Your children may not be seeing a pediatric dentist even if you think they are. As a parent, you might take your children to the dental office equivalent of Chuck E. Cheese: There are video games in the waiting room, televisions everywhere, and a ton of stuffed animals and distractions for children of all ages. The name of the office might even give you the impression that the dentists inside are pediatric dentists.
Many children’s dental offices are happy to give parents a false impression of their dentists’ credentials and training. A pediatric dentist has completed at least two years of additional training after dental school to earn the title of pediatric dentist. Pediatric dental residents learn the skills to be responsible for care of the growing child and to be the primary dental care provider for infants, children, adolescents, and patients with special needs. After residency, a board-certified pediatric dentist has also completed a rigorous written and oral examination administered by other pediatric dentists. A general dentist is not eligible to take this exam.
How can I tell if my children’s dentist is a pediatric dentist?
Ask your children’s dentist if he or she is a pediatric dentist. Most offices have their dentists’ bio online. Look to see if they completed a pediatric dental residency. Pediatric dentists are proud of the fact that they sacrificed years after dental school to specialize and to learn how to treat children safely.
At Dr. Garrett Pediatric Dentistry, your child will be treated only by Dr. Garrett Lee, a pediatric dentist certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. To make an appointment, call (916) 896-1285.
“Aren’t the baby teeth just going to fall out?” As a pediatric dentist, these questions come up every now and then and I am happy to explain why it is important to restore primary, or baby, teeth.
The first reason is that the primary molars don’t usually fall out on their own until at least age ten to twelve. Because we often see decay in these teeth before the age of six, we know that even a small cavity can progress and enlarge over the years and become a problem before the tooth falls out.
Another reason why preserving the health of primary teeth is important is because one of the functions of the primary teeth is to hold the space for the permanent teeth. When a primary tooth is extracted, there is always going to be some amount of space loss due to drifting of the other teeth. This occurs even when we take special precautions to preserve space with a space maintainer. Restoring and preserving a baby tooth is the best way to prevent unnecessary crowding in the future.
The last and I think most important reason to fix baby teeth is to prevent pain and infection. Studies have shown that tooth decay can have devastating consequences that extend beyond the dental chair. Rampant decay can negatively impact a child’s overall quality of life, inhibit their cognitive and social development and compromise their growth, function and self esteem.
A pediatric dentist will treat each patient as an individual. I always take into account the age of the patient and the expected age that a patient will lose a particular decayed tooth, and then make an assessment of risk and treat the patient accordingly.