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What Is the Goal of Pediatric Dentistry?

A boy and girl at a pediatric dental office.

Pediatric dentistry is critical because it solves dental issues affecting children. Research shows that approximately 42% of kids aged 2 to 11 years have had cavities. While diet can contribute to these issues, it is essential to note that children need to observe proper dental hygiene. It plays a crucial role when it comes to your children’s dental health.

One of the best ways to ensure your child doesn’t struggle with teeth problems is by taking them to a pediatric dentist. Why should you care? Pediatric dentists can diagnose and treat dental issues in teenagers, children, and infants. Read this guide to learn more about pediatric dentistry and why every child needs it.

What Does a Pediatric Dentist Do?

A pediatric dentist is a professional who deals with children’s dental needs. Their work involves preventing, diagnosing, and treating oral cavity conditions and diseases. They can handle gums, teeth, mouth, and maxillofacial areas, including jaw, face, neck, and head.

A pediatric dentist aims to help patients maintain healthy gums, teeth, and mouth. They also provide clients with tips for maintaining proper oral habits. Typically, these experts can:

  • Collaborate with doctors and other dental experts when necessary to ensure appropriate care
  • Treat different maxillofacial and oral conditions and diseases, including gum disease and tooth decay
  • Offer preventative dental and oral care such as fluoride treatments and dental cleanings
  • Diagnose maxillofacial conditions and diseases based on findings from their evaluation
  • Prescribe pain medications and antibiotics
  • Interpret imaging and laboratory tests such as saliva and X-rays tests
  • Educates patients about a broad range of topics, including oral disease prevention, proper oral hygiene, diseases, and conditions

A pediatric dentist can also be known as a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD), Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), a children’s dentist, or a pedodontist.

Who Should Consult a Pediatric Dentist?

Children and adolescents should receive pediatric dental care throughout childhood regardless of their mental and physical abilities. A regular visit to a pedodontist is essential for preventing gum disease, cavities, and other oral issues.

It’s best to start caring for your child’s oral health when they develop their first tooth. Pediatric dental care may include evaluation after every six months and routine dental cleaning. Everyone is unique, and a child’s dental care frequency depends on their personalized dental problems. Contributing factors may include gum disease susceptibility, decay rate, calculus, and plaque buildup.

When to See a Pediatric Dentist

Apart from regular dental care and exams, you may want to take your child to a professional pediatric dentist if your child displays any of the following conditions and symptoms:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Delayed tooth loss or eruption
  • Jaw, mouth, and tooth pain
  • Dry mouth and bad breath
  • Discolored or crooked teeth
  • Teeth pain or sensitivity when chewing cold or hot foods
  • Medical conditions that enhance dental problems risk like diabetes
  • Changes in tongue, lips, gums, and teeth

For adolescents and children, some behaviors can increase the likelihood of developing oral health problems. These may include frequent snacking, excessive alcohol use, smoking, oral sex practices, and playing contact sport.

What Conditions and Diseases Can a Pediatric Dentist Treat?

A pediatric dentist can treat various conditions and diseases, including:

  • Toothache
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
  • Teeth grinding
  • Oral trauma, such as tooth loss and broken teeth
  • Mouth infections, tumors, and sores
  • Misaligned teeth (Malocclusion)
  • Gum disease (gingivitis)
  • Dry mouth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Plaque, tooth decay, and cavities

How to Care for Children’s Teeth at Home

Family brushing their teeth.

If you want to ensure your child doesn’t get tooth decay, you should begin dental care early. Here are a few helpful tips.

Teach Your Child Proper Dental Habits

Excellent dental hygiene stems from proper habits. It would be best if you taught your child the importance of brushing and flossing early on. One of the primary reasons you should ensure regular visits to the pediatric dentist is to allow your child to learn the essential dental practices they need as they grow.

Consider Healthy Snacks

Children need healthy eating as their teeth develop. To prevent your child from getting possible teeth decay, you should ensure your child or children eat healthy foods, including fresh vegetables and fruits. Foods containing a high amount of sugar can cause tooth decay and damage children’s teeth.

Drink Water

The drink you want to consider for your child should be water. Drinks with added or natural sugar are not great for your kids. These may include chocolate, flavored milk, fizzy drinks, cordial, fruit juice.

Discourage your child from snacking and eating sugary foods. These can attract bacteria which can lead to cavities.

Floss Your Child’s Teeth

As a parent, you may wonder, when should you start flossing your kid’s teeth? You want to do so as soon as you notice your child has two teeth on the upper and lower jaw. At the age of 10, children can start flossing on their own.

Is Fluoride Safe for Kids?

Fluoride is safe for your children and can protect their teeth. You want to use it early because it’ll offer extra protection as their teeth develop. Check with the local water authority to know whether the tap water you use in your household has fluoride. If not, you may ask your primary care provider to recommend fluoride drops that are suitable for your kids.

Protecting Your Child’s Teeth When They Start Playing Games

Children’s safety should be a priority for sporting activities, but this isn’t always the case. Errant passes, collisions, and stray balls are some incidences that can lead to dental injuries in children during sports. Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Use protective mouth wear
  • Consider wearing a helmet
  • Understand rules
  • Minimize using sports drinks

Get Top-Notch Pediatric Dentistry Treatment from Lexington Family Smiles

Seeking help from a qualified dentist is critical for your child’s dental hygiene. This is why you want to work with experienced pediatric dentists at Lexington Family Smiles because they have what it takes to treat you professionally and ensure you achieve a stunning smile. Why is Lexington Family Smiles your best choice?

Our team is highly skilled and dedicated to offering excellent services to patients. We understand every patient is unique, so we evaluate your dental situation and provide personalized treatment solutions according to your needs. We also make the environment relaxing and welcoming. Here are a few things you can expect:

  • Treatment rooms with TVs
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Blankets, Hot Towels, and Pillows
  • Patient Refreshment Station
  • Warm Cookies at Checkout

Pediatric dentistry is something no parent should ignore if they want their children to have healthy teeth and acquire proper habits. If your child is battling a dental problem, don’t hesitate to consult experienced pediatric dentists at Lexington Family Smiles. Reach out today at (803) 353-1886 or text at (803) 951-0991 or schedule an appointment online. We’ll be glad to help.