Why Should My Child See A Pediatric Dentist?

Why Should My Child See A Pediatric Dentist?
Posted on 03/25/2015

7 Reasons why your Child should be seeing a Certified Pediatric Dentist 

Many well-intentioned moms and dads start out by taking their children to their own dentist who sees adults and children.  Some do it for convenience, others for cost; others trust their own dentist more than other dentists.

However, here are seven important reasons why it is critical to take your child to a certified pediatric dentist at the earlier of 12 months old or when the child's first tooth comes in.

  1. Many people don't realize that pediatric dentists are doctors that have years of extra highly specialized training in the growth and development of children.  They study how to spot and treat abnormalities in children's mouths.  They have special training in everything from treating pediatric cavities to screening children for oral cancers and other abnormalities.  Less than 5% of all dentists are certified pediatric dentists, which can make it hard to find them. 
  2. Very serious irregularities can develop at 12 months of age or sooner – experts agree that it is in every child's best interest to receive proper dental screenings and care from a pediatric dentist at the earlier of 12 months or when their first tooth comes in.
  3. A common misperception that many parents have is that baby teeth will just fall out, so that it is not critically important to prevent cavities in them.  That couldn't be further from the truth. Cavities in baby teeth can cause damage to future adult teeth.  In other words, there can be a chain reaction that will impact the child later in life.
  4. Some adult dentists who treat children similar to how they treat adults tend to extract baby teeth too early, without a full understanding that doing so can cause the other surrounding incoming teeth to shift, which in turn can cause adult teeth not to develop correctly or to get crowded as they come in.
  5. General adult dentists who do not receive specialized training in pediatrics also sometimes miss cavities in baby teeth or miss abnormal patterns in how teeth erupt and initially develop.  They sometimes lack the training to know what to look for in baby teeth.  Baby teeth are different from adult teeth.
  6. Most adult dentists also don't feel particularly comfortable treating children until age 3 or 4 because their behavior in the dental chair can be hard to control without enough experience in treating children.
  7. Your pediatric dentist can do more than just treat your children – they also can properly educate you, as a parent, on how to properly take care of your babies' teeth.  They can explain what kind of toothpaste and toothbrushes to use, how to brush and floss, when to start, what foods are good and bad for oral health, and how to deal with trauma in case of a fall or other accident.

One of the best gifts you can give your child is to get the proper treatment for his or her teeth and mouth.  If you haven't already, and your child has her first tooth or is 12 months or older, don't wait any longer to make an appointment for your child with a certified pediatric dentist.