Many parents are startled to realize the significance of the connection between the pediatric dentist and a healthy baby. Just as you take your child to the doctor for immunizations and health assessments, it’s vital that you consider the pediatric dentist another route to baby wellness.
According to the expert team at Colgate, taking your little one to the pediatric dentist not only helps children develop great oral hygiene habits, but they are also act as an essential resource for parents. We backed up our research by asking advice of Dr. Holly Gregory, a pediatric dentist in Kingwood TX for some expert tips. Here’s what we discovered.
When You Should Schedule Baby’s First Dental Visit
The first question parents may wonder (especially first-time parents) is when they should schedule baby’s first dental exam.
The American Dental Association recommends that you take your infant to his or her first dental exam at a surprisingly young age—by the time they reach 12 months or when the first baby tooth erupts, whichever comes first.
What Does a Pediatric Dentist Do For Your Child?
A pediatric dentist is very different than a general dentist. Here’s why.
This dentist is a specially-trained pro who provides both primary and comprehensive therapeutic and preventive care for the littlest patients, aged 1 through 18.
Not only do they address preventive care, but they also provide early detection of disease and formulate treatment plans that are age appropriate.
Additionally, they serve as a vital resource for parents, teaching them the significance of good oral hygiene, preventative care, and other dental-related concerns.
What are the Goals of the Pediatric Dentist?
A pediatric dentist specializes in the field because they want to help those young patients. They have pre-set goals that they hope to accomplish with every patient. These include the following:
Goal 1 – Monitor the health of baby teeth
When your baby gets their “baby teeth,” this care provider will monitor the wellness of these teeth. They will use advanced technology to help these teeth remain intact and to their temporary job until the permanent teeth erupt.
But what do baby teeth do, exactly?
· Act as a placeholder for the permanent teeth. This helps the next set of choppers come in straight and true.
· Aid in chewing solid foods once weaned. Chewing is the first step of the digestive process. The act mechanically breaks down solid foods to make them easier for digestion.
· Help children develop appropriate speech patterns. Your baby needs those baby teeth to learn to speak with you!
Goal 2 – Evaluate gum health
Healthy gums play a key role in healthy teeth. The soft tissues around the teeth, including the gums, are the structures which hold the teeth into place.
Moreover, unhealthy gums may indicate other underlying health concerns. Your baby’s pediatric dentist can guide your child to overall improved wellness by this early detection.
Goal 3 – To make children comfortable with dental visits
Perhaps one of the most important jobs of a pediatric dentist is making children feel safe and comfortable in their clinical environment.
And, the pediatric specialist is the right person for this job! This is a pro who finished a full dental program, earned their dental accreditations, then enrolled for an two to three years of training. During that additional time, they studied in a classroom and in the real world.
Some of the additional knowledge they learn in that additional training includes:
- Child psychology and behavior
- How to deal with a squirming or irritable child with compassion
- Putting children at ease
- Child anatomy (especially of the mouth, jaw, head, and neck)
- Environmental influences that impact a child’s oral health
Goal 4 – Instill oral hygiene habits
One of significant focus areas of a pediatric dentist is instilling appropriate oral hygiene habits in little ones as they transition out of toddlerhood.
Think of your child’s dentist as a “coach” who cheers them on when they’ve done a great job of maintaining hygienic standards and advising them gently when there’s an opportunity for improvement.
Children learn quickly that Mom and Dad have an ally who cannot be swayed on this matter!
It’s Not Too Late to Get Started
So, if you’re reading this and your baby hasn’t been to the dentist yet, it’s not too late to get started!
Your children are growing quickly, and so are their jaws and teeth. It’s essential that you get that first exam scheduled with the pediatric dentist to help them get on track.