Five Reasons Why You Should Take Your Kids To A Pediatric Dentist

You know the importance of regular dental cleanings and exams for your children, but did you know that the dentist you choose for their oral care is just as important as the care itself? While taking the kids to your dentist may be most convenient and familiar course of action, the better move may be to find a pediatric dentist. Here are five reasons why.

1. Advanced training

Pediatric dentists are not just dentists who enjoy treating children. In order to become a pediatric dentist, two years of additional education and training beyond dental school is required. A typical postgraduate program in this field will include such courses as

  • child development
  • child behavior
  • infant/child sedation
  • dental caries
  • child orthodontics
  • pediatric oral trauma

In most states, pediatric dentists must not only take board examinations in dentistry, but state-level certification tests as well. As you can see, your child can benefit from being under the care of a dentist who much more thoroughly understands his/her dental needs than a general dentist.

2. Kid-friendly atmosphere

While general dentists usually ensure their offices are pleasant and comfortable for adults, pediatric dentists design their offices to hold the interest of children. Bright colors and eye-level graphics, while not necessarily conducive to adults' peace of mind, can make children feel that the people in the office understand them. Seeing familiar cartoon or movie characters, for example, can reduce anxiety and provide common ground for ice-breaker conversations with hygienists or X-ray technicians.

3. Focus on oral care habits

General dentists assume that, as an adult, you know the importance of brushing and flossing, and will simply remind you to do so more frequently. Pediatric dentists, however, recognize that they have opportunities to teach and reinforce invaluable oral hygiene habits to their young patients. Short videos geared to children's interests illustrate proper methods of brushing and flossing; hands-on practice can drive these methods home. Stickers or small toys for good check-ups reinforce kids' dental habits. Every visit offers opportunities to remind kids of how--and why--regular brushing and flossing builds strong, healthy teeth.

4. Spotlight on dental development

Pediatric dentists pay particular attention to how children's emerging teeth predict future dental needs. For instance, if it is clear from dental X-rays in the latency years that a child's teeth are going to come in crooked, early orthodontics is an option that may prevent future problems. If a child is prone to cavities, sealants can be applied to prevent them. A pediatric dentist will also keep an eye on wisdom teeth through annual X-rays in case they become impacted; that way they can be removed before causing crowding and shifting in the early adult years.

5. Special needs

If your child suffers from anxiety, attention-deficit disorder, autism, developmental delays, or other emotional challenges, a pediatric dentist is probably going to be more sensitive to his/her needs than a dentist who deals primarily with adults. Some of the accommodations made for kids with special needs include soft lighting, treatment rooms with muted color designs, butterfly wraps, and gentle music. All of these options will reduce the stimulation level of the average dental visit (especially if a procedure such as a filling or extraction is needed) and put your child more at ease. This is important so that your child will not balk at return visits.

You want your children to feel comfortable going to the dentist for cleanings and exams so that they will make these routine appointments a part of their adult lives. You also want them to receive age-specific care by professionals who understand their particular needs. Lastly, you want your children to develop proper oral hygiene habits. For all these reasons, schedule an appointment for your kids with a pediatric dentist today. You can find one by visiting