If your pediatric dentist is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, like Dr. Heather Sholander, then you can rest assured that your child is receiving the best care available. Certification is a voluntary process involving multiple exams, countless hours of additional education and preparation, and an annual renewal. A board certification is a symbol of dedication to excellence in pediatric dentistry and a doctor’s commitment to their patients and community.
Beginning dental treatment at an early age has a lifetime of benefits. Many lifelong habits are formed at a young age, and early, positive dental experiences can give your child an appreciation for their oral health that results in them taking better care of their teeth and gums. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends taking your child in for their first dental checkup by their first birthday, or within six months of the eruption of their first tooth.
What does it mean to have a “dental home” for your child? In this context, the term refers to a regularly-visited dentist, one that your child is able to grow up with, from their toddler years on through their teens. A dental home that your child is comfortable in, with a dentist they trust, results in less anxiety and dental fear, and increased cooperation when it comes to taking care of their dental health. Finding the right dental professional for your family can be difficult, especially finding one that you trust and have a positive relationship with. However, the benefits to doing so are huge, and have a lasting impact on your child’s overall health over the course of their life.
A family dentist is just a general dentist who treats patients of all ages. In other words, it’s standard dental care in the form of preventative, restorative, and cosmetic dental treatment that is not tailored specifically to children but they are also able to treat children.
Their office is typically not as child-oriented but somewhere between an adult and child-friendly space. Family and general dentists only go to dental school for 4 years and have no specialty in pediatric oral care.
Pediatric dentists, on the other hand, have earned their specialization in pediatric dental care by attending an extra 2 to 3 years of dental school and specialized training. During that time, we learn about special techniques, communication methods, child psychology, and development, as well as ways to mitigate dental anxiety and treat patients with special needs.
Pediatric dentists focus exclusively on treating children and oral health problems that occur exclusively in children like tongue and lip ties. Most general dentists do not perform frenectomies and while some family dentists will, they are not as experienced or knowledgable in the latest surgical techniques or a child’s oral development.
When you take your child to a pediatric dentist, they will be in a child-friendly space that is catered specifically to their needs. The second you step into a pediatric dental office, you’ll know you’re in one because it’s designed to appeal to children and make them feel at home.
This can often include bright and fun colors, lots of interactive tools and games to keep them entertained, and a friendly and compassionate staff that is specially trained in how to communicate with children.
Pediatric dentists are experts at treating dental anxiety and patients with special needs. We offer laughing gas to make patients feel relaxed and melt away negative emotions. We provide parents with in-depth information on how to best care for their little one’s oral health, what to expect from their oral development, and when they should be screened for orthodontic problems.
We also use advanced dental technology like SOLEA lasers which are all-tissue dental lasers that can cut into soft and hard tissues with ease without the need for anesthetic, needles, drills, or incisions. It’s a minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgical tools and is completely painless.
Pediatric dentists often treat orthodontic problems in children with the use of early interceptive orthodontic treatment that reduces the need for braces in the future. General family dentists do not have training in orthodontics and refer patients out to orthodontists.
At Harmony Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we treat children from infancy through the age of 18! These are the most crucial years for your child to see a dental specialist that is familiar with all of the oral health problems that affect little ones’ teeth. The structure of primary teeth is different from permanent teeth.
This is why they require different treatment approaches. Primary teeth are thinner and more prone to cavities which makes prevention so important.
Children also deal with different problems than adults, like baby bottle tooth decay, prolonged pacifier use, and thumb sucking. As pediatric dentists, we know all of the best techniques to wean your child off of these behaviors so that they don’t increase their risk of oral health and development problems.
As soon as your child turns 1 or gets their first tooth, it’s time to see the dentist! Give us a call at Harmony Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today to book an appointment with Dr. Goodman or Dr. Sholander.