Pediatric dentists can provide care for children from the time they're babies through their 18th birthdays. These dentists can help parents provide the best care for their children while offering helpful treatments at every stage of a child's development. Here are four services that fall within a pediatric dentist's area of expertise:
1. Dental Education
Most adults know how to take care of their teeth, but taking care of a child's teeth can be a different experience. Even figuring out how much toothpaste to use for a young child can be difficult. Fortunately, a dentist can provide dental education for kids and parents. For example, parents should use soft-bristled toothbrushes on babies and infants. It's best to start brushing young children's teeth with fluoride-free toothpaste to minimize the risk of poisoning if some toothpaste is swallowed. A pediatric dentist can tailor their advice to your child's unique needs at every stage of life.
2. Orthodontic Consultation
Children sometimes require orthodontic care to correct crooked teeth and malocclusion. Most kids begin orthodontic treatment in their early teen years after their permanent teeth have fully grown in. However, it's wise to begin orthodontic consultation sooner. A child's pediatric dentist can monitor their tooth growth over time. In this way, your child's dentist can recommend the correct procedures for your child's situation. Some kids may benefit from getting braces at an earlier age to correct bite problems before they progress.
3. Dental Fillings
Regular flossing and tooth brushing can help kids keep cavities at bay. Unfortunately, tooth decay may still occur, especially in kids with sweet tooths and those who frequently snack. Dentists can provide restorative care for kids who develop cavities. Dental fillings are the preferred method of treatment for small and large cavities.
Before the procedure begins, your child's dentist will numb their tooth and gums using local anesthesia. Some dentists use a vibrating tool to distract kids from the feeling of the numbing injection. Dental fillings may be performed with tooth-colored composite resin or amalgam fillings. Some families choose amalgam fillings for their children because they're cheaper and because kids will lose their primary teeth in a few years.
4. Fluoride Treatments
Fluoride can be used to remineralize teeth, which can stave off tooth decay. Most people benefit from fluoride added to toothpaste and mouthwash. Children can take advantage of in-office fluoride treatments offered by pediatric dentists. These fluoride treatments use a high concentration of fluoride to protect kids' teeth.