By Vishant Nath DMD, Pediatric Dentist
The last thing that you want to hear at your child’s dental visit is that treatment is needed. Everyone wants to hear the dentist say “Your child has no cavities, see you in six months!” Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. So what’s the best advice when your child needs dental treatment? Read on!
When your child is diagnosed with the need for dental treatment, it is very important that the parents (1) understand why the treatment is needed and (2) have trust in the child’s dentist to best diagnose the treatment. In most cases, when treatment is prescribed in children, time is of the essence. Primary, or baby teeth are softer than permanent, or adult teeth. Because of this, decay can often spread quickly in children. This means that it’s important to get your child’s dental treatment completed in a timely manner.
You want to walk away from any diagnosis understanding what your child’s dentist is prescribing regarding treatment, and why they are taking this approach. If you do not understand, make it a point to ask lots of questions so that you understand exactly what the issue is and how the dentist is recommending it be treated. Even if you plan to get a second opinion (which is highly recommended), ask lots of questions. This is a good time to educate yourself. There are often times different ways to treat dental issues. The information you receive by asking questions may help you to decide which approach you are most comfortable with regarding your child’s dental treatment.
If you do plan to get a second opinion, make sure that you get the second opinion quickly. If you wait too long, your child’s need for treatment may worsen, which will mean that the dentists are not comparing the same situation, and therefore their diagnoses could differ.
After you have found a dentist whom you are comfortable with and trust to perform your child’s treatment, it is most important to schedule treatment in a timely manner. If you wait too long, the decay may worsen, and the diagnosis may need to change.
Remember that every dentist gets a similar education in dental school and residency, but once they begin practicing, their experiences will build a knowledge base that can differentiate them. Each dentist will have different treatment methods that they are most comfortable with and have seen provide the best results. There are often different approaches to prescribing dental treatment, all within the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines. All can lead to great oral health for your child.