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Today, dentists estimate that about 26% of U.S. adults are suffering from untreated tooth decay. This may have begun during their younger years and progressed into adulthood. It is, therefore, advisable to start taking your child for regular visits to a pediatric dentist.
These visits are necessary to maintain your child’s oral health. Before you book an appointment, here is what you can expect when you visit a pediatric dental professional.
The American Dental Association recommends taking your child to a dentist between six months and one year of age. The initial visit may also be when you notice the first tooth emerge. It is essential to see a child dentist at this early stage to assess the risk of cavities and developmental issues that may occur as your child grows.
The American Dental Association also recommends regular visits to a pediatric dentist twice per year. Gum and jaw diseases can cause complications that could affect their speech and other aspects of their development. An examination of the gums and teeth will uphold the child’s oral health for years to come.
After the assessment, pediatric dentists may provide solutions and recommendations to prevent risks. The parent will get advice on nutrition and oral hygiene. If there are signs of an improper bite, the dentist may suggest you see an orthodontist for treatment.
Child dentists may also provide fluoride treatments to strengthen the enamel of your child’s teeth. Your child will typically undergo cleanings to prevent cavities whenever you go in.
Some children may have conditions that require specialized care. Jaw and gum problems may develop due to accidents or genetic reasons.
Your child dentist will be able to refer you to an orthodontist so that they can treat and recommend suitable braces for your child. The best time to correct jaw problems is after age 12 when they lose their baby teeth.
However, some conditions could be severe enough to call for immediate treatment. For example, if the child has lost too many baby teeth, it’s probably due to genetic reasons. Orthodontists will be able to come up with a solution to keep your child’s mouth healthy. Only orthodontists—not dentists—can treat crooked teeth.
Depending on the result of the dental exam, the dentist will offer recommendations to protect your baby’s health. Your child may develop oral health problems from a habit, such as thumb sucking or teeth grinding.
After the examination, you’ll sit with the dentist to evaluate the treatment options. Pediatric dentists are also responsible for teaching parents how to deal with problems like bruxism. Your dentist will explain the impact on oral health and why it is important to stick to the proper routine.
Children can develop a phobia of the dentist, especially if the dentist’s office interior is cold and formal, like a hospital setting. That’s why pediatric dentistry strives to create a child-friendly environment.
The design of tools and appliances has child-friendly features and aesthetics. A dentist for children may use terms that are more relatable to children. For example, they may refer to a drill as a tooth explorer. The challenge is to make your child comfortable enough to allow for an effective examination and treatment procedure.
Oral health has an impact on all aspects of our lives. A pediatric exam can prevent diseases and allow orthodontists to provide treatment where necessary. If there are already risks of complication, you’ll get a recommendation to an orthodontist or other specialist. The earlier you schedule a dental exam, the better it will be for you and your child.