With our busy schedules and seemingly endless to-do lists, it is easy to put off taking our kids to the dentist – we probably don’t go ourselves unless we are suffering from unendurable pain. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? This expression might have some truth to it, but it certainly does not apply to our oral health. When it comes to your kids’ pearly whites, prevention and early treatment are key to ensuring not only your children’s oral health but their overall physical health as well.

Read on to learn more about pediatric dentistry and where to find the best pediatric specialists in Salt Lake City.

What Is a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist is a specialist who provides preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs. Pediatric dentists provide care, carry out research, and teach in diverse clinical and institutional settings. They collaborate with other health care providers and
members of social disciplines for the wellbeing of children.

To become a pediatric dentist, after four years of dental school, a dentist must complete a 24-month advanced education program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Pediatric dentistry programs cover a variety of disciplines, techniques, procedures, and skills which are adapted to the particular needs of infants, children, adolescents, and those with special health care needs.

The work-scope of a pediatric dentist encompasses all of the following:

• Behavior guidance (for example, pacifier use and thumb sucking)
• Care of medically and developmentally compromised and disabled patients
• Supervision of orofacial growth and development, including early assessment and treatment for straightening teeth and correcting an improper bite (orthodontics)
• Caries prevention, including cleaning and fluoride treatments, as well as nutrition and diet recommendations
• Repair of tooth cavities or defects
• Management of gum diseases and conditions including ulcers, short frenulae, mucoceles, and pediatric periodontal disease
• Care for dental injuries (for instance, fractured, displaced or knocked-out teeth)
• Pharmacological management, including sedation

Why Is Pediatric Dentistry Important?

As any parent knows, children usually feel nervous or even terrified of the simplest medical procedures – and unfortunately visits to the dentist are not the exception. Thankfully, pediatric dentists know how to examine children and interact with them in ways that put them at ease. Furthermore, the entire office is geared towards children from the equipment to the decoration – don’t underestimate the soothing effect of a set of Peppa Pig scrubs!

Not only do pediatric dentists win over their patients with fun outfits and decorations, but – more importantly – they also explain and demonstrate to kids step by step what they will do before they even ask the children to open their mouths. For example, a water flosser looks scary even to adults, but if children have seen how it works and maybe felt the water on their hands, instead of being afraid, they might think it seems fun and look forward to a cleaning.

Is Pediatric Dentistry a Modern Invention?

As parents, it often seems like the world our kids are growing up in is vastly different from the one we grew up in, and it is hard to distinguish between true improvements/necessities on one hand and inventions of consumer society on the other. However, in the case of pediatric dentistry, the American Dental Association officially recognized this specialty in 1940, and the American Academy of Pedodontics was founded in 1947. Furthermore, the first book on children’s dentistry dates all the way back to 1742. In other words, pediatric dentistry is by no means a new fad.

Moreover, taking kids to the dentist nowadays is even more important than it was in the past. According to the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2004), tooth decay in children ages two to eleven has been increasing since the mid-1990s with younger children being more severely affected. The aforementioned survey found that 42% of children two to eleven have had dental caries in their primary teeth, so if you haven’t yet taken your children to the dentist, it is imperative that you do so; remember that with oral health sooner is always better.

Kids Dentist Near Me

If you live in or around Salt Lake City, Utah, we have three conveniently located pediatric dentistry offices for you to choose from: in Redwood, in South Davis, and in Herriman. Click on the location nearest you to get to know us a little better – the more you know us, the more you’ll love us; then call to schedule your child’s appointment today!