While some dentists restrict their practice to a particular age group, those with a family dentistry practice do not. Instead, they work with all ages to assist in the general maintenance of healthy gums, teeth, and overall oral hygiene. If you have a small child, however, you may be wondering if a general or pediatric dentist is best.
Many consider family dentistry the first line of defense against dental abnormalities. These practices serve as the starting point for checksups every six months, providing deep cleanings to eliminate buildup. In addition to visually inspecting your mouth, the doctor may also take X-rays to determine if there are cavities or other problems.
A person in this field must first earn an undergraduate degree, usually in an area of science, although this is not required, and pass the Dental Admission Test. After this, the student endures an additional three to five years of study at dental school. Prior to graduation, all students must pass the National Board Dental Examinations in order to obtain a license. Students graduate with a Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine.
General dentists can see children of all ages and even see adults. This is great for households that want to keep all their children going to the same person as they grow. It makes it easy for you as parents to also make time to see the doctor to care for your oral health.
Children do have special needs as they mature. Doctors trained in family dentistry know and understand these needs. They can treat loose teeth and cavities just as well as pediatric specialists. Additionally, they are able to prevent many dental problems with fluoride.
These doctors do not attach or manipulate braces. However, they can diagnose when your child needs braces and set you up with an appointment with an orthodontist.
If your child has special needs, your dental office may refer you to a pediatric dentist. These doctors have had additional post-graduate training.
If your child is very small or has a hard time at the doctor, then your dentist may suggest pediatric dentistry.
As with a general dentist, this professional can not attach or maintain braces. They can help with other preventative measure and refer you to an orthodontist if necessary.
Family dentistry is a great place to start if you want one doctor to see all your children regardless of age. They can help your child maintain healthy teeth and gums and get them on the road to great oral hygiene.
A pediatric dentist is a dentist that takes care of children from infancy through their teen years when at that time they will switch to a regular dentist. Pediatric dentistry is a specialty that a dentist can choose to specialize in after becoming a licensed dentist. They have to have completed four years of dental school and two more years of residency training in dentistry for infants to teens that have special needs.
Some of the treatments that a pediatric dentistry office might offer can include:
• Oral health exams for infants
• Prevention dental care that includes fluoride treatments, cleanings and diet and nutrient information.
• Counseling for habits such as thumb sucking and pacifier use
• Treatment and early assessment for improper biting correction and teeth straightening
• Repairing defects or tooth cavities
When you are looking for a pediatric dentistry for the first time there are some things that you should look for before you make your choice. To find a good pediatric dentistry you could ask friends and family for a recommendation or you could ask your child’s pediatrician.
• Find a pediatric dentist who is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, or American Dental Association.
• To help you located dental clinics in your area you can use the search tool of American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
• Find a pediatric dentist that will make the dental experience for your child as comfortable as possible, especially if the child is young and this is the first experience visiting a dentist
• When you find a pediatric dentistry schedule a consultation with the dentist before setting an appointment for your child
• During your consultation look around the waiting room and the exam rooms to make an assessment about the ambiance. Is it child friendly? Are there child-sized furniture in the waiting area and does it have a play area?
• Children do get bored easily, especially the younger ones so is there a television where they can watch cartoons. Are there toys, coloring books, etc? The needs of children of all ages should be evident.
• When the child sees a dentist for the first time make sure that the dentist interacts with your child and how your child responds to the dentist and dental assistants. If the child is scared or crying, how do they act?
• Is the parent allowed to go back with the child until the child feels comfortable going on their own.
These are just some of the many things you should look for before selecting a pediatric dentistry.[Top]
A pediatric dentist is an oral health care professional who takes care of a specific group of individuals. The group of individuals is children and the age range for these starts when the first deciduous tooth erupts up to the age of ten to twelve years old. Some parents actually bring their toothless child to visit the clinic just to be sure or when there are malformations in the baby. Many of these dental professionals foray into the world of surgery since there are babies who are born in this world with problems in their jaws, cleft palate and gums.
The education of the prospective pediatric dental professional starts just like those in the general dentistry field. They go through a basic college course and then proceed to the dental college of their choice. The basic college course takes about four to five years while the dentistry course ranges from four to six years depending on the specialties that the hopeful dentists will take up. Most of the specialties are taken up after the entire four year dentistry course has been completed; others take up specialties after they have passed the exam for dentistry. The dentist, or at least the hopeful, needs to pass the dental board exam in order to be able to practice in the United States of America. He or she also needs to be associated with certain affiliations, organizations and groups in order to be recognized as a practicing professional.
Dentistry is a field that is connected to medicine in a very close way. The dentist basically evaluates, diagnoses, treats and corrects problems that need to be addressed in an individual. In this case, children are brought by the parent or parents for a visit and the child is evaluated according to the examination that the professional conducts. Children who have no immediate problems are in fact recommended to undergo cleaning of the teeth by the parent with the use of a gauze bandage wrapped around a finger and rubbed on the pearly whites. The rubbing acts as brushing and gets the child used to having a foreign object inside his or her oral cavity. It also helps to really clean each tooth that has erupted.
Despite being just a milk tooth, it still needs to be cleaned and maintained because the permanent ones come out several years after and having rotten or damaged temporary ones that impair the digestion and eating style of the child. Pain and discomfort can also occur if the deciduous ones are infected or damaged too soon. The pediatric dentist can also be expected to make composite bonding with any temporary tooth that may need it. This is especially true for those that still have a long way to go before they are replaced by the permanent ones. Fillings are very common with children around the age of six to nine years old especially in a tooth related to the molars.
These are just a few of the responsibilities that a pediatric dentist may need to do for his patients. There are other more complicated ones, especially those requiring surgery.[Top]