Care for baby’s first set of pearly whites, on to her permanent teeth should be given top priority.
However, not many parents know that there are dentists who specialize in children’s dental care.
Pedodontists or pediatric dentists do not only make babies’ smiles more enchanting, but they also assure smiles on parents’ delighted faces, knowing their bundles of joy are given the best oral/dental attention.
Dr. Eric Hernandez, a Diplomate in the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, a Fellow in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and a member of the College of Diplomates of the A.B.P.D., explains, “Pediatric dentists are trained to watch for abnormalities and to recognize oral disease before it gets worse.”
After two to three years specialty training following dental school, they then concentrate on pediatric medicine, child psychology, and growth and development and focuses primarily on treating children, from infancy onto adolescence.
Dr. Hernandez advises parents to “plan your first dental visit around 6 months but no later than 1 year, or with the appearance of a child’s first tooth. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems.” He says children with healthy teeth chew food easily, learn to speak clearly, and smile with confidence.
A well-cared for set of primary or baby teeth also aid in forming a path for permanent teeth to follow when they are ready to erupt. At age 2 to 2 1/2 years, the complete set of baby teeth should have already come out. Dentists would then have a good idea how the child’s permanent teeth will be like.
Dr. Meg Rivera-Jugueta, D.D.M., often teaches proper dental care to preschoolers. She advises, “It is important for the child’s first dental appointment to be friendly, short and pain-free. I usually give a token of a balloon or toy to young kids as a reward for their bravery and cooperation on their first visit. I end the session with an affectionate gesture like a hug or a “flying kiss” to seal our rapport.”