Pediatric dentistry focuses on caring for the oral health care needs of infants, children, and adolescents only. Unlike general family practitioners, specialists complete an additional 24 – 36 months advanced training accredited through the American Dental Association (ADA). Children require special care. Practitioners use custom equipment in practices which are designed to entertain and comfort children. Their proficiency and training is to care for a child’s teeth, gums, and mouth. They also offer a wider range of treatment options for children and young adults.
This specialized form of practice focuses on preventative oral care especially prevention of cavities. Parents are advised to bring their child in near their first birthday to have their first exam. A practitioner specialized in the care of children will take a rounded approach to prevention, which often includes discussion of hygiene and nutrition.
Some smaller towns may not have pediatric dentistry practices. When one lives in such an area, one should seek recommendations from neighbors, other parents, or one’s own doctor for a practitioner who enjoys working with children. Parents should seek a practice which is comfortable. The staff should be compassionate and friendly. Often, practices will have special touches such as: a play area, video games, toys and books.
The following questions are guidelines by the ADA for parents to consider when deciding if a particular pediatric dentistry office is right for their family:
Does the practitioner have specialized training to work with children?
Is the specialist a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, as well as the ADA?
What does the practice have available to put the child at ease? Are there particular areas specifically designed as kid-friendly?
How does the practice handle emergency procedures, like a knocked out tooth after regular business hours?
How convenient is the location of the practice in regards to the child’s school?