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Choosing a Pediatric Specialist or Children's Dentistry Provider

Dentists who choose to specialize in the care and treatment of young patients, from infancy to teen aged years frequently attend Post Graduate training to acquire a recognized specialization.

Advanced Training - Advanced Knowledge

Dentistry that focuses primarily on patients who are moving through their developmental years is complex and can be quite different from what a general dentist practices with non-pediatric patients.

Depending upon the age and developmental milestones that a particular young patient may possess at any given time of treatment, a Childrens Dentist will consider many of the cause and effect issues that a generalist may encounter. But, because young teeth, jawbones and facial characteristics are in a state of flux during our developmental years, the pediatric care provider also maintains a focus on future developmental events that may or may not be affected by current treatment.

Behavioral Dynamics

Cynthia Weideman, DDS - Pediatric Specialist
Citrus Heights California
Probably more so than with any other area of dentistry, Pediatric specialists deal with the behavioral aspects of delivering treatments children need or require. Teaching young children ... teaching parents is almost a routine daily activity for many dentists in this field.

Many parents of young children or infants undergoing routine exams and treatment for the first time benefit from the behavioral instruction and guidance that is available with children's dentist. As parents, it is not uncommon for many of us to knowingly or unknowingly let our own personal experiences fears affect our child's expectations about dental visits and routine treatment.

As a general rule, pediatric dentists are adept at recognizing these dynamics and are adept at facilitating the change needed by parents and/or their children to acquire or eventually develop a healthful mindset for having great teeth and a great smile.

Developmental Events

The concept of patterns, healthy or unhealthy, starts affecting patients at a very young age.... as early as just a few months. The "bottle baby" syndrome is a widely recognized pattern that is known to create conditions of decay that can require the heartbreaking need for extractions at an age that is decidedly too early for anyone.

This early pattern is an adult event really, but nonetheless is addressed early, perhaps at the first exam or treatment session for a young child. As a child ages and grows, dozens of known patterns may or may not emerge with a particular child, which are practically anticipated by a dentist who specializes in assuring young teeth develop and make way for healthy adult teeth.

Pediatric dentists and dental practices that have a major focus on providing care to children are perhaps one of the best resources for children AND parents. Children get the expert care that is needed... and should be wanted by all parents.

Mom and Dad benefit also in that they can learn important things to know about developmental milestones, good eating habits as well as the bad eating habits, oral hygiene methods, behavior awareness and management (things children shouldn't do with their teeth) and especially be able to help their child (children) to acquire a mindset about dentistry that they didn't have when they were children.

Pediatric Dentistry Specialist versus Family Dentistry

As a general rule, the larger the metropolitan area... the greater number of pediatric specialists will be available. The smaller or more rural areas (small towns, townships, county districts) the less likely a pediatric practice will be found.

In situations where care is especially critical, due perhