby you're the dental professional and he or she is your patient. You can encourage him or her to adopt appropriate oral hygiene practices while performing this part to avoid infections in the mouth.
After that, you may take on the part of the patient and allow him/her to play the part of a dental professional, which he or she would most likely desire. Your child might be more ready to participate in these enjoyable activities if you prepare them in advance. This will help the dentist do his or her job more efficiently and smoothly.
Leave the Dental Office
Although you may feel compelled to remain in the room with the child and hold his or her hand during the session, it's best to leave once the dental professional begins to inspect his or her dental condition. If you stay in the office, the child would most likely want the parent's concentration during the assessment and therapy processes, reducing the dental professional's productivity and ability to offer the best outcomes.
Leaving the room can help prepare your loved one for a dentist visit as well as make him or her feel comfortable and relaxed about dealing with this fresh and thrilling experience. Also, remember to get yourself ready for the dentist appointment as your child's visit approaches.
The most crucial element of preparation as a parent is informing the potential pediatric dentist about your baby's medical records since childbirth to evade any issues during the dental checkup or treatment.
Allow Your Loved One to Have a Conversation With the Dentist Before the Appointment
Pediatric dental professionals have specialized training and expertise in dealing with kids and may be able to get your baby excited and hopeful about his or her initial oral checkup. While it may be irresistible to speak on behalf of the child during their dental session, it is ideal to allow them to build a connection with the dental professional, especially if they are 3 years old or older.
A dentist could get hints about any oral or dental health problems your child might be having if you let him or her talk throughout the consultation. The dentist's connection with the child could get delayed, but a skilled dentist will grasp and record essential information to establish an accurate diagnosis of your child's general dental health.
What You Can Expect During A Child's Pediatric Dental Visit
Pediatric dentistry offers a variety of services. However, the following are the common things that you can anticipate during a child's dentist appointment:
Oral Health Examination
When you first visit your pediatric dental professional, he or she would want to assess your loved one's dental and oral health. The goal of this examination is to assess the child's current oral condition so that the right dental and oral treatment or healthcare can be given if there's any dangerous infection or anomaly.
During a child's dental health assessment, the dentist can determine if they are vulnerable to dental infections such as caries, which can be fatal even in adults. The pediatric dentist uses your baby's first dental health assessment to schedule future dental appointments. This implies that the dentist will be able to notice any changes in a child's dental and oral health during subsequent consultations for proper treatment options.
Once the baby's teeth have erupted through the gums, you can start brushing them. Cleaning your baby's teeth at home is a vital part of ensuring his or her dental and oral health. However, as the child grows older, it is recommended to take him or her to a pediatric dental practitioner frequently to teach them the value of regular dental hygiene and to maintain their oral hygiene.
A pediatric dental professional can gently clean the inner parts of your baby's mouth with special dental instruments to get rid of any hidden particles of food, which could offer an ideal environment for germs to thrive.
A baby should see a pediatric dental professional every 6 months for comprehensive teeth and mouth cleaning to get rid of any tartar or plaque that makes him or her vulnerable to dental cavities and infections.
Although fluoride treatment is not considered a must in pediatric dentistry, it could help prevent oral cavities or diseases, which are common dental concerns in babies. Fluoride plays a vital role in eliminating dental caries or cavities since it modifies the molecular composition of a baby's teeth, which renders them less susceptible to acid attack or decay.
A pediatric dentist has to use extreme caution throughout this treatment technique since excessive amounts of fluoride on a baby's teeth may cause fluorosis.
Treatment for Teething Issues
If a baby is experiencing teething issues, such as delayed teeth eruption, a skilled pediatric dentist could offer a remedy. Your child's teeth and jaws have to grow appropriately as he or she grows for him or her to take in solid foods.
Allowing a dentist to assess your baby's oral cavity regularly during the teething process will ensure a smooth and healthy tooth eruption. Teething is critical to the development of a baby's speech as well as his or her ability to communicate.
Treatment of Dental Caries and Cavities
The deterioration of a tooth's surface due to acidic secretions produced by oral bacterial activity is known as dental caries, also known as decay. Babies are more susceptible to dental cavities and caries than adults since their oral hygiene skills aren't similar. Furthermore, young ones are likely to consume sugary and sticky meals, which create an ideal and favorable environment for germs to thrive.
The most effective way to make sure your loved one doesn't develop cavities or dental caries is to have regular checkups with a pediatric dental professional. Although a baby's teeth aren't permanent, it's important to preserve them from cavities or caries since the underlying infections are persistent and could infiltrate his or her healthy gums if left untreated.
A dentist might recommend any of these dental treatments for cavities or caries, depending on their severity:
- Dental restoration, including dental crown and filling placement.
- When a child has a cavity that is not too severe, fluoride treatment could help repair the damage to the tooth's enamel.
- Root canal treatment.
- Extraction of teeth.
Treatment and Care For Dental Injuries
Pediatric dentists can also provide treatment and care for oral injuries, which can often be unforeseen. There are numerous causes of oral injuries. However, for young ones, the most common reason is trauma to the face from a fall while walking or playing. The following are the most common dental injuries in children:
- Fractured teeth.
