Going to the dentist every six months should be part of your healthcare routine. However, it’s recommended that a child should see a pediatric specific dentist each month to ensure that everything is in order. The difference between a normal dentist and a pediatric dentist is specialization. Dentists have to undergo a 4-year undergraduate program (DMD or DDS) after which they become certified dentists. Once they receive this qualification, some dentists choose to specialize in a certain aspect of dentistry. Pediatric dentists specialize in treating children.
A pediatric dentist can give specific insight into the growth and development of teeth from the time that the teeth manifest, through to the teen years. Since children of different ages have different needs with regards to their teeth, a pediatric dentist can observe the teeth more comprehensively than a regular dentist.
Children typically grow their first tooth at around six months old. Hence, this is the first time the child should go see a pediatric dentist, so he or she can educate the parents on how to properly care for the child’s oral health. A pediatric dentist can solve a vast variety of problems, including those mentioned below:
- Babies who are bottle-fed might develop bottle tooth decay if their parents fail to clean their teeth properly.
- Thumb-sucking isn’t something uncommon in children, but this can lead to poor oral health. Your pediatric dentist can advise on the best course of action to take in order to rid a child of the habit.
- Some children develop a dangerous habit, i.e. teeth grinding. These children need professional care.
- Most importantly, a pediatric dentist can advise parents on the dietary requirements of a baby’s teeth and how to incorporate these food items into a balanced diet. This part is vital for the healthy growth and development of a child’s teeth.
Regular dentists do know these things, but they have less expertise in the treatment of children than pediatric dentists. Regular checkups with a pediatric dentist are of utmost importance to the dental health of an infant. This is because an undiagnosed and untreated infection could end up spreading and permanently damaging enamel and weakening tooth structure.
Moreover, taking a child to a pediatric dentist helps develop good, long-lasting habits to maintain his/her dental health and structure. Children are easily influenced by what they see and hear. If they go to the dentist early in life, they might develop habits like brushing and flossing after meals, which will keep their teeth in top shape.