Do Baby Teeth Matter At All?
Healthy Smiles August 2018
By Dr. Megan
We are constantly encountered with questions from parents asking whether it is important to maintain baby teeth. After all, kids lose them, right?
Through my years of experience working with children, I have seen a variety of reactions from children as they step into the clinic. Some are very cheerful, excited and can’t wait to jump on the chair, and some other…not so excited!
Children are not all the same. We all know twins with different characters, personalities and coping skills. If it takes a little longer for one child to get himself or herself adjusted to a setting, we can only remain patient and be supportive. The rewarding part of my daily experience is when I see improvement. This would be my “YES!” moment to see a child trusting their dentist and the staff.
According to the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, it is recommended that children be seen by a dentist by their first birthday, and every six months thereafter. As children encounter a child-friendly setting twice a year, their anxiety and fear diminishes more and more. They develop a level of trust and comfort, which prepares them for future, in case any treatment is needed. Now, let’s think of a child who has not been exposed to such settings, and around age 5, he/she develops an abscess on a tooth that never seemed to be a problem because there was no obvious “hole” in it? How do you think this child would react when the dentists decides the tooth needs immediate treatment before the infections becomes systemic and requires hospitalization?
Exposing children to a friendly dental setting early in their life makes them feel comfortable and more at ease. A dental visit does not have to be a source of anxiety for a child or in general for anyone! How many adults do we know who are nervous to see their dentists, even for a cleaning? A good number of nervous parents usually reveal to me they did not have a good dental experience as a child. I must confess, I didn’t! The dental office I used to go to did not have any TV, toys, any comic character (to be more specific no Cinderella for me!), or even laughing gas. Every treatment was done in the “real world” which is not every kid’s favorite place to be at.
So “baby teeth life matters!”
Why to take your kids to a pediatric dentist?
In order to become a dentist, one finishes 4 years of Dental School after obtaining a bachelor degree. At this point, they are titled a “general dentist”. A general dentist receives training on almost all aspects of dentistry including cosmetics, fillings, crown/bridge, denture, implant, some pediatric dentistry, and usually limited training on orthodontics. However the committed general dentists do not stop here and move on by taking additional courses after they graduate to be able to do and offer more to their patients.
A pediatric dentist advances his/her education further to receive 2-3 years of specialty training in pediatric dentistry through which they get extensive exposure to all aspects of dealing with children including infants and adolescents, including treatment under sedation. As a requirement of their training they usually have to perform more than 50 cases of treatment under sedation to graduate. This training is significantly different and more in-depth than a continuing education course taken in one to multiple sessions.
In conclusion, a pediatric dentist sees and treats kids all day along, rather than sporadically. Through experience, they usually are well able to predict what could come next through looking at the child’s face and body language. In general, the children have proved to perform a lot better in a dental chair if they are exposed to a child-friendly environment early in life.
Please feel free to come by and visit our fun and child-friendly practice at: 230 Green Valley Rd, Freedom, CA 95019 (831) 722-9202
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