While it may seem convenient for you to take your child to the family’s general dentist, only a paediatric specialist will be able to give you a unique perspective on the management of your child’s dental needs. This is because a paediatric dentist has three more years’ training than a general dentist. Their advanced education focuses on the medical as well as the dental aspects of children’s dentistry.
Extra training in universities and teaching hospitals
The extra clinical and academic education allows a paediatric dentist to manage specific dental issues that affect newborns, infants, toddlers, children and adolescents. A paediatric dentist has also had additional training in managing the oral health of children with special needs.
While general dentists treat a variety of dental issues, a paediatric specialist focuses on early dental problems such as baby bottle caries, prolonged use of a pacifier or dummy, and dental trauma in toddlers and young children. Paediatric dentists also handle the routine dental care of infants and follow the child into adolescence. We can closely monitor growth and development, recognising any orthodontic problems early.
A paediatric dentist will usually not be seen in a white clinical gown. At Core Dental we endeavour to make the dental environment as child-friendly as possible, taking the fear out of your child’s visits. This is important, because it sets up an expectation of comfortable dentistry in later life.
Paediatric dentists and their staff genuinely enjoy seeing and treating children; it’s what we choose to do all day, every day. Having your child see their own dentist (who does not treat adults) can make them feel special and encourage them to value the things they are taught – such as how to brush their teeth and which foods are good for them.
Children are not little adults
Because children can’t subdue their fears as adults can, they often require sedation to cope with dental treatment. Paediatric dentists are qualified to administer nitrous oxide (‘laughing gas”), a mild form of sedation that can reduce anxiety and gagging in children. The child remains conscious during treatment and recovery is fast.
For very young children or for older children who require extensive dental treatment, general anaesthesia is also available. A paediatric dentist will be able to offer both options and can discuss with you which option is better suited to your child.
At Core Dental, we provide the services of specialist paediatric dentists in the same location as our general dentists, which means your family’s dental needs can be attended to simultaneously.
Dr Charmaine Hall
Clinical Doctorate Paediatric Dentistry (Melb)