You’ve heard that to have  good dental health, you should brush twice a day, floss at least once a day, and see your dentist twice a year if possible.  As adults, we understand the consequences of not taking care of our teeth, like bad breath or tooth aches.  What about your child and the health of their teeth? When do you need to start taking your child to the dentist?  Do you wait until the first tooth cuts through or when all the baby teeth have fallen out?  When can your child start flossing or using mouthwash? How do you know if your kid has a dental emergency and where should you take them if they do? You need someone that understands your child’s dental needs.

Pediatric dentistry is a dentist that works on children from birth to adulthood, and is also qualified to work with children that may have special needs. To be a Pediatric Dentist, you must attend an additional two years of training after dental school to learn how to work with children and their specific issues. So if you are worried about your child being scared or not understood at the dentist, take them to a pediatric dentist.

Where Can I Find A Pediatric Dentist?

There a few places to find a pediatric dentist and you can start by asking your child’s pediatrician. At a checkup, they can observe your child’s oral health and recommend a dentist that they think could work for your child. Your personal dentist would also know of a pediatric dentist and could have one employed in his office.

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Reasons You Should Take Your Child To A Pediatric Dentist

  • You feel more comfortable knowing your dentist was specifically trained to work with children.
  • Your child is afraid or has had a bad experience at your regular dentist.
  • You are worried about how certain habits like thumb sucking are affecting your child’s teeth.
  • Yearly dental care such as cleaning the teeth and performing a fluoride treatment. If cavities or trouble spots are detected, these problems can be addressed.
  • Getting an opinion on whether your child will need their bite adjusted or teeth straightened with braces.
  • A dental emergency such as a cracked or knocked out tooth.
  • Your child has been diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and may have problems keeping proper oral hygiene

Your mouth is another avenue for your body to tell you that something isn’t working as it should.  If you are concerned for your child and understand how illnesses can adversely affect your oral health, a pediatric dentist will be able to calm your fears and work toward a solutions.  Conditions such as:

  • Hay fever: Hay fever causes nasal congestion which causes children to breath with their mouth. In time, the palate of the mouth can start to grow abnormally and cause the teeth to be crooked.
  • Asthma: Inhalers used to treat asthma can irritate the mouth and cause mouth ulcers that could lead to an infection. Children with asthma may also breathe with their mouth.
  • A congenital heart defect: Any bleeding in the mouth can allow bacteria to enter the blood steam and be a risk for those with heart conditions. It’s important for your dentist to know all preexisting conditions.
  • Diabetes: Those with diabetes have a higher risk of dental issues such as dry mouth, gum disease and infection.

Pediatric dentistry understands the stress you are under to make sure your children have healthy mouths. They can connect better with your children and help your child feel comfortable during your visit. Feel free to call ahead about the visit and ask what methods they use to make your child feel calm. Some offices may have a television in the field of vision and are able to play your child’s favorite movie during the visit. Voice your concerns if your child needs any serious dental work and go over all the options available to you. Ask about a back-up plan if a certain numbing agent doesn’t work or if your child won’t breathe in the gas. Put your mind at ease so that you can be there for your child if they need you.