A pediatric dentist has additional training beyond regular dental school so they are better equipped to handle the development and care of children’s teeth.
A child’s teeth go through different stages of development: their first set of teeth grown in, then they fall out, and then their new set grows in. A pediatric dentist is trained to handle all these different stages of development as well as educate kids through the process.
What’s Unique About Kids Dental Visits?
Depending on the age of the child, what occurs at a dental visit may vary. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child should make their first dentist visit by their first birthday. This visit will focus on making sure your child’s teeth are not at risk of cavities and the dentist will be able to provide information on proper care for your child’s teeth as they grow in.
There are also a number of unique dental issues that occur in a child between the ages of one to three. Some of these include teething and early baby teeth development. As a result of these age-specific problems, a dentist with the proper experience in these areas should be used. A regular dentist may not have as much knowledge about the early stages of a child’s teeth development as a pediatric dentist does.
Around the age of 4 or 5, all of your child’s baby teeth should be in, and the visits will start to focus on making sure their teeth are healthy and clean. Also, it is very important that each child learns the proper techniques for oral care such as brushing and flossing.
Starting around 6 years old to the age of 12, your child’s baby teeth should begin falling out and their permanent teeth will begin to grow in. During this visit ,it will be important to see that the permanent teeth are growing in properly and that there are no complications. Once all the teeth are fully grown in regular visits will be general check ups to make sure no cavities are forming and that your child’s teeth are nice and healthy!
3 Fun Facts About Pediatric Specialist
- Extra School – Pediatric dental specialists go to school for an extra 2-3 years after regular dental school! They train specifically to treat children’s teeth at different stages of their development and learn about working with children with special needs. Dr. Payam (the BEST pediatric dentist specialist stafford) earned his Doctor in Dental Surgery in 2000 and completed his two-year Advanced Pediatric Dentistry Certificate Program at Tufts School of Dental Medicine in 2011.
- Only Children! – Pediatric dental specialists treat kids and only kids! They are experts in treating children from birth to adolescence. You may be wondering why babies would need dental care but in fact the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that every child has their first dental visit by their first birthday. This is a sensitive age for children so it’s important to bring them to someone who knows exactly how to care for them — a pediatric dental specialist!
- Wide Range of Treatments – Pediatric dental specialists do more than just well visit checks. Here’s just a few of the things they do on a regular basis:
- Serve as an educational resource for parents
- Infant oral health exams, which include risk assessment for cavities in both mother and child
- Preventive dental care including cleaning and fluoride treatments, as well as nutrition and diet recommendations
- Habit counseling for things like pacifier use and thumb sucking
- Early assessment and treatment for straightening teeth and correcting an improper bite(orthodontics)
- Repair of tooth cavities or defects
- Diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases such as diabetes, congenital heart defect, asthma, hay fever, and attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder
- Management of gum diseases and conditions including ulcers, short frenulae, mucoceles, and pediatric periodontal disease
- Care for dental injuries (for example, fractured, displaced, or knocked-out teeth)
When to Schedule Your First Visit with a Pediatric Dentist
Many parents wonder when they should take their child to the dentist for the first time. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that every child has their first dental visit by their first birthday.
You may be asking yourself “why should I take my kid to the dentist when they barely have any teeth?”. The age 1 dental visit isn’t about cleaning teeth like a regular visit would be for an adult. Your child’s first visit is all about getting comfortable — in the dentist chair, with Dr. Payam and with the general procedure of a dental appointment!
Dr. Payam will also check for any signs of decay or disease. The baby teeth lay the foundation for the adult teeth so it’s important they are healthy and strong. Tooth decay can also be very painful and we don’t want that.
What to Expect at Your First Dental Visit
First, Dr. Payam will make sure your child is comfortable and relaxed before starting any examination.
Next, he’ll take a look inside their mouth to check for any tooth decay or other problems. Decay can be very painful and can potentially affect the permanent teeth – something we definitely don’t want to see!
