Getting a child hooked early on good dental habits is the key to sound long-term oral health. A vital part of getting that child used to taking good care of her teeth is knowing when the right time is to take a child to see a specialist. The question is especially important when deciding between a children’s dentist and an orthodontist.
- Children’s dentists most often treat general oral health concerns such as preventing cavities and treating gum infection. Children should see their dentist every six months for checkups and routine cleanings. However, most children’s dentists also have experience with orthodontics. In most cases, children should visit their general dentist for any oral health needs. Then, if necessary, the dentist will refer the patient to an orthodontist.
- Orthodontists improve the appearance and health of patients’ smiles. While some general dentists offer orthodontic services, orthodontists offer comprehensive care to patients with more severe dental issues.
When To See A Children’s Dentist
Children’s dentists examine and clean your child’s teeth twice a year, keep an eye on the development of baby and permanent teeth, fill cavities, and carry out other routine treatments.
Dentists who commonly work with children have expertise when it comes to risk assessment for caries, commonly known as tooth decay or cavities, caused by the breakdown of tooth enamel. They also have expertise in dealing with:
- Habit-breaking, such as thumb-sucking or pacifier use
- Management of pediatric periodontal disease
- Emergency care for damaged or knocked-out teeth
Children’s dentists also have expertise in dealing with younger patients who are sometimes restless during dental visits. They know how to conduct a dental examination in a way that is comforting to little ones. The equipment in a children’s dentist’s office may also be arranged and decorated with younger patients in mind.
When To See an Orthodontist
Crooked teeth and misaligned bites can cause oral and overall health problems. Over time, crooked teeth are harder to brush and floss thoroughly. This may make it difficult for a person, especially a child, to practice thorough oral care. Lack of proper dental care increases a child’s chances of getting tooth decay or gum disease which can lead to tooth loss.
Additional reasons it’s important for a child to see an orthodontist include:
- Even losing a baby tooth to decay can impact your child’s permanent smile because baby teeth help guide permanent teeth into the right position as they erupt. Without a baby tooth saving its spot and guiding it into the correct position, your child’s permanent teeth can come in crooked or overcrowded.
- Misaligned bites can also cause Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ, a condition that causes pain in the mouth, jaw, face, neck, and shoulders.
It is now recommended that a child go to her first orthodontic evaluation at around seven years old. At this age, enough of your child’s permanent teeth have come in for an orthodontist to use improved dental technology to predict where your child’s adult teeth will come in and what dental issues, if any, they will face in the future.
Talk to your child’s dentist about your child’s dental development and what to expect at the orthodontic appointment.
Quality General Dentistry in Duncan, OK
Dr. Bridges at the Chisholm Trail Smile Center has spent decades providing the best dental care to young and old patients alike. He can guide you toward the best treatment options and practices. Call (580) 255-4880 or make an appointment online today to schedule a one-on-one consultation.