As someone who specializes in the treatment and care of little people’s teeth, parents often ask me how important it is to take children to a pediatric dentist. In fact, many don’t realize that this is an option in the first place.
Yes, there are options! There are dentists, like me, who specialize in the unique needs of infants, children, and young teens’ teeth. Alternatively, there are family dentists who are qualified to care for patients of all ages.
Naturally, I believe that pediatric dentists are the way to go when parents have the option, and here are my reasons:
Think 6 plus 6! Generally speaking, a baby’s first teeth will begin to break through at 6 months; those teeth will stay put until about age 6, when they begin to fall out and be replaced by permanent, adult teeth. Although children lose their first set of teeth, poor oral care in those early years can lead to issues and disease that lasts throughout life.
A pediatric dentist specializes in instructing families on how to care for teeth before there are even teeth!
Parents often think of troublesome sicknesses such as asthma and allergies; however, dental problems such as early childhood caries (an infectious disease also known as baby bottle tooth decay or bottle rot) are five times as common.
Pediatric dentists have a lot to learn! Unlike general dentists, pediatric dentists are required to complete up to three additional years of specialty training in the unique needs of children’s teeth.
Some of the topics we study that are unique to working with children include behavior management, pediatric pharmacology, interceptive orthodontics, speech, minor oral surgery, sedation, traumatic injuries, dental care for children with developmental disabilities, and more.
Since the dental journey includes growing a first set, losing them, and then growing an adult set, there’s a lot to keep up with during each stage.
We specialize in helping families make it a healthy journey from the start. We also offer key advice on maintenance through those critical candy-and-sweets-eating years.
Parents know that taking care of children — especially health exams like regular dentist visits — can be stressful at times. Pediatric dentists are great at knowing how to make visits as painless and pleasant as possible. Our offices are full of color, activities, and warmth that can make kids’ experiences fun and educational, too. Dentists often recommend dental appliances and corrective treatments during the childhood and adolescent years.
We also have the most up-to-date knowledge about treatment options and advancements in the field for children. And in the end, children and teens are all about the “cool factor” with a pediatric dentist, our finger is on the pulse of colorful and engaging tools and appliances that will keep them interested in their own dental health.
We all want the best for children. When it comes to keeping their mouths, teeth, and gums healthy for the long haul, a pediatric dentist just makes sense!
Dr. Francis can be found at Park Slope Kids Dental Care [150 Fourth Ave. between Douglas and Butler streets in Park Slope, (718) 488–0200].