Children are not just small adults – they have their own set of medical rules governing their care. Did you know that cavities actually grow faster in baby teeth than adult teeth? Did you know that trauma to a child’s jaw can jolt the bones and actually cause asymmetrical growth of the face and dentition? Or that certain medications need to be avoided under the age of eight to avoid permanent grey staining of a child’s adult teeth? Treating a child requires specialized knowledge of the dynamic changes that accompany growth and development. A “pediatric dentist” is a dentist who has chosen to specialize in treating children, completing two to three years of additional residency training solely dedicated to understanding how to best care for your little ones.
In addition to thoroughly understanding the medical and anatomical differences in children, pediatric dentists have been educated in a child’s cognitive and emotional development. Utilizing this knowledge, a pediatric dentist will employ age-appropriate communication skills: non-threatening terminology that your child will understand. “Mr. Thirsty” “Jelly” “Sleepy Juice” and the “ice cream nose” are all “medical terms” you may hear about in the pediatric dental office. Specific communication-based guidance techniques are applied in a strategic manner and children have the opportunity to ask questions after the pediatric dentist patiently describes a procedure, tool or concept.
Here at Smiles4Kids, we’ve chosen to avoid white coats (which can trigger fear associations in children); we instead wear kid-friendly bright colors and scrubs. We train our staff in nonverbal behavior skills to create a warm, welcoming and safe environment for young children. Most adults can recall that scary image sitting in a dental chair as a needle comes toward your mouth – a good pediatric dentist will maneuver the needle just out of the eyesight of the child, and using a special topical gel in advance of the shot, the child often won’t even know they’ve been injected!
This year the American Medical Association changed their guidelines on juice consumption for children, significantly limiting an already low quantity. Last year a homeopathic teething tablet was cited for contamination leading to the serious medical complications in a number of children. Each year the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry updates their recommendations for kids based on new research results. Specializing in pediatric oral care and keeping up with these changes, a pediatric dentist is your informed source of information for the oral care of your child – a resource to you and your family.
Most importantly, pediatric dentists are those individuals in the dental field that have made a choice to dedicate their lives to caring for children – because they truly care. At Smiles4Kids we treat your kids as if they are our own, ensuring the best recommendations, treatment and experience for them. We welcome you and your families into our practice and look forward to seeing you at your next appointment.