The Ins And Outs Of Pediatric Dentistry


When it comes to your children’s health, you want to do everything you possibly can to ensure that they’re receiving the proper care. You take them to a thoroughly-vetted family doctor, you choose the daycare provider with stellar reviews and recommendations, and you know all of the common signs of an oncoming cold by now.

Another area of health that needs just as much of your attention is their oral health. Not every dentist is the same and going to the dentist can be a frightening ordeal for little ones. That’s where pediatric dentists come into play. Let’s dive into how these dentists differ from standard ones and what services they can offer when you bring your kids there.

What is a pediatric dentist?

A pediatric dentist, also known as a pedodontist, is a dentist who is specialized in caring for the dental needs of children from infancy through adolescence. To receive this specialization, these dentists go through an additional two to three years of child-specific training after completing the traditional dental school requirements.

Pedodontists will typically also study child psychology so that they can communicate with children in a gentle yet effective manner that makes them feel comfortable in what can otherwise be a scary environment. This insight into a child’s mindset allows pediatric dentists to make a recommendation of behavior guidance methods for individual children based on their emotional and intellectual development as well as their dental needs.

What treatments do they provide?

At the intersection of general dentistry and pediatricians, pediatric dentists can provide services that range from traditional preventative practices to treating dental emergencies. No matter the severity of the treatment, these dentists will likely provide the service in a dentistry office that is colorful, fun, and child-friendly. A major objective in this form of dentistry to prevent children from developing dental phobias. Having a comforting environment during dental procedures in childhood is essential in that goal.

In this friendly space, a dentist for children will typically offer the following forms of oral care:

  • Prevention: It’s important for children to go to the dentist regularly for cleaning and fluoride treatments starting at an early age. Early childhood dental caries, which is an infectious disease, is five times more common in children than asthma. Kids dentists can prevent caries, cavities, and childhood tooth decay by providing preventative treatments that protect tooth enamel.
  • Early detection: Pedodontists can predict future oral problems with the help of x-rays, computer modeling, and examinations. With early detection, dentists can achieve the most optimal outcome by starting treatment early. Oral issues these dentists can foresee include jaw irregularities, malocclusion (bad bite), and attrition due to grinding.
  • Treatment: Outside of the preventative treatments we discussed above, dentists for children provide a wide range of treatments that benefit a child’s oral health. For instance, a dentist can provide space maintainers for a child who loses their teeth too soon. This treatment ensures that their teeth do not become misaligned. Pediatric dentists can also treat oral trauma and perform pulp therapy.
  • Education: Parents can also benefit from the services of a pedodontist. They can advise parents on what toothpaste to use, drinks and foods that can be harmful to children’s teeth, thumb-sucking cessation, and more. According to a study in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry, over 65% of parents who used bottled water didn’t know the levels of fluoride it contained. Going to a dentist who specialized in children’s oral care can give parents much more insight on topics like this.

As specialists in their field, pedodontists will also be up to date on the latest advances in dentistry. By bringing your child to a kids dentist, you will be providing them with the most current and comprehensive care.

Why go to a pediatric dentist instead of a general dentist?

General dentists are trained in pediatric dentistry when they go to dental school, giving them the skills they need to treat a child’s oral health if necessary. The major difference comes with a general dentist’s level of comfort in treating children versus that of a pediatric dentist and their knowledge of children’s behavior.

A family dentist may not have the “pediatric” title, but with the experience of serving many families they are likely well-equipped to care for children. Another general dentist, however, may not be comfortable treating a young child or a child with special needs. In these cases, you would want to take your child to a pedodontist who will have a warm and welcoming environment and the skills necessary to make your child feel at ease.

When you’re looking for the best dental care possible for the little ones in your family, turn to an experienced kids dentist. Contact Smilez Pediatric Dental Group to start your journey with the best kids dentist in Chantilly and learn more about their practice today.