If I’m being honest, I owe a lot of my good health practices to my paediatrician. I have been told that he had been faithfully seeing me from birth until my teenage years. Vaccines, coughs, tummy aches, fevers… Dr. B helped me through it all. I was often so excited to see the gentle doctor with the tickles and the lollipops. Sure, there were times when my anxiety would displace a brave face. But somehow Dr. B would know just what to do to keep me comfortable. Undoubtedly, there were many excellent general practitioners out there who were more than capable of providing me with good health care. But paediatricians like my own have their special little touch when it comes to children, and are quite often a parent’s first choice.
What If My Child Needs Specialized Dental Care?
Dentistry also offers a similar choice. Extremely qualified general dentists see patients of all ages every day. Although many children have reports of an enjoyable experience, for others, it may not be as straightforward. A dental visit can sometimes be a big challenge for both parent and child. Anxiety, special needs and specific medical problems can often serve as large barriers against the care that general dentists are trained to give. Fortunately, there is a very special group of dentists reserved for these cases.
What Is a Paediatric Dentist?
Paediatric dentists (or paedodontists) are oral health care providers that are specially trained to meet the dental needs of persons under the age of 18. They accommodate infants and children, as well as those in our communities with special needs. They are the paediatricians of dentistry and are just as available and specially qualified to attend to any and every child. Their practice is not just limited to kids who have had problems with treatment in the past, but first time visits are often welcomed and encouraged. The list of roles of paediatric dentists in today’s oral health world is extensive, but there are some basics that would be helpful to know.
That Does a Paediatric Dentist Do?
A Paediatric dentist can:
- Provide basic dental care including exams, x-rays and cleanings for your child.
- Provide advanced dental care including fillings, root canals and crowns for your child in a way that best accommodates them.
- Offer early orthodontic treatment that may reduce the need for such treatment in the future.
- Treat your child who may have a special need.
- Work with anxiety and behavioural problems that may have hindered effective treatment in the past.
- Help improve your child’s response to health care procedures in general.
- Administer sedation and anaesthesia techniques for patient comfort as seen fit.
- Equip you with the tools and knowledge required to improve your child’s dental and general health.
It is always a good thing when a parent decides to prioritize their child’s health and seek medical care. Just as paediatricians are there to effectively do their part, it’s important to know that their dental counterparts are also available. Parents are most definitely encouraged to start conversations with their family dentists about the suitability of specialized paediatric care for their young ones.