A "pediatric dentist" is a specially trained dentist who provides services to children. Generally, "children" is defined as people under the age of 14, but with regards to pediatric dentistry we are generally talking about toddlers. A pediatric dentist undergoes specialized training in the aspects of both primary and secondary teeth, and the challenges that are faced in both cases. Additionally, a pediatric dentist is trained in child psychology, which assists them in performing the tasks necessary on a patient who is both afraid and unwilling to have their teeth and mouth examined.
The duties of a pediatric dentist involve assessing the state of oral health of the patient through an examination, as well as the correction of any problems through treatment. This may involve the filling of cavities which can be a scary and painful experience for children, necessitating the child psychology aspects of the dentist's training.
The dentist must understand how to keep the child calm and still long enough to perform the procedure that is necessary in order to restore the state of oral health to the patient. The child does not understand why they are being subjected to this pain, and is not able to be reasoned with like an adult. The protocols that are followed are derived from study of childhood mentalities and how to overcome the reactions that are natural for children.
Another aspect of pediatric dentistry is the education of parents on the oral health of their children. As an example, many parents will fail to brush their child's teeth due to the difficulties of doing so, combined with the belief that if the child is not eating candy or sweets that they do not need to brush. In reality, there is a tremendous amount of sugar in milk, and primary teeth are prone to cavities and infections as a result of a lack of care. If the oral care is lax, cavities can form which must be assessed as far as the severity to see if they will cause pain before falling out or if they must be filled. A pediatric dentist is trained to help parents understand the need for oral care in children, and how to accomplish it.
If you have a child, makes sure that the dentist you choose is a pediatric dentist in order to assure that they get the best care possible. It only takes a second to ask.