- Cracked teeth.
- Chipped teeth.
Based on the nature of a child's oral injury, a dentist can provide an effective solution in just one session. However, checkups and therapy might be required to ensure that the tooth heals and functions normally with other neighboring natural teeth.
Pediatric dentists might use the following treatment approaches to address your child's oral injury:
- Filling made of composite materials.
- Anti-inflammatory medication administration.
- A root canal is necessary if there is concern for infection in the tooth pulp.
- Tooth extraction if damage is extensive or the tooth's roots are weakened.
Treatment for Tooth Misalignment or Malocclusion
In cosmetic dentistry, a "poor bite" is referred to as malocclusion, and it occurs when the upper and lower teeth are not properly aligned when closed together. The following are some of the contributing factors to tooth misalignment in children:
- Continued improper oral habits, such as thumb sucking.
- Oral tumors in a child's mouth.
- Tooth decay.
- Breathing through the mouth.
- Using bottle-feeders for an extended period.
Aside from its adverse influence on a child's smiling appearance, untreated malocclusion can result in serious oral health concerns, such as decay, since it is difficult to uphold good oral hygiene.
Since tooth misalignment is a chronic dental health problem, regular checkups with your child's dentist can aid in its diagnosis and treatment. A mild malocclusion might not require therapy, whereas a moderate-to-severe malocclusion would entail the installation of braces. A child's teeth can be gradually realigned with the help of braces, alleviating any discomfort or pain and preventing future dental problems.
Before your baby's pediatric dentistry visit or session is over, the dentist will advise you on important tips to follow at home to safeguard your child's dental condition until the next checkup. Examples of the important points, your baby's pediatric dentist would go over include:
- Importance of minimizing the usage of bottle feeders when feeding your child.
- The significance of serving a balanced, nutritious diet to your loved one to prevent dental caries.
- The significance of brushing and cleaning his or her teeth using fluoride toothpaste or fluoridated water.
- The significance of scheduling regular dentist visits to assess the child's dental condition.
These suggestions are critical to laying a solid and healthy oral foundation for a baby as he or she grows into adulthood.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Competent Pediatric Dental Professional for Your Child's Oral Health
Finding a trustworthy pediatric dental professional for your baby's routine oral screening and examinations is important to receive the best results at each pediatric dentistry session. The following elements can assist you in selecting the most suitable pediatric dental professional for your baby's dental health needs:
Membership and Accreditation in any Relevant Dentistry Organization
A reputable dentist should have certifications from several related dentistry associations to demonstrate that his or her service quality is outstanding. If you're concerned that your kid's dentist might not be qualified to treat your kid, don't be afraid to ask about his or her membership in the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and other similar organizations.
Dentist Qualifications and Experience
It is important to seek out a dentist who has the necessary training for handling children. This is because not every dental practitioner specializes in that specific field of dentistry. A determined and reliable pediatric dentist stays updated on all aspects of his or her career through continuing education to acquire the necessary expertise to provide outstanding dental service to his or her clients.
Pick a pediatric dental professional who is competent in his or her abilities to deal with a child's dental healthcare needs throughout the teen years, and he or she is ready to show you certificates of completion from accredited programs.
Aside from the essential qualification certifications, you might also like to learn about the pediatric dental professional's qualifications for this particular dentistry specialization. A dentist with many years of expertise in this discipline knows how to treat children comfortably to provide the best dental healthcare services at each appointment.
The Reputation of the Pediatric Dentist
Negative and positive remarks from previous patients can provide you with an idea of the standard of care you can expect when you schedule your loved one's dental checkup with the dentist. Take your time and do some research to find a reputable pediatric dentist by reading reviews on review sites and social media from past patients.
Pediatric Dentistry and Teledentistry
Teledentistry refers to a technology that enables patients and dentists to interact virtually without the need for patients to visit a dental clinic. Teledentistry makes it possible for pediatric dentists to provide a number of common dental services to their patients, including those listed below so that parents can safeguard their children's oral health without leaving the comfort of their own homes.
- Medication and oral examinations.
- Pre-surgery examinations.
- Preventative dental and oral healthcare.
- Emergency services.
- Monitoring at home and orthodontics.
A pediatric dental professional is able to assess your child's dental condition without setting up office appointments thanks to the numerous features of teledentistry. Teledentistry solutions are cost-effective and easily accessible, making them an appealing and dependable option for individuals with hectic schedules.
Teledentistry technology improves over time, and it's anticipated to incorporate more virtual solutions in the future to improve the interaction between dentists and patients.
Contact a Professional Pediatric Dentist Near Me
Children are often assumed to be immune to dental issues, but this is not the case. To ensure that your loved one grows up with a beautiful smile, it is important to start teaching them about proper oral and dental health practices at an early age. That is crucial because our childhood and adolescent years shape our adult lives.
Our warm and welcoming team at Washington Dental in Lomita, CA, is ready to assist you with any concerns or questions you may have regarding pediatric dentistry. You can call us today at 310-326-5183 to book your free initial consultation with one of our professional pediatric dentists.