What does pediatric dentistry entail?
Pediatric dentistry fulfills many important functions pertaining to a child’s overall oral health and hygiene. It places particular emphasis on the proper maintenance and care of deciduous (baby) teeth, which are instrumental in facilitating good chewing habits, proper speech production, and also holding space for permanent teeth.
Other important functions include:
Education – Pediatric dentistry educates children using models, computer technology, and child-friendly terminology, thus emphasizing the importance of keeping teeth strong and healthy. In addition, it advises parents on disease prevention, trauma prevention, good eating habits, and other aspects of the home hygiene routine.
Monitoring growth – By continuously tracking growth and development, pediatric dentistry is able to anticipate dental issues and quickly intervene before they worsen. Also, working towards earlier corrective treatment preserves self-esteem and fosters a more positive self-image.
Prevention – Helping parents and children establish sound eating and oral care habits reduces the chances of later tooth decay. Included in the prevention of later tooth decay is the ability to apply dental sealants and topical fluoride to young teeth; to advise parents on thumbsucking, pacifier and smoking cessation; and to provide good demonstration of proper brushing and flossing.
Intervention – In some cases, dentists may discuss the possibility of early oral treatments with parents. In the case of oral injury, malocclusion (bad bite), or bruxism (grinding), space maintainers may be fitted, a nighttime mouth guard may be recommended, or reconstructive surgery may be scheduled.