Medicine is medicine, right? Wrong. Kids and adults have very different needs for the treatment they receive from their doctor for their health and well-being. This is especially true for dental health and good oral hygiene. Children's dental care is a specialized field, which requires specific training, tools, treatment, and medical knowledge. All of which work to make the procedures being performed as efficient, effective, and stress-free as possible for both parents and children.
The field of children's dentistry is called pediatric dentistry. Pediatric dentists are trained to address dental issues in newborns to help retain a healthy smile all the way through a child's adolescence. The practice of pediatric dentistry is a recognized dental specialization of focus, recognized by the American Dental Association. Licensed pediatric dentists are individuals who have completed a four-year-long certified dental school and an additional two years or more of specialized residency training at an approved facility. This residency can include work with infants, children, teens, and children who have special needs. Lastly, as is true with any professional medical practitioner, pediatric dentists must be state-certified to treat patients.
Children’s Dental Treatment Versus Adult Treatment
One's body goes through several substantial, maturational shifts over the course of the first 15-20 years of life. However, the difference between an infant's physiology and medical needs differ substantially from that of a matured 20-year-old's body. The period of a child's first eight to ten years of life comprise the largest changes in their developmental maturity.
Unlike the saying, “comparing children to little-adults” is simply not accurate when speaking of a child's physiology. Furthermore, the law does not permit a child to make medical decisions without the consent of an adult guardian who must be present with the child during all medical procedures and checkups. For this reason, pediatric dentists and pediatricians are akin to not only treating the child but also, in effect, treating the parents as well.
Pediatrics and Pediatric Orthodontics
The field of pediatrics is classically considered a “modern medicine.” From some of the earliest roots of the scientific study of medicine in ancient Greece, the differences between the medical necessities of children and those of adults were understood and documented. The second-century Greek philosopher, Celsus, in addressing concerns of medical care, is quoted as having said:
“In general, boys should not be treated in the same way as men.” (Ex toto non sic pueri ut viri curari debent)
Benefits of Pediatric Dentistry
The manner in which a child is introduced to medical checkups and treatments through the first few years will determine their predictions about how they care for their own oral health in the future. Therefore, oral examinations carried out early and often are essential in the detection of problems, such as early tooth decay and preventative measures, which can maintain your child's oral health and overall longevity of life.
Pediatric dentists act to accomplish the early detection of looming oral health issues and identifying and modifying aberrant habits before they become a larger problem. If ever you have had a negative experience at a dentist's office, you know how important it is to be gentle and delicate with a child's early dental procedures and medical treatment. For the better care of our children, as parents, we take children to a pediatric dental center like Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics with over ten locations in the greater Atlanta, GA area alone.
It is important to find a good pediatrician and pediatric dentist and establish an ongoing relationship between yourself, your pediatric dentist, and your child. Openness and communicativeness are the best tools in enabling a medical professional to best care for your child. After all, is there anything more important than the healthy smile of a child?