As parents you do understand that your child needs to visit a pediatrician and not a family doctor. However ambiguity still lies in whether your kid needs a family dentist or a pediatric dentist.
A pediatric dentist undergoes three years of specialty training after graduate school. During these three years, a pediatric dentist is thoroughly coached to understand child psychology and provide preventive and therapeutic care for infants and children through their teens. The are also qualified in treating children with special health care needs.
Dealing with children is a completely different ball game. The most important challenge for a pediatric dentist is to be able to understand the physical, emotional and mental well being of a child and provide them with optimum oral health. They have to monitor the growth and development of the child through their adolescence, in order to diagnose and provide preventive as well as anticipatory treatments. As we all know, kids obviously differ in physical attributes like height and weight from adults. However for a pediatric dentist this information assists them in prescribing the optimal medication and dosage required for the treatment. The choice of medication may vary drastically depending on a child’s growth and age. The complexity in dealing with children does not simply end there. A child’s cognitive, social, communication, thinking and reasoning capabilities deviate acutely as compared to adults. The dentist needs to understand how to communicate and interact with children in their comfort zone. In addition, children have a limited attention span and can easily get grouchy over longer treatments. The duration of the treatment should be as speedy as possible and they need constant motivation to keep them engaged through the activity. Also, a pediatric clinic is designed to provide a comfortable and a kid friendly atmosphere.
Prevention is better than cure. Likewise, a pediatric dentist not only provides children with dental treatments, but also educates them on appropriate brushing techniques and cultivates a sense of good oral hygiene. Kids learn more quickly at an early age.
Every child is unique and so is their smile. They truly deserve special attention and care, even when it comes to their teeth. Your choice to take them to the pediatric dentist would make all the difference!
Dr Ankita Shah
(MDS Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry)