Pediatric Dentist Frequently Asked Questions
What is a pediatric dentist?
Pediatric dentists specialize in children’s oral health maintenance. They receive an additional 2 to 3 years of specialized training in pediatrics, special needs, child psychology, and development.
Infants should be seen for their first dentist appointment around age 1, followed by semi-annual visits until adolescence. Visits may include a physical exam of the mouth, teeth cleanings, cavity fillings, and X-rays.
Pediatric dentists are able to refer children to orthodontists as they grow and permanent teeth come in.
Pediatric dentists can perform the following procedures:
- routine oral health examinations for your child from infancy until their teens, including assessing how likely your child is to get cavities or other dental conditions
- regular teeth cleanings every few months along with recommendations for oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) and diet changes that may help maintain good oral health, such as by reducing sugar in the diet
- recommendations for childhood habits that may affect oral health, such as using a pacifier or thumb sucking
- monitoring the growth of adult teeth after the first set of teeth begin falling out to see if your child will need orthodontic care or teeth straightening treatments
- fillings for cavities or repair of teeth that may have grown in improperly or been damaged
- assessing symptoms of conditions like diabetes or heart disease that may have effects on oral health
- treating and managing gum conditions like gingivitis, ulcers, receding gums, or periodontal conditions that can affect gum and tooth health
- treating injured teeth and gums by removing teeth, putting teeth back in that have been knocked out, or filling in broken tooth surfaces
- removing diseased tooth pulp and replacing pulp with filling material to prevent tooth decay (pulpectomy, or root canal)
This is not an exhaustive list. Your pediatric dentist may be able to do other procedures that aren't listed here.
Get in touch with your local pediatric dentist to learn more about what procedures they can do for your child.
Pediatric dentists treat the following conditions:
- tooth cavities
- tooth and gum infections that can affect tooth growth
- tooth repair after injuries or decay
- gum disease, decay, or recession
- baby teeth that don’t grow properly
- bone conditions that might affect tooth growth
- teeth that grow in small or damaged (amelogenesis imperfecta)
- thin or missing enamel on teeth (dental hypoplasia)
- having too many teeth (hyperdontia)
- teeth that are missing (hypodontia)
- missing all teeth (anodontia)
Top questions to ask a pediatric dentist during your appointment that you may have not thought of:
- How long have you been in practice? Do you work in your practice with any other dental specialists or pediatric dentists?
- What's your philosophy to approaching children about dental work?
- Do you have any children of your own? Do they have any anxieties or issues with getting dental work done?
- What common tooth or gum conditions should I watch out for as my child gets older? Is there anything I can do to prevent these conditions?
- Do you use any techniques to help calm or relax children that may be anxious or terrified about getting dental work? Are those techniques safe and proven to work?
- Are there any dietary or lifestyle changes my child can make to improve their dental health or dental hygiene?