The need to keep healthy teeth starts from a young age. Therefore, parents have the responsibility of maintaining the oral health of their kids. Such expectations are not achievable unless one relies on a professional who is experienced in children's oral health. A pediatric dentist would be the best expert to fill that vital role. We at Encino Dentist are ready to offer the best services that match your expectations.

Definition of Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric dentistry can be explained as a dentistry specialty that has adopted the techniques and procedures from general dentistry to provide comprehensive oral care to children. The medical professionals responsible for delivering such services are pediatric dentists. They treat a broad range of oral conditions and diseases that affect infants, children, and adolescents. They also offer services to patients who need specialized health care needs.

Qualification for a Pediatric Dentist

For a pediatric dentist to be fully recognized as a licensed practitioner, he or she must have completed a four-year course in dental school and took two more years in residency training in pediatric dentistry. During the residency training, the dentist trains in numerous orthodontic teeth straightening methods and other essential services. Once the dentist has completed the training, he or she becomes eligible for licensing by a recognized body related to this practice, such as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry ( AAPD).

Difference between a Pediatric Dentist and a Regular Dentist

There is a significant difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist. As explained in the definition, pediatric dentists are well- acquainted with the oral needs of children and can adopt the necessary intervention to handle them accordingly.

In that case, they are reliable when it comes to treating active dental diseases, tooth decay, and caries by providing far much better and definitive treatment that is custom to children.

This is unlike family dentists who are qualified to offer dentistry services but limited to the needs of children. In a situation where a general dentist has to handle a child, one must require further research from the parents about the child's oral health records and would fail to use the right interventions that suit children.

The Age of Most Pediatric Dentist Patient

The best period to start taking your child to a pediatric dentist is once the tooth erupts from the gums, which is usually around six months. You should schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist at this time to start your infant oral care as soon as possible.

This would be the best consideration to make since you will have an opportunity to learn excellent oral care for your infant as well as having the teeth checked by the dentist. Also, you will have the dentist review your tooth brushing techniques and help you adopt relevant techniques that are suitable for your child's teeth.

Interestingly, there is no standard age limit provided that defines when one should stop visiting a pediatric dentist. Some patients prefer to visit pediatric dentists all through their teenage until they reach their early adulthood. All the same, the decision to shift from the pediatric dentist to a regular one solely depends on the comfort that one has with the pediatric dentist.

 Most children prefer to maintain their pediatric dentists since they create a good rapport with them from their childhood and feel comfortable with them. Furthermore, a pediatric dentist would be more familiar with the oral health history of the patient, which is a good thing during treatment.

Services Offered by Pediatric Dentists

There is a wide range of services offered by pediatric dentists. Most of the services provided in pediatric dentistry focus on pediatric oral education, prevention of oral diseases, and treatment of common childhood oral diseases and conditions. Here is a detailed view of the services that a pediatric dentist can offer.

Comprehensive Dental Examination

The process of comprehensive dental exams varies according to the age of the child and the treatment needs at hand. Between six months and one year, the dentist would likely consider the following:

  • Evaluate the oral hygiene of your child based on eating habits, drinking, and overall health
  • Demonstrate proper dental cleaning techniques
  • look for bumps or sores on the tongue of your child, at the roof of the mouth and inside the cheeks
  • Evaluate the effects of habits such as thumb sucking and using a pacifier

During the toddler, school-age and adolescence, the hygienist or dentist might consider the following:

  • Take a digital dental X-ray if necessary or take other diagnostic procedures
  • Look for problems in the lower and upper teeth of the child and check whether the teeth fit well
  • Counsel children against habits such as nail-biting, jaw clenching and thumb sucking
  • Recommend pre-orthodontic treatment such as braces and special mouthpieces that can adjust the child's bite.

Dental Cleaning

It is essential to clean the teeth of your child, even at his or her tender age. The dentist uses specific devices and instruments that can help in removing stains, tartar, and plaque that could have build up on your kid's teeth. Along with this service, the dentist will talk about healthy oral habits such as flossing, smart snacking, and brushing. Dental cleaning should be done at least once every three months to guarantee excellent results.

Dental Filling

A dental filling is a dental restoration process that restores the natural nature of teeth. The ultimate goal of such a procedure is having teeth that are resistant to fracture, durable, and can withstand moderate pressure from constant chewing. However, one can avoid dental filing by observing the primary prevention measures that protect the teeth from damage. This includes brushing and flossing daily, eating a healthy diet, limiting snacks, and visiting the dentist regularly.

Tooth Extraction

Milk teeth are supposed to come out naturally, but in some cases, they might not. This occurs when the teeth are damaged or severely decayed, and the baby teeth start to crown the adult teeth as they come in. In such cases, it is recommended to remove the teeth to avoid any complications. Tooth extraction is not as scary as it sounds but is a simple procedure that you should not worry about.

