What is a Pediatric Dentist?

pediatric dentist with a child

Most families with young children have considered a pediatrician for health care needs that require age-based specialists, and dentistry is no different. Pediatric dentists fill a vital role in oral medicine; here are some answers to a few questions you may have about them.

What Does a Pediatric Dentist Do?

Pediatric dentists are professionals who have completed a specialized course of dentistry that caters to children who have special needs or otherwise need gentler care. The program consists of two to three years of further training after graduation from dental school. It includes hospital training, where they work with children who have more severe dental needs and emergencies, and training in numerous orthodontic teeth-straightening methods. Pediatric dentists work closely with pediatricians and general dentists, who refer select patients for this specialized dental treatment that requires this advanced training. The Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry (ISPPD) is an organization of pediatric dentists, and its website has a good selection of brochures explaining their role in dentistry.

How Old Are Pediatric Dentists' Patients?

Pediatric dentists can treat children from birth to college. If a child has unique developmental issues or needs to be seen in a hospital setting due to another medical condition, a pediatric dentist is uniquely qualified to provide that treatment. Often, children with special needs that persist into adulthood are still seen past the age of 18; their pediatric dentist knows their dental history, as well as the special treatment and procedures needed before and during treatment.

Why Choose a Pediatric Dentist Instead of a General Dentist?

All general dentists are trained in pediatric dentistry in dental school, and are predominantly taught by pediatric specialists on staff. Some general dentists are more comfortable than others in treating small children, especially if their practice serves many families and they're familiar with common behavioral conditions that need to be addressed during treatment. But it is subjective to the practice; if a general dentist is not comfortable treating a young or special needs child, a referral is in order. You can search for one near you through the Practo.

What Benefits Do Pediatric Dentists Offer to Children?

Prevention and treatment are the primary focus areas of pediatric dentists, along with educating parents and other dental professionals on how best to treat their children. Pediatric dentists working in dental schools and hospital training facilities also conduct research to develop better methods of preventing oral health problems in children.

Brochures and educational materials are plentiful online to help parents prepare for their child's first visit to the dentist and to inform them about the preventive oral health care products available to them. Ultimately, however, a pediatric dentist is a helpful aid in ensuring a lifetime of healthy smiles for your children. Together, you can work toward this goal.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

More Articles You May Like

What To Expect During a DENTAL VISIT

On your first visit, your dentist will take a full health history. On follow-up visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell your dentist. Here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist.

  • A Thorough Ceaning – a dental hygienist or dentist will scrape along and below the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Then he or she will polish and floss your teeth.

  • A Full Dental Examination – your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems.

  • X-Rays – X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth.