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Pediatric Dentistry: What Makes It Different?

Pediatric dentistry, also known as pedodontics, is a specialty branch that focuses on treating young people. Pediatric dentists, also known as pedodontists, are dedicated to the field because they must complete the additional education necessary to provide primary and comprehensive care to babies, young children and adolescents.

Pediatric Dental Care

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a student must complete a minimum of two additional years, and in many cases three years, of training to become a practicing pediatric dentist. And according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, there are just over 7,000 pedodontists in the United States.

General Dentist vs. Pediatric Dentist

Upon graduating from an accredited institution and obtaining a license in his or her state of practice, a general dentist is allowed to treat patients of any age. However, just as in general medicine, there are certain complex conditions that require the expertise of a pediatrician. Pedodontists are trained by a separate set of standards as defined by the Commission on Dental Accreditation to address the specific needs of kids and teens, like fluoride treatments and dental sealants.

Pediatric Dental Practice Care

Pediatric dentists also use their expertise to evaluate and recommend the best products for little mouths. For example, Colgate® Kids Battery Powered Toothbrushes are great at removing plaque and the featured characters are sure to keep kids entertained and engaged during brushing time.

A kid-friendly and welcoming environment is also key in a pediatric office. The special-sized dental equipment for exams is important. The exam room decor should be appealing to youngsters too, like brightly colored wall paint and engaging murals. Games, kids magazines and perhaps a fish tank in the waiting area go a long way toward easing uncertainty and apprehension.

Pediatric dentists work hard to keep the smiles of kids bright and healthy. When a dental visit is a positive experience, children may be happy to return every six months for their checkup. And for that, parents will be grateful.

Some specialized tasks of pedodontists include:
  • Infant oral health exams
  • Distribution of relaxation medications
  • Special counseling on nutrition
  • Emergency dental care
  • Space management after the premature loss of a primary tooth
  • Discouragement of thumb and finger sucking through appliances and methods

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.

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