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. It was incorporated in 1969 to provide comprehensive dental care to patients under 18yrs of age. It involves dental management, preventive and restorative care.

Training of Pediatric Dentist

It is specialization which a dentist gets after spending 3 to 4 years after dental school and the pass out is called a Pediatric dentist/Pedodontist. Various courses provided are:

  • Higher Graduate Diploma in Pediatric Dentistry
  • Masters of Science Programme in Pediatric Dentistry
  • Residency Training Programme In Dentistry
  • Masters of Science Programme in Dentistry (International)

In the earlier years, the parents used to take their children to their own dentist or sometimes even did not bother about the dental problems of their children with milk teeth. There was and  is a misconception that milk teeth do not require any attention and care as the milk teeth have to finally fall down. The parents don’t understand that the milk teeth are as important as their permanent counterparts as they form the base for permanent teeth and development of jaw bones.

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

A Pediatric dentist is a dentist who specializes in caring for the dental needs of the children.

Role of Pediatric Dentist

The concept of pediatric dentist has come as a surprise to many. Role of a pediatric dentist is very important as it is he who can guide for good oral health from infancy to childhood. The goal of a pediatric dentist is to teach children the importance of oral hygiene, and to help children with their dental problems. Preventive care is a major part of the practice of a pediatric dentist, as early diagnosis at the time of dental development can avoid a variety of problems, from occlusion issues to cavities. Pediatric dentist have special training in calming anxious children to make their dental visits less traumatic.

Types of Treatments Provided By Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric dentist provides complete oral health care which includes the following:

  1. Oral health examination of infants
  2. Preventive oral care  including cleaning and fluoride and sealants application, as well as nutrition and diet counseling.
  3. Habit counseling
  4. Assessment of normal tooth development
  5. Early diagnosis and management of crooked teeth and treating an improper bite.
  6. Treatment of tooth cavities and defects
  7. Management of dental injuries ( for example, broken, chipped or knocked out tooth)
  8. Treatment of gum diseases and conditions including ulcers, mucoceles and pediatric periodontal disease.
  9. Diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases like diabetes, congenital heart defect, asthma, hay fever etc.

Finding a Pediatric Dentist

  1. Ask for suggestions from friends and family.
  2. Ask for a referral from your pediatrician/child specialist.
  3. Search local websites or magazines for recommendations.
  4. Look for pediatric dentists working in medical hospitals, private clinics and dental schools.
  5. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry provides a pediatric dentist search tool on its website to help you locate a pediatric dentist near your place.

When to visit a Pediatric Dentist

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children should visit a pediatric dentist when their first tooth comes in or by their first birthday.

In different stages of a child we need guidance for their behavior, dental health, personality development. Good oral health plays a role in positive personality development though at a subconscious level. As parents, we want to give whatever we can to our children, including their beautiful smile. To ensure healthy and beautiful smiles in future we should incorporate healthy oral habits in our children.

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