Pediatric dentists are experts whose specialty is taking care of kids’ oral health. They not only deal with infants but also older kids, including those in the adolescent stage. And as a parent, you must understand that your child’s dental health right from early childhood is essential; thus, you shouldn’t take it for granted and bring them to a pediatric dentist regularly.
Unfortunately, most parents don’t yet know this or understand its importance, so they fail to take the necessary measures to help maintain their children’s oral health when they’re infants. But remember that even before you involve professionals, you must ensure that you take care of your kid’s oral hygiene before their first tooth comes out.
In this regard, you can rub a clean dump cloth over their gums to keep them clean and remove any bacteria. Once the first baby tooth comes out, you can buy them a toothbrush designed for kids—those with smaller and softer bristles.
Moreover, it would help if you didn’t underrate the importance of pediatric dental care since it helps in protecting your child’s health and lowers their chances of getting problems like tooth decay.
In case you’re wondering where to start, below is a parent’s guide to pediatric dental care:
1. Have Prior Knowledge On The Services Offered By Pediatric Dentists
Pediatric dentists from a health center like Alligator Pediatric Dentistry are usually trained to not only treat kids but also to understand their emotional and developmental needs. Thus, they’re able to connect more effectively with the young ones. Knowing some of the services they offer as you prepare to introduce your child to dental care is essential. Here are some of them:
- Routine Checkups: You can take your child to the pediatric dentist from time to time so that they can examine the condition of their teeth. During these checkups, the experts can clean their teeth to avoid any accumulation of plaque or tartar. Regular checkups aim to ensure that the kids’ teeth develop properly and eliminate any chances of serious dental health problems.
- Dental Filings: A filing is used to treat a hole or cavity left after the dentist removes a decaying tooth. It helps in restoring the normal functioning of teeth. Most pediatric dentists are equipped with skills to make the process more comfortable.
- X-rays: Your child must get an x-ray at least once a year to check for abnormalities underneath their teeth. X-rays help detect oral problems unseen by the naked eye, like alignment issues. So, if they discover such an oral health concern, they can incorporate strategies to help the teeth grow with proper alignment. It and other developmental issues can subject the child to more than one x-ray as the pediatric dentist monitors their progress.
- Fluoride Treatment: These professionals offer fluoride varnish, a treatment that helps prevent the child’s teeth from decaying. If one has already started rotting, the same treatment is still effective since it helps stop or prevent the decay from spreading further. The process of applying the varnish is quite fast since the physician only applies it on the surface of the tooth.
- Dental Sealants: This is more of a preventive measure as it helps in reducing the likelihood of cavities. Doing it is simple since the pediatric dentist applies a thin coating on each tooth’s chewing surface, which hardens within a few seconds.
When you know the dental services offered by a dental clinic and what your child needs, you can rest easy that any dental health concern will be addressed promptly. So, take time to learn what your prospective dental health expert offers.
2. Know When To Start Visiting A Pediatric Dentist
Many children get their first deciduous teeth at around four to six months old. Thus, it’s highly recommendable that you take your child for their first dental visit within the first six months after the first tooth has come out.
The first visit if you have an infant isn’t usually long. It takes about half an hour to 45 minutes. It may include a few jaw, teeth, gums, tissues, and bite examinations to confirm whether the teeth are growing as they should. If the pediatric dentist detects any dental issues, they’ll be able to treat them, preventing them from escalating into a significant problem.
3. Look For An Accredited Pediatric Dental Clinic
With some background information on pediatric dental care, you’d want to look for a renowned healthcare center that offers some of the best services. You can either do your research online or get referrals from your friends or relatives.
Once you’ve settled on the dental clinic, there are a few things you’d want to confirm before you go there. They include:
- Policies regarding health insurance
- The reputation of the clinic
- If they have a kid-friendly environment
- Whether they have up-to-date machines to test and treat kids with oral health concerns
- The training and experience of the pediatric dentists
- The online reviews and patient feedback on their website
- The efficiency and reliability of doctors
The essence of doing this is to avoid being disappointed. You’d not want to find yourself in a hospital or clinic with quack doctors or any other inconveniences. Thus, it’s essential to do a little background research before you decide to take your child to a specific health center.
4. Book An Appointment
After you’ve settled on a clinic, the next step is to book an appointment with a dentist. With modern technological advancement, you will rarely find a clinic or hospital that doesn’t have a social media page or website.
Due to that fact, you can get their contact details through their site and call or text them to book an appointment. Apart from the contacts, you can also get the location information of the health center through the same platform.
When booking the appointment, it would also help to ask about the consultation fee and how much the clinic charges for different services. Doing so will help you have a proper plan and visit the clinic with the right amount of money.
5. Prepare For Your First Visit
It would be best if you made preparations based on your child’s age and the reason for visiting the clinic. So, for instance, if your child has tooth decay and swollen gums, you can call the dental clinic and confirm some of the procedures to expect. It will help you prepare yourself and your child psychologically if they’re past the infancy and toddler stages.
Preparing your child is important because most kids don’t like visiting the dentist. They’re usually scared of seeing needles, most probably because of the pain they encountered from the vaccination injections during their earlier development stages.
Therefore, you can take some time and explain that you will take them to the clinic. Tell them you’ll be right by their side; hence they don’t need to be scared. If the process involves x-rays, you can find a way to explain that to them and assure them that it won’t be a painful process.
Ideally, explaining the whole process as an adventurous activity rather than an ambiguous exercise would be best. That way, you’ll have less tension and distress as you go to the dentist.
Another thing you shouldn’t forget as you prepare is to pack all your child’s medical records if any. You may use the information to fill out other physical documents at the health center.
6. Take Your Child To The Dentist
With all the preparation that you’ve done, you can now comfortably visit the professional. Since most kids at this stage haven’t developed the courage to talk to the doctor, you can do it on their behalf.
If the child is past the toddler stage, the doctor may ask them a few questions, like how they’re feeling. Since the pediatric dentist is well-trained, they’ll give a diagnosis and treatment plan for the dental issue based on the symptoms.
They’ll still advise you on proper dental care tips if you’ve taken the child for a checkup. It would help you stay in the room while your child is being treated to help them stay calm and ease tension.
7. Ensure That You Follow The Experts’ Recommendations
After treating or examining your child, the pediatrician may recommend some of the best ways to maintain your child’s oral health. Moreover, they may have given the child some medication to suppress pain after a service like a tooth removal.
You’re obligated as a parent to ensure that you give your child the medicine at the stipulated times until they complete their dosage. It’s also essential that you follow all the guidelines they’ve given you on taking care of your kid’s teeth. Some of the things that they may advise you on include:
- How to brush and floss your child’s teeth correctly
- The best diet for your child
- How to protect your child’s gums
- The importance of avoiding sugary foods and drinks (junk)
- Why your kid needs to brush their teeth twice a day
You should heed the professional’s advice if you want your child to have healthy teeth.
Pediatric dental care is essential in helping your kids grow with healthy teeth, thus boosting their confidence. Some of the things you have to do as a parent while aiming to achieve oral health for your kid include: knowing the services that pediatric dentists offer, researching the best clinic to take your child, and preparing your kid to meet the pediatric dentist. Moreover, after visiting the pediatric dentist, it would help if you followed all the doctor’s recommendations regarding dental care to get the best results.