As soon as you set foot into a pediatric dental office, you will notice that from start to finish, entrance to exit, everything is geared towards kids having a comfortable experience at their dental visit. The feel of a children’s dental office should be safe, fun, educational for both parents and children, clean and inviting. Children should naturally get the feeling that this “place” is for them.
While a pediatric dental office should be fun for its young patients, there is a lot of “adult stuff” to discuss with parents to achieve optimal dental health for their child on an individualized plan.
What is a Pediatric Dentist?
Pediatric Dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs.
To become a pediatric dental specialist, a dentist must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 24 months in an advanced education program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Such programs must be designed to provide special knowledge and skills beyond those achieved in a general dentistry, dental school program.
Upon completion of the advanced education program or residency, Pediatric Dentists have the option to become Board Certified. A Board Certification consists of a written Board examination, followed one year later by an Oral Board Examination. To remain Board Certified, Pediatric Dentists must complete specific Pediatric Dental Board continuing education and annual test modules. The American Board of Pediatric Dentistry values the provision of the highest quality oral health care for children. Such care is thoughtful, careful, ethical and based on the current scientific evidence. It takes into account the best interest of the patient and is respectful of the patient and his/her family.
Pediatric dentistry encompasses a variety of disciplines, techniques, procedures and skills that share a common basis with other specialties, but are modified and adapted to the unique requirements of infants, children, adolescents and those with special health care needs. By being an age-specific specialty, pediatric dentistry encompasses disciplines such as behavior guidance, care of the medically and developmentally compromised and disabled patients, supervision of orofacial growth and development, caries prevention, sedation, pharmacological management and hospital dentistry. These skills are applied to the needs of children throughout their ever-changing stages of development and to treating conditions and diseases unique to growing individuals.
It is important to establish a Dental Home for your child with a Pediatric Dentist, or even a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist. The Dental Home is the ongoing relationship between the dentist and the patient, inclusive of all aspects of oral health care delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated and family-centered way. The Dental Home should be established no later than 12 months of age and includes referral to dental specialists when appropriate.
It is not uncommon that children fall and injure their teeth, gums, tongue or other areas of their oral cavity. A Pediatric Dentist has undergone additional training in their residency to appropriately treat dental injuries in the ever-changing and growing pediatric patient. Proper diagnosis, treatment planning and follow-up are important for improving a favorable outcome. Having a Dental Home established where a child feels comfortable and a relationship has been forged can make a traumatic event a much more comfortable and smooth experience for a child.
Children are special, individual and have unique needs. Seeing a specialist who has advanced training and education will help to start and maintain your child on a path of good dental health. The knowledge and expertise of a Pediatric Dentist help to educate parents and kids in order to establish and maintain good oral health but also promote fun and positive dental experiences that will last a lifetime.