The visit will end with a discussion of proper oral hygiene techniques you can practice with your child at home. Any questions you have will be answered at this point. Read on for our handy list of questions to ask at your first visit.
Questions to Ask During Your First Visit
Every visit should end with a question and answer session where all of your questions are answered. Here’s a list of questions we think are important to ask at your child’s first visit to the dentist. Add a few (or all) to your own list!
- What can I do to keep my child’s teeth healthy and strong?
- What should I do if my child has a dental emergency?
- When do the permanent teeth come in?
- When should I start flossing my child’s teeth?
Fear No More!
It’s natural for people to fear the unknown, especially children. Going to the dentist can be overwhelming for a child. There’s a large and unusual chair, lots of scary equipment that make noises and they put objects into your mouth. But dental hygiene plays a tremendous role in the health of your child’s life and you’ll want to get them on a good path at a young age. Here are some things that you can do to help overcome their fear of the dentist and reinforce positive dental experiences.
Children enjoy games and make believe. Playing a dentist game can be a wonderful ice-breaker before an appointment. Use a recliner or couch to take turns laying back on and undergo procedures like counting teeth and give smile ratings. If your “play dentist” games are fun, your child will have a positive sense about a real visit. There are also fun dental games on the market they can play by themselves or with friends and siblings that include Play-Doh Dr. Drill & Frill and Barbie Careers Dentist Play sets.
Children pick up on the vibes that adults give off. If you or someone in your circle has a fear of the dentists, kids may pick up on it. Avoid things like telling “war stories” about root canal of cavities that needed to be drilled and filled. That type of talk is like turning on an R-rated horror flick. Keep it positive and talk about the benefits of having healthy, strong teeth.
Early and Often
By starting your children off with early and regularly scheduled dental appointments they will grow accustomed to going. Long gaps between check ups tend to let the fear of the unknown creep into their imaginations. Keeping an appointment before the age of 1 or when the first tooth pops through is an excellent and positive initial step. Children take a certain pride about getting “big” like adults and that first tooth matters. Double dip by making it a good dental experience as well.
Rewards not Bribes
There’s a major difference between giving a child something to perform a task and rewarding them afterward. When you bribe a child to go to the dentist, the underlying idea is that the dentist is a negative and parents need to overcome that with a gift. On the other hand, a reward for being “big” and handling the visit well can be a source of pride for the child. In other words, they got a reward for their excellent behavior, not for overcoming a bad situation. The line is fine, but it’s there.
By taking subtle, positive steps to ensure that your child has good dental experiences, you’ll be setting them on a healthy course. Finding ways to be a good role model and talking about the importance of dental hygiene can make a difference that will last a lifetime.
Dr. Payam’s Tips for Getting Your Kids to Love the Dentist
- Tell your child about the visits but limit the amount of details given. Answer any questions with simple, to-the-point answers. Let the Dr. Payam answer more complex or detailed questions. He is trained to describe dental procedures and terms to your child in a friendly, non-threatening manner.
- Don’t talk to your child about the previous bad experiences you’ve had with the dentist.
- Explain to your child the importance of good dental health and that Dr. Payam is a doctor trained to help us keep our teeth and gums happy and healthy.
- Start going to the dentist with your child at an early age. This way they become familiar with the dentist and are more comfortable at each visit.
- Find a fun and welcoming dental practice! At Red Apple Pediatric Dental Team we try to make every visit a fun adventure for your child. They’ll be having too much fun to be afraid! Schedule your appointment today.
A great benefit of taking your toddler to a pediatric dental office like ours is the friendly environment. We aim to make sure that your toddler is comfortable and happy with their first few visits to the dentist so that they are not afraid in the future. Our staff is not only well trained, but also friendly and we want you and your child to both enjoy coming to our office!
Stop by our office to see why Dr. Payam is the best pediatric dentist to take care of your toddler! Schedule an appointment today!