As you may know, a pediatric dentist sees and treat children from birth to age 18 – up to age 21 for special needs patients. This age range presents a diverse set of behavioral and clinical challenges. Pediatric dentists complete extra, specialized training to help them meet the unique demands presented during childhood.
You can help! Below, you’ll find a series of useful tips meant to make your child’s oral care easier, both in and out of the dentist’s office.
It’s important to help your child have a positive visit to the dentist. Negative or fearful experiences can impact a patient’s oral (and general) health well beyond childhood. When someone’s scared to go to the dentist, they tend to put off treatment — typically making the problem worse than it would’ve been. Creating positive, supportive experiences at the dentist early in life helps a child establish a healthy relationship with their dentist and dentistry in general.
Communication is key. We think it’s important to describe our work to our patients in a way that they, along with their parents, can understand. Enter ‘Kidspeak’.
What’s Kidspeak? It’s a specialized set of positive, descriptive vocabulary that helps explain our various procedures in a way that young children can understand. Here’s a list of the terms we commonly use:
It's not our intention to fool or lie to our younger pediatric patients, but rather to help them understand their treatment in a positive way. This list can also help parents decipher what their children are describing after their visit to the dentist.
Please help us establish a healthy relationship with your child by refraining from using the above negative terms with your young children. Thanks!
Research has shown that it’s much easier to create a good habit than it is to get rid of a bad one. With a little patience and a lot of consistency, you can set your child on a clear path towards lifelong dental health. With this in mind, we offer the following suggestions to help you establish good oral hygiene habits with your young ones.
Start by getting your child use to their infant toothbrush, before they have any teeth. Do this by gently gliding over your babies gums with an age-appropriate brush. Do this regularly — daily, if possible. Eventually, you’ll want to do this with very small amounts of children’s toothpaste. Stay away from minty flavors; many children find them to be too strong or overwhelming.
By the time your child’s first tooth erupts, they’ll already be familiar with both the activity of cleaning and the distinct flavors associated with the process. This will make it easier on both of you!
Much of a child’s early development consists of observation and imitation. You can use this to your advantage when it's time to teach your child how to be responsible for their own oral hygiene. Before they’re able to brush on their own, make it a point to brush your teeth together. Make it a family affair! For most people, this is easiest to do this just before their bedtime. Consistency is key. If you're able to do this daily, the stronger the habit becomes. Brush their teeth, then yours. Floss their teeth, then yours. Every time they’re able to watch you brush your teeth, they’ll get a lesson as to how it’s done, so do a good job! Don't rush; and concentrate on good form. When they’re old enough to begin learning how to brush their own teeth, they’ll have a head start on the process. Once they've learned how to manage things on their own, it's still a good idea to brush your teeth together. It takes a while to develop the appropriate hand-skills and coordination to clean teeth properly, so make sure to go over their efforts for a while. At your next office visit, we’ll tell you if there are any problem areas. With your consistent efforts and our feedback and patient education, you'll soon be the proud parent of a dental hygiene superstar.