Benefits of Pediatric Dentistry
Going to the dentist from an early age can help to lay the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health for your child. Prevention of problems plays a key role in modern dentistry and is particularly important in the dental development of growing youngsters.
For instance, preventive care and regular check-ups can help your child to avoid issues such as tooth decay – a common problem among U.S. youngsters. Your child’s dentist can also give you expert advice on at-home oral hygiene for your youngster. Besides stopping problems in their tracks, other benefits of pediatric dentistry include getting your youngster accustomed to dental visits.
Little Teeth with a Big Job
Primary teeth (aka baby teeth or milk teeth) may be temporary but they have an important job in:
- Reserving space for the permanent adult teeth that follow.
- Development of speech and facial structure.
However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 40 percent of babies get cavities as a result of tooth decay (dental caries).
Constant care is necessary to avoid cavities once baby teeth begin to appear – typically around the age of six months.
Decay in baby teeth can damage the permanent teeth growing beneath them, and premature loss of a milk tooth can result in adult teeth emerging crowded or crooked.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Dental Association (ADA) advise parents to take their baby for their first dental exam soon after their first tooth has come in, or by the age of 12 months.
This first dental appointment can spot any potential issues before they become serious. It also sets the scene for continuing oral health care enabling your child to get all the benefits of pediatric dentistry as they grow.
Your child’s dentist can also offer you invaluable advice on:
- How to get your baby through teething.
- The best way to brush your baby’s teeth.
- How to avoid problems like Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.
It’s important for your little one to continue to get regular dental exams to ensure their oral health stays on track.
Dental visits from a young age can go a long way toward making future appointments less daunting for your child. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says apprehension about going to the dentist can be eased by regular appointments before a problem develops.
Importance of Continued Dental Care During Childhood
Adult teeth start to emerge from around the age of six, and the threat of cavities is ever-present.
The CDC says:
- One in five kids aged five to 11 has tooth decay.
- Almost 20 percent of youngsters aged two to 19 have untreated cavities.
An unhealthy mouth can also lead to other issues, such as:
- Impaired speech.
- Inability to concentrate on key early learning experiences.
- Absences from school.
Oral health problems in children can have far-reaching consequences into adulthood. For instance, issues with facial appearance through dental disease can limit the ability to socialize and develop relationships.
One of the benefits of pediatric dentistry is that it allows for regular professional cleanings to help keep cavities at bay by removing accumulations of plaque and tartar, while early detection of tooth decay generally allows for conservative treatments that avoid the need for extractions.
Pediatric dentistry can also lessen the risk of your child developing cavities – with measures such as dental sealants and fluoride applications – and provide custom mouthguards to prevent sports injuries.
Sealants to Protect Back Teeth
Dental sealants create a barrier against the food debris and bacteria that result in build-ups of plaque and tartar. Sealants are typically used to treat children’s back teeth (molars) –permanent or milk teeth – with deep pits and grooves.
These teeth are most susceptible to decay because they’re used to chew food and are the most difficult to keep clean.
Fluoride Applications for Stronger Tooth Enamel
Fluoride treatments in pediatric dentistry contain a stronger concentration than available from standard fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses. The American Dental Association says that besides strengthening teeth, fluoride applications can reverse the early stages of tooth decay.
Fluoride protects your child’s teeth against cavities by strengthening tooth enamel – the protective outer layer of teeth.
Mouthguards for Sport Safety
Your child’s dentist can fit them with custom-made mouthguards – a vital piece of safety equipment in contact sports such as football, soccer, basketball, martial arts, hockey, and boxing and wrestling.
Research suggests that every year more than two million kids in the U.S. suffer sports-related oral trauma resulting in tooth loss. A mouthguard can prevent injuries like these.
Orthodontic Care for Teens
If your youngster needs orthodontic care as they progress into their teen years, one benefit of pediatric dentistry is that being child-focused, your dentist is likely to offer advanced teeth-straightening systems like Invisalign Teen aligners – a big hit with youngsters because, as the name suggests, they’re practically invisible.
Designed specifically for teens, these plastic aligners provide a popular alternative to conventional fixed metal braces.
Invisalign appliances are also removable, which means your youngster can continue to brush and floss as normal, without any of the oral hygiene problems associated with fixed braces. They’ll also be able to eat what they want, including hard foods that might damage the wires and brackets of regular braces.
Learning Good Oral Health Habits That Will Last a Lifetime
If your child develops good oral health habits from an early age, these practices are likely to last throughout their life.
Pediatric dentistry for younger children can help them prevent cavities by getting into the habit of brushing and flossing regularly and properly.
Just as good habits can be formed at a young age, so can apprehensions. Your child is far less likely to develop a fear of the dentist if they begin their dental visits early in life.
Many dental problems develop noticeable symptoms such as discomfort only when the issue has persisted for some time, and a key benefit of pediatric dentistry is catching problems early, which can avoid the need for more lengthy and expensive treatment in the future.
Pediatric dentistry can provide comprehensive oral healthcare for your youngster, from the time they get their first tooth and through childhood and into adolescence, paving the way for lifelong strong and healthy teeth.