Pediatric dentistry is the practice of dental care in children. Pediatric dentists diagnose children's dental conditions and provide treatment for the gums, teeth, and jaw. They conduct oral health exams, assess disorders, and often recommend preventative care to ensure proper growth. Pediatric dentists see children as young as six months old to examine their dental development. They continue to evaluate children as they undergo the transition from primary (baby) teeth to permanent (adult) teeth.
When caring for a young patient, pediatric dentists consider the patient's age, medical history, special requirements, and family preferences. Treatments and procedures a pediatric dentist may perform include:
Pediatric dentists may remove cavities or decay using three different methods. Microabrasion, laser treatment, or dental drill all may be used depending on the child's age and severity of decay. Once a cavity is removed, the empty area may be filled with composite resin or dental amalgam (silver). A final sealant is applied to the tooth to prevent the recurrence of decay. Pediatric dentists often use topical fluoride treatments containing fluorine, a natural compound that can improve tooth enamel and reduce decay.
Pediatric dentists may offer educational resources to children and their families. These lessons typically involve instruction on correct brushing and flossing practices, as well as a diet that is dental-healthy.