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What is a Pediatric Dentist?

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

Similar to general doctors, dentists can choose to specialize in one of the various branches of dentistry. One such branch that some dentists choose to specialize in is pediatric dentistry.

Yet, what is pediatric dentistry? How is a pediatric dentist any different than a regular dentist?

These are valid questions to have - especially regarding oral health. After all, you want the right expertise for certain oral health issues. By understanding pediatric dentistry, you can discern if you may ever need guidance and help from a pediatric dentist at some point.

Get these questions answered and more, and continue reading to know the role of what a pediatric dentist does!

What is Pediatric Dentistry?

To understand what a pediatric dentist does, you first need to understand their specialty. In pediatric dentistry, a pediatric dentist endeavors to facilitate and promote children's oral health. The ages they help care for are as young as an infant and far into adolescence. In which case, pediatric dentists are equipped with specialized experience and qualifications to care for a child's teeth, gums, and mouth throughout the various stages of childhood and well into their teenage years. In addition, pediatric dentists' knowledge and training extend to providing proper oral health care to individuals with special needs.

History of Pediatric Dentistry

Some might assume that what a general dentist provides for dental care is sufficient for children. However, the emergence and eventual existence of pediatric dentistry prove otherwise.

The foundation of pediatric dentistry started during the turn of the 19th century. In 1909, Minnie Evangeline Jordon pioneered the path of pediatric dentistry by establishing the first dental practice devoted to children. Others have also seen this need to promote pediatric dentistry, like Alfred Jones, who brought dental care to public schools in 1914. A few years later, Minnie Evangeline Jordon continued to trailblaze by publishing the first textbook on pediatric dentistry titled "Operative Dentistry for Children'' in 1925.

Not until the 1960s is when the creation of a pediatric dentistry program had been made available for dentists wanting to learn how to treat the specific dental issues and needs of children. This development resulted in a significant drop in children forming cavities by the mid-1980s.

A Pediatric Dentist's Unique Role

A pediatric dentist is all about taking care of children's dental issues. In which case, what exactly do they do that's different from what a regular dentist could do? See how a pediatric dentist gives specialized oral health care compared to a general dentist.

  • Knowledgeable & Applicable Preventative Care: Help guide parents with tips on how to improve their child's oral health. They do so by recommending a healthy diet and nutrition. In addition, they can give children proper teeth cleanings and fluoride treatments.
  • Expertise in Infant Care: Able to perform oral health exams on infants to pinpoint any present risks. Pregnant mothers can benefit from seeing a pediatric dentist and getting insight into the oral care of the mother and the baby.
  • Help Break Bad Habits: Can help parents with tips and insight on handling oral fixation habits in children like pacifier use and thumb sucking.
  • Catch Any Budding Oral Problems: Since pediatric dentists focus on preventative care, any assessments make it easier to detect issues and treat them sooner rather than later. It helps prevent and treat certain oral problems from developing badly, like crooked teeth and any potential dental diseases such as gum disease.
  • Reduce and Treat Teeth: Kids love candy. Unfortunately, they can cause cavities to them. Getting a filling can be scary. A pediatric dentist, however, knows how to communicate with children to quell fears and still be able to repair any signs of tooth decay effectively.
  • Handles Dental Injuries: For children in sports, the possibility of getting dental injuries is highly probable, and pediatric dentists are also equipped to manage them. These include injuries like any fractured, displaced or knocked-out teeth.

There is a reason why pediatric dentists exist. It became apparent how important it is to teach and care for children's oral health. A pediatric dentist becomes the first cornerstone towards promoting and ensuring a lifetime of healthy teeth. They provide and inspire many generations of children to come towards maintaining a healthy smile!


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