Chicago kiDDS Pediatric Dentistry specializes in pediatric dental care for infants, children and those with special needs. Pediatric dentists (sometimes referred to as pedodontists) differ from family or general dentists because they focus solely on treating and meeting the needs of children from infancy through adolescence.
The Difference Between Pediatric Dentist & Family / General Dentists
Pediatric dentists, like family and general dentists, complete four years of dental school. After that, they are also required to complete an additional two years of residency training with infants, children, adolescents, and patients with special needs. This additional training helps them better meet the needs of younger patients who can be fidgety in the dentist chair or easily intimidated during routine cleanings.
One of our primary goals is to provide a friendly, comforting environment for young patients. We have created offices that are bright, colorful and child-friendly. Also, during your child’s first visit, a pediatric dentist is more likely to let your child look at the instruments used during a regular checkup before the appointment begins. This will help your child feel comfortable in the dentist chair and will make the shiny instruments seem less scary.
Our pediatric dentists are also available to answer parents’ questions about proper dental hygiene for children’s primary and permanent teeth. A child’s first primary tooth usually appears around 6 months, which is around the time the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children should have their first appointment with a pediatric dentist. The AAPD recommends a visit shortly after the first tooth appears and no later than the first birthday.
Taking a young child for an early mouth exam will help detect signs of tooth decay, which can be easily treated. During initial visits, pediatric dentists will also talk to parents about behaviors that cause tooth-related issues, such as thumb-sucking, sleeping with a bottle, tongue thrusting, and a poor diet.
Dental Care Advice
Parents should also talk to their child’s dentist about how to properly care for their child’s teeth. It is never too early to start dental care and parents should make sure that they taking care of their child’s primary teeth, also known as baby teeth. Caring for primary teeth is especially crucial since those first teeth help your child maintain a healthy diet by allowing him to chew food properly, develop speech, and save a space for his permanent adult teeth. All of the primary teeth generally come in between 12 months and age 2 and do not start to fall out until around age 6. Most children lose all of their primary teeth by age 12.
Pediatric dentists also address the needs of adolescents. Your dentist will be able to talk with your teen about the importance of a maintaining his or her adult teeth with a healthy diet and good dental habits. Pediatric dentists are also sensitive to teens’ special needs and will provide a gentle approach to restoring and guiding teeth and discussing important topics, such as sealants, oral piercing, wisdom teeth, missing teeth and tobacco use.
By choosing pediatric dentists to care for your child’s teeth, you are ensuring that your child will feel comfortable about going to the dentist and will establish lifelong healthy oral hygiene. It is never too early to start dental care and you should promote the importance of clean, healthy teeth by scheduling an appointment with your child’s dentist every 6 months.