Pediatric Dentistry: Keeping an eye on growing teeth
The pediatric dentist’s first concern is ensuring that kids and teens have a healthy, attractive and functional oral environment, whatever the child’s general health or psychological state of development. Such specialists take three additional years of university study culminating in a Masters degree.
The Quebec Association of Pediatric Dentists is committed to improving the dental health of young Quebeckers by staying abreast of the latest professional advances and sharing this information with dental generalists and the public. It has, for example, helped abolish the belief that children should only start seeing a dentist at age 3 or 4 by demonstrating that it would be best for appointments to begin when kids are one year old. The benefits of this approach have been clearly proven and parents are beginning to catch on.
Pediatric dentistry is unique in that it pertains to constantly growing patients. Children’s teeth evolve just like their minds. Consequently, they will be very different at the age of 3, than at 7, 9 or 14.
There's nothing better than a smile
Victor Borg, a musician and comedian who made millions of spectators laugh, once said, “The shortest distance between two people is a smile.” The proliferation of “esthetic” dental products (teeth whiteners, invisible orthodontia, veneers, etc.) has surged, highlighting society’s obsession with “the perfect smile.” Aren’t kids entitled to this smile, too? Five to 10% of Quebec’s young children suffer from tooth decay that can spoil their glowing grin and cause adverse health consequences, even if a child doesn’t complain of pain. Pediatric dentists know the importance of restoring a child’s smile following injury, malocclusion or serious dental problems. Children need good teeth and a nice smile to feel positively about themselves right now—rather than having to “wait ‘til they’re older.”
Once upon a time, people were afraid of going to the dentist. Children who still feel this way do so because of a bad experience or fear handed down from parents. Actually, more dentists are afraid of kids than the other way around! Pediatric dentists and generalists who work with children have learned to handle their young patients with serenity and tact. Generalists and pediatric dentists, in particular, are committed to managing a child’s dental well-being from infancy to adulthood—through bad habits, poor self-esteem, legitimate concerns about treatments they don’t understand and occasionally unpleasant procedures (such as realigning injured teeth and keeping them viable, since most traumatic incidents occur among the young!).
Nothing can be more gratifying to a pediatric dentist than to give young adults, whose whole lives lie ahead of them, healthy and happy teeth, while teaching them good oral hygiene habits that will help them achieve success anytime and anywhere—through the power of a smile!
Three-year old with cavities repaired by a pediatric dentist.