Should I take my child to a pediatric dentist?

It isn’t only adults that should see their dentist for regular examinations of the health and condition of their teeth. Annual or six-monthly dental appointments are one of the best forms of preventative care that we have, as enabling your dentist to closely monitor your teeth is a very effective way of identifying any developing problems early on – meaning that they can be treated before they can cause pain, other debilitating symptoms and have irreversible consequences for your oral health and smile. Children benefit from these appointments just as much as adults do.  


One of the questions that many parents struggle with is deciding whether to take their child to a pediatric rather than a general dentist. Here’s what you need to know about why you certainly should take your child to see a pediatric dentist for their dental care.

What is a pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentists have gone through the same education and training as general dentists but have chosen to then specialize in providing dental treatment for children of all ages, ranging from infancy to adulthood. Pediatric dentists also get specialist training, not only in issues that most commonly affect children’s teeth and oral health but also in understanding children’s behaviors and how to make them feel comfortable and secure when attending the dental appointments.

Pediatric dentists are trained to treat developing teeth and gums

One of the biggest differences between pediatric and adult dental care is that the teeth and gums of children are still developing. Although it is rare for babies to be born with teeth, most will have cut at least a few of them in their first year of life. These will continue to erupt until your child has their first full set of teeth, usually by the time they are three years old. However, these teeth are only temporary, and they will start to fall out roughly in the order that they first came through, starting at around the age of 6. These will then be replaced by their permanent teeth. All the while, your child’s jaw, and gums are also still growing and developing.


Pediatric dentists receive specialized education and training on caring for growing teeth and gums, meaning that if they experience an issue such as retained baby teeth or late eruptions, they are best placed to handle them.

A pediatric dentist can best address child-specific habits

There is a range of dental issues that nearly only affect children. Many of these are caused by habits include thumb sucking, pacifier use, and drinking juice out of a bottle for too long. Teeth grinding and nail-biting also often begins in childhood and, without treatment, can extend into our adult lives. For example, prolonged thumb-sucking and pacifier use can cause teeth to become improperly aligned, pushing them outwards and causing an overbite. The longer thumb-sucking occurs, the more likely it will be that your child needs orthodontic treatment.


Pediatric dentists understand why these habits develop and can work with you and your little one to break them early on before they have a significant impact on your child’s oral health and teeth.

Pediatric dentists help educate children on the importance of oral health

Studies have found that children who are taught the importance of oral health from an early age and who develop good oral hygiene habits are more likely to maintain these as they get older, and experience fewer dental issues. Your pediatric dentist will be able to help your child to understand why brushing is necessary, how to brush and how to floss, and how what they eat and drink will impact on the condition and longevity of their smile.

Pediatric dentists can put your child at ease

Pediatric dentists know and understand what makes a visit to the dentist frightening for a young child and appreciate why they might be nervous or fearful. Their extensive training and experience also mean that they can quickly determine how best to help your child feel at ease so that they can receive the dental care that they need. This may be in the way that they talk to them or the information that they choose to share with them, or even in the distraction techniques that they use. They don’t make your child feel silly for being worried and help them to understand that in most cases, dental fear comes from worrying about the unknown rather than the procedures themselves. Many pediatric dentists have gone so far as decorating their offices and treatment rooms with bright colors, comfortable furniture, and even technology such as projector games or tv screens to distract and delight young visitors.

If you would like to find out more about pediatric dentists and how they can support your child with their oral health, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly dental team today.

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