Pediatric dental care wasn’t always taken very seriously. There was a time when it was uncommon for young children to even go to the dentist at all and dental problems were left untreated because, well, baby teeth will fall out eventually, right?
When you know better, you do better, and luckily, these days we are all fully aware of the importance of getting appropriate dental care for patients of all ages. Whether you’re new to our practice or your child is a regular visitor at our office, here are some things we want you to know about what we do as pediatric dentists.
Pediatric Dentists Are the Specialists When It Comes to Little Teeth
Many parents debate between having their child see their general dentist or bringing them to a pediatric dental practice. While it can certainly be convenient to have the entire family seen at one general practice, we think it’s worth seeking a dentist who specializes in treating children.
Odds are that your child sees a pediatrician and not a generalist for their healthcare. You likely made that choice because you know that a pediatrician has specialized knowledge, more experience treating children, and an office that is child-centered and fun to visit. These are the same reasons you should choose a pediatric dentist over a general dentist.
Pediatric dentists and general dentists both attend four years of dental school after earning their bachelor’s degrees, but pediatric dentists receive another two years of training and education to prepare them for the unique needs of infants, children, teens, and patients with special needs.
Baby Teeth Matter—A Lot!
Baby teeth are more than just temporary placeholders. They play a significant role in your child’s development and it’s important to give them the care they deserve. Here’s why baby teeth matter:
- Baby teeth help with proper speech development. Many of the sounds we make in speech are dependent upon our teeth.
- Baby teeth allow your child to eat a balanced diet. Grains that are full of B vitamins, protein-packed meat, crunchy fruit and vegetables for a fiber fix—without healthy teeth for chewing, your child’s diet would be quite limited.
- Baby teeth guide the permanent teeth into place. When a baby tooth falls out too soon, neighboring teeth can drift into the open space and make it difficult for adult teeth to erupt.
- Baby teeth that are left to decay cause pain and embarrassment. No one wants their children to suffer from discomfort or feelings of self-consciousness because of their teeth.
The old way of thinking used to be that baby teeth weren’t important; all that mattered was taking care of the adult teeth. This isn’t the way oral health works, though. Kids don’t magically start fresh with a blank slate once their permanent teeth are in. When a child has baby teeth with significant amounts of decay, it often leads to problems in the adult teeth as well.
Kids Can’t Have a Healthy Body Without Healthy Teeth
As a provider of holistic pediatric dentistry, we believe that oral health and overall health are connected. When the teeth and gums are compromised, it’s very rare that a child is in otherwise perfect health. Likewise, there are many health conditions that can cause oral health symptoms.
This is why it’s important to bring your child to the dentist twice a year for checkups. During these appointments, we assess the condition of their teeth and gums and we also provide them with instruction on brushing, flossing, and eating properly. When visits to our office become a regular, predictable part of their routine, it leads to a lifetime of healthy smiles.