Like physicians, dentists have the ability to specialize in different fields of dentistry. Some may choose to remain generalized, while others may focus on endodontics, orthodontics, or pediatric dentistry. Specializing usually entails additional training with a specialist after the completion of dental school. Pediatric dentists should be passionate about children and their health.
To keep the teeth in good health, children should receive regular dental checkups. At the most basic level, the exam will involve the dentist cleaning and inspecting the child’s teeth. The dentist will also discuss the child’s oral habits and provide demonstrations. At appropriate checkups, the dentist will likely talk about different activities, items, and foods that may have a negative impact on oral health if they are not stopped or minimized.
Sometimes, the dentist will do other things during a checkup. Fluoride or sealant may be applied to the teeth to prevent degradation and decay. The dentist may also order an x ray to help diagnose problems. For other oral problems, the dentist may need to perform a variety of procedures and diagnostic tests. What occurs during an exam is dependent upon how often the child is in the office and the reason for the current visit.
Pediatric Dentistry: Six to Twelve Months Old
After a child’s first tooth comes in, the child is supposed to have a dental exam. Usually, the child is held in the attending adult’s lap while the parent sits in the examination chair. The dentist will talk about the child’s eating habits and fluoride intake. The dentist may prescribe a fluoride treatment or cream if intake is too low, and the dentist will talk about the child’s risk of oral health issues.
The dentist will also examine the child’s tooth or teeth. If there are stains, the dentist will gently remove them and demonstrate proper tooth cleaning techniques. The dentist will also look for sores and abrasions in the child’s mouth to determine if they need attention. The dentist looks at how thumb or pacifier sucking may be affecting the child’s mouth.
Pediatric Dentistry: Toddlers Through Adolescents
By this time, most children will have all of their baby teeth, so the dentist will perform a thorough exam and cleaning. The dentist will also discuss oral hygiene habits with the child and the adult with the child. The dentist will likely address how sugar-filled drinks and foods are extremely dangerous to oral health, especially without proper habits. The dentist may also place sealants on teeth susceptible to decay.
Beyond the usual steps to a checkup, the dentist may have to fix cavities and address unhealthy habits like thumb sucking. The dentist will also begin to look more at tooth and jaw alignment as the child ages, which may lead to pre-orthodontic or orthodontic treatment to prevent the problem from progressing too much. For at-risk children, the dentist will describe the dangers to oral health of substance abuse, eating disorders, and not using a mouthguard for certain sports.
After any pediatric examination is complete, the dentist will discuss the results with the attending adult and the child. What should be done between the end of the visit and the next visit will be discussed. The dentist should recommend an approximate date for the next visit as well. By following the recommendations of the pediatric dentist in Tulsa, children will form a solid foundation for taking care of their teeth and mouth in the present and in the future.