Did you know that approximately only half of American children between the ages of two and 17 receive an annual dental checkup? This means that approximately 32 million children every year are not getting the dental care that they need to stay healthy. One of the reasons behind this is the misconceptions about kids’ dentistry. In this blog, we will be covering some of the most common questions about kids’ dentistry.
What Is Pediatric Dentistry and How Is It Different?
Just like you take your child to the pediatrician for their healthcare needs, you should take your child to the pediatric dentist for their dental needs. Pediatric dentists specialize in working with children, so they are exceptionally patient and trained to help them relax and gain a positive relationship with the dentist. By starting positive dental habits and oral care habits early in your child’s life, you can reduce the odds of them having anxiety about trips to the dentist and improve their overall health.
Can Kids Have Dental Problems?
Yes! Anyone with teeth in their mouth can have dental problems, even if they are baby teeth. Some dental problems start early in life, including early childhood caries, which are also referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. Gum disease can also begin in childhood. By addressing negative oral habits, like pacifier use or thumb sucking, you will improve the chances of your child having a beautiful, strong, healthy smile.
Are Baby Teeth Important?
Some parents assume that baby teeth are not that important because their child will eventually have adult teeth that replace them. While the latter part of that is true, the primary teeth in your child’s mouth are critical to their overall health and well-being. Baby teeth assist your child in chewing, speaking, and feeling confident. By maintaining healthy baby teeth, you will help ensure proper jawbone development and make space for permanent teeth. Despite being called baby teeth, some of the primary teeth in your child’s mouth might be there until they are 13 or 14 years old, so proper care is important.
How Can You Get Your Child Ready for the Dentist?
The first dental appointment can be intimidating, particularly if you have anxiety about going to the dentist. Treat this appointment the same as other firsts in your child’s life, like their first trip to the pediatrician or their first haircut. Be honest and open with your child about where they are going and what to expect. Make it clear that everyone goes to the dentist, including you, and that there is nothing to be afraid of. Pediatric dentists are used to working with children, so they will take extra time to explain what they are doing.
Does Preventative Care Matter?
Absolutely! Preventative care is still important, even for children with primary teeth in their mouths. Many children can experience uncomfortable tooth decay that can make it hard to chew and focus in the classroom. Preventative care for children can include things like sealants that add extra protection to teeth that are particularly prone to decay. Acting now will keep your child healthy in the future.
How Often Should Your Child Visit the Dentist?
In general, children should visit the pediatric dentist every six months to catch dental problems before they worsen and prevent tooth decay. If your child has any special concerns, their pediatric dentist will let you know if a different appointment schedule would be better for their needs.
Keep Your Child Healthy
At Pediatric Dental Specialists in Kansas City, we are happy to answer all of your questions about childhood dental care. We deeply care about helping children gain a positive relationship with the dentist and start their oral health journeys off on the right foot. To schedule your appointment or learn more, call us today at (913) 649-KIDS (5437).