The process starts with an X-ray to check the condition of the tooth and the bone. Then, the dentist administers local anesthesia to the patient. Finally, the dentist removes the tooth using forceps by moving it inside the socket and rotating it until the periodontal ligaments detach.

In a difficult extraction, the dentist might decide to remove some of the gum tissues around the tooth to extract the tooth. Such a procedure involves sedation using nitrous oxide gas, which is the safest option for children undergoing complex dental procedures.

Dental Sealant

A dental sealant is a thin coating from a special plastic that is applied on the chewing surface of the teeth. The back teeth have the highest possibilities of decaying, and it is necessary to take an extra step to protect them. Therefore, with a sealant, germs and food particles cannot get stuck to the groove of the teeth, reducing the chances of tooth decay.

The sealant can be applied to the permanent molars of your child between six to twelve years. Once it is applied, it lasts for five to ten years, and it is vital to have the dentist check on it during your regular visits. Your child should as well maintain oral hygiene habits, eat healthily, and use regular dental cleaning.

Sports Mouthguard

Children start to engage in sports once they reach adolescence stage. The best way to protect their upper teeth at this stage of their life is by using a mouthguard. This device is essential for high contact sports such as hockey, baseball, football, and scrimmage. It is necessary to seek the help of a pediatric dentist while picking such a device to ensure that it matches with the dental alignment of your kid.

Fluoride Treatment

Any mouth contains bacteria that feed on sugars in the beverage drinks and food that we take. As a result, acid is produced and can wear away the enamel. This will eventually become a cavity. Fluoride is necessary for protecting teeth to become stronger and more resistant to acid. It can also reverse any early signs of cavities.

Kids at the age of eight are at risk of dental fluoroscopic, which is caused by too much fluoride in teeth as they form beneath the gum and before they appear. Such situations occur when kids swallow toothpaste while brushing and fail to rinse their mouth accordingly. If the condition has become severe, the dentist might recommend a fluoride treatment.

The dentist paints a thin layer of fluoride on the varnish of your kid's teeth. The fluoride varnish is a sticky yellow substance that has a pleasant taste. It takes about thirty minutes for the varnish to set in. Your kid will be asked to avoid taking food or drinking anything during this period.

Benefits of Choosing a Pediatric Dentist

One of the significant benefits of visiting a pediatric is their gentle nature. Just imagine how overwhelming it seems to visit a dentist as an adult and the experience that a child might have. Admittedly, it requires someone who has the experience and has the know-how to deal with kids. Here are a couple of benefits that a pediatric dentist has over a family dentist when it comes to kids.

  1. Pediatric Dentists Have a Welcoming Environment

Most regular dentist clinics appear to be sterile and medical. Such an appearance can leave an intimidating environment for your kid, which can cause bad memories and distress.

However, with a pediatric dental office, the environment is kid-friendly, and kids are not afraid to visit such places. Most pediatric dentist offices have cute designs, fantasy worlds, toys, and animals. Such an environment will help them feel comfortable, avoid any phobias, and remain calm.

  1. Staff are Trained to Deal with Kids

If you have been in a typical dental appointment, you probably are familiar with the cold brushes of the receptionist, nurses, or dentists themselves. As an adult, you are immune to such emotional experiences and would visit your dentist later on. This is different from kids, and they might end up feeling uncomfortable in such an environment.

However, with pediatric dentists, the experience is different since their staff is trained to soothe kids when they become hysterical. Such staff are also familiar with children with special needs such as ADHD or autism and would use the right techniques to soothe them during dental treatment.

  1. Pediatric Dentists Know how to Take Care of Primary Teeth

Naturally, primary teeth are required to fall off once the adult teeth start to pop out of the gum. However, not all primary teeth fall out as expected. Pediatric dentists know how to deal with such a situation and would use the right measures to deal with stubborn primary teeth and avoid further damage.

  1. Pediatrics Make Their Services Fun

Kids do not love flossing and brushing. However, pediatric dentists know how to teach them how to floss and brush in a fun way. Kids are more responsive to an authoritative figure more than their parents. You would be surprised how your kids are eager to follow through the recommended oral hygiene practices as instructed by the pediatric dentist more than they take heed to your instructions. Therefore, considering such an expert would be an excellent fit in ensuring that your kid's oral health remains to point.

  1. Pediatric Dentists Minimize Pain and Fear in Their Practice

Cavities are inevitable during the lifetime of your kids. When it comes to such a situation, your child might require to undergo a treatment such as dental sealing or filing to deal with the cavity. A pediatric would be the best option for such a situation since they have the technique to minimize pain and feat to their patients. Going through a pediatric dentistry treatment minimize the lasting fear that children develop when they undergo a horrifying dental treatment.

Find an Encino Dentist Near Me

Every parent expects to maintain the best oral health for their kids. It is hard to achieve such an expectation without the help of a professional pediatric dentist. We at Encino Dentist are ready to offer the best pediatric dentistry services to people living within Encino, CA. Contact us at 818-650-0429 to make an appointment with us.