Spring Quarterly Newsletter
Dr. Camps Pediatric Dental Center | Robert D. Camps, DDS | Providing pediatric dentistry in the Silver Spring, Burtonville, White Oak, Beltsville and Colesville, MD areas as well as the surrounding areas in Maryland.
Dr. Camps Spring 2011 Newsletter: Volume 4, Issue 1
The Pediatric Dentist Will See You Now
Your relationship with wellness starts the minute you see a plus sign. Youíre likely to visit your doctor during pregnancy more times than youíve been to the doctor in your entire adult life up until then. After you have the baby, the pattern continues for your little one. Those first few years of a childís life are filled with constant well visits to the pediatrician. It often feels like you've just scheduled a checkup, and itís already time for the next! At each visit, you talk with your pediatrician about developmental milestones and any problems or concerns you have about your child. You learn about everything from nutrition and discipline to fear of the dark. Your well visits are proactive and all geared toward making sure your little one is developing, thriving, and happyóand that you are staying sane!
A pediatric dentist plays the very same role. As with your prenatal visits and your pediatrician visits, only rarely is kidsí dentistry about reacting. Itís proactive maintenance and education about your childís oral health. Pediatric dentistry is not really about ìtreatmentî in those early years, says pediatric dentist Rhea Haugseth, DMD, of Post Oak Pediatric Dentistry in Marietta, Georgia, and president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. ìItís really about educating the parent on what to do to keep your child in optimal oral health.î The idea that you only start taking your child to the dentist once theyíre in school (or if there is something wrong) is misleading. And itís likely to lead to problems down the road.
Benefits of Seeing the Pediatric Dentist
More than ever, dentists are integrative medicine specialists, with the teeth as just one avenue to focus on overall health. The earlier you can get that process started for your child, the better. Early visits (in the first three years of life) that establish a relationship with a children's dentist have many benefits.
It establishes a dental home. Early well visits to a pediatric dentist get your child comfortable with the process of seeing a dentist and having someone fiddle with their mouth. If something happens down the road (an issue with their teeth or a trauma), they already have an established place to go. Itís comfort for your child and peace of mind for you.
You can avoid the first experience being traumatic. It's really hard if in the very first visit, your toddler has a trauma and they are scared, frightened, bleeding and have a tooth knocked out. ìThatís definitely more of a challenge,î Dr. Haugseth says. Of course, your childís dentist will do everything possible to make your little one comfortable and calm fears, but the combination of trauma and a new environment/new person can set up lifelong fears about going to the dentist.
It's an environment engineered specifically for children. Not only does a pediatric dentist have specialized training (two-to-three more years than required for general dentistry) which makes them more tuned into behavioral quirks and kidsí psychology, the office is also set up for kidsí dentistry. The waiting rooms and treatment rooms are baby- and toddler-friendly (much the same way your pediatricianís office is set up for little ones, whereas your primary care physicianís may not be).
It lays the foundation for preventive care. Parents often question whether itís necessary to see kids so little, when they only barely have teeth. ìWe do know that prevention works. In fact, dentistry is a great example of preventive techniques that work,î Dr. Haugseth says.
Investing time now saves money down the road. Pediatric dentist costs vary greatly (depending on part of the country) and what your dental insurance covers. But what doesnít vary is the return on investment. Recent studies show that seeing a child by age one and teaching the parent about good nutrition and preventive care (brushing and flossing), and regularly assessing kids' oral health wound up saving a great deal of money over the next four to five years of the childís life because it prevents future fillings (which arenít cheap), Dr. Haugseth says. It's cost-effective medicine.
You learn how to better take care of your childís teeth. It's not necessarily intuitive to figure out the best way to brush your wee oneís teeth (especially when they turn up their nose at the toothbrush). A visit to the pediatric dentist can train you how to best approach oral health for your childóboth from a hands-on and a psychological perspective.
You'll get educated about behavioral habits that can lead to tooth decay. Much of those early visits to the pediatric dentist revolve around diet counseling: when sugary snacks and drinks are appropriate, and when (and how) they can add up to kids' tooth decay if you donít manage them properly. It's not uncommon for children very young (two or three) to get cavities, but it always has to do with diet and how brushing/flossing are managed.
Ask your pediatrician for recommendations for a pediatric dentist in your area. You can also visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (www.aapd.org) and search for pediatric dentists there.
Infants and Toddlers Should See Dentist
By United Press International, Inc
Mouth ProtectorsFrom the AAPD for Spring/Summer sports season...
Q: What are athletic mouth protectors?
A: Athletic mouth protectors, or mouth guards, are made of soft plastic. They are adapted to fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth.
Q: Why are mouth guards important?
A: Mouth guards hold top priority as sports equipment. They protect not just the teeth, but the lips, cheeks, and tongue. They help protect children from such head and neck injuries as concussions and jaw fractures. Increasingly, organized sports are requiring mouth guards to prevent injury to their athletes. Research shows that most oral injuries occur when athletes are not wearing mouth protection.
Q: When should my child wear a mouth guard?
A: Whenever he or she is in an activity with a risk of falls or of head contact with other players or equipment. This includes football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, skateboarding, even gymnastics. We usually think of football and hockey as the most dangerous to the teeth, but nearly half of sports-related mouth injuries occur in basketball and baseball.
Q: How do I choose a mouth guard for my child?
A: Any mouth guard works better than no mouth guard. So, choose a mouth guard that your child can wear comfortably. If a mouth guard feels bulky or interferes with speech, it will be left in the locker room.
You can select from several options in mouth guards. First, preformed or "boil-to-fit" mouth guards are found in sports stores. Different types and brands vary in terms of comfort, protection, and cost. Second, customized mouth guards are provided through your pediatric dentist. They cost a bit more, but are more comfortable and more effective in preventing injuries. Your pediatric dentist can advise you on what type of mouth guard is best for your child.