As a specialist in pediatric dentistry, we treat many of the same problems that plague adults. In that regard, we are very much like a regular dentist. The biggest difference, as you can imagine, is the age of our patients. While the challenges that face adults and children are often the same. Addressing these challenges can be more difficult when dealing with children. For an adult, it is usually pretty simple to determine what is going on, for example where they are experiencing discomfort. A child may not be able to communicate this as effectively, sometimes pointing to a region of their mouth instead of a specific tooth or part of the gum. In addition to this we have the challenge that children are typically more nervous of the experience. They are already intimidated coming in to see a dentist, and then there is the chair, all the equipment, and people in white coats. An important part of being a pediatric dentist is learning to pace the child so that we can get all the work that needs to be done completed, without completely overwhelming them. Talking them through various steps, allowing them to pre-touch the equipment, and working at a slower pace are all vital to achieving this goal.
In pediatric dentistry, there are a number of more common problems that we deal with in children. The most common, as many parents can attest to, is the occurrence of cavities. Cavities are also known as tooth decay. For children, and for adults, untreated cavities can cause discomfort and spread to other areas of the mouth. Luckily decay is one of the easier things to prevent, and when it does occur we can fill cavities very easily as well. Decay in teeth is caused by a natural occurrence of bacteria. This bacteria tends to colonize parts of the teeth, and when they are given food they secret acid. The bacteria are particularly partial to foods high in sugar and starch content. The acid secreted will damage the enamel and eventually cause a small hole to appear. The easiest way to avoid cavities is to teach your children great oral health habits so that they never allow the bacteria to build up to damage causing levels. Great oral habits include brushing twice per day, using floss on a regular basis, rinsing after meals and also after snacks, and making it a habit to visit the dentist at least twice a year. For children, this regiment is critical.
Some of the other things we find common to pediatric dentistry and regular dentistry are things like canker sores. Caused by a number of different factors, canker sores are painful for children. They can very easily be dealt with by using an anti-microbial mouthwash. Also, one sure way to tell if you child is having a dental issue is tooth sensitivity. Children will frequently complain of discomfort when they eat something hot, cold, or sweet. This sensitivity can be a parent's best friend as it alerts you to the fact that you need to come in and visit our pediatric dentistry office.