What is a Pediatric Dentist?
Pediatric Dentistry is a dental specialty that provides comprehensive, preventative, and therapeutic oral health care for infants, children, adolescents, and teens. This includes those patients with special health care needs as well. A pediatric dentist is required to complete an extra two to three year residency program after dental school. This includes additional training in child psychology, behavior management, growth and development, facial injuries, restorative dentistry, orthodontics, and preventive care. In addition, a pediatric dentist is qualified to perform conscious sedations and hospital dentistry.
What will happen at my child's first visit?
Because each child has different needs, all patients are first seen for a consultation prior to any appointments to render treatment. At this initial visit, a patient may also have a cleaning and fluoride treatment performed, and/or x-rays taken. X-rays may be indicated to diagnose tooth decay, as well as monitor the development and eruption of teeth. Dr. Elvington will evaluate your child and discuss any treatment needs he or she may have. She will also discuss the manner of treatment to give your child the best possible dental experience.
Do I stay with my child during the dental visit?
We invite you to come back to the treatment room with your child for visits in our office. However, due to limited space in our treatment rooms, we can only allow one parent back with each child. During the initial and routine check-up appointments, this will give Dr. Elvington and her staff the opportunity to discuss any dental findings and necessary treatment your child may have directly with you.
What if my child is very young, anxious, or needs extensive work done?
Dr. Elvington will evaluate and discuss with you the best way to address your child's needs. It is important to consider many factors, including age, size, health history, level of anxiety (if any), and extent of treatment needed. Services offered include treatment with nitrous oxide ("laughing gas"), conscious sedation in the office, or outpatient surgery under general anesthesia. Both nitrous oxide and conscious sedation aid in calming a child, allowing our staff to provide quality dental care. However, some of our patients, due to a young age, extensive or urgent dental needs, health concerns, or severe anxiety may have their treatment rendered in a hospital setting where they are completely asleep (general anesthesia). These options will be discussed with you following your child's initial dental examination.
When to see the dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child be seen for a first dental visit by age one. For more information about year one dental healthcare, check out our brochure, called "Get it Done in Year One".
How can I prevent cavities?
- Brush your child’s teeth for him twice a day, especially before bedtime. This should continue to around age 8, when your child may be able to begin to brush without assistance, depending on the maturity and hand coordination of your child. However, supervision should continue into adolescence.
- Floss your child's teeth daily. Floss reaches the areas in between the teeth that the toothbrush cannot.
- Have regular dental checkups- at least every six months. This is especially important for children because a small cavity can become a large cavity very quickly.
- Try to limit the frequency of snacks between meals. Even snacks that you don't think of as "sweets" (crackers, potato chips, etc) can stick in the teeth and cause cavities. Also, water is the best thing to drink between meals, as fruit juices, soft drinks, sweet tea, etc. can also cause tooth decay.
- Do not put your child to bed at night with a bottle or sippy cup in his mouth. This is the number one cause of early childhood caries, or "baby bottle tooth decay."
- Talk to your dentist about having sealants placed on the teeth. A sealant is a protective coating that is painted on the grooves of the teeth that helps make them more resistant to decay. This is most often done on the permanent teeth, usually when the 6-year molars begin to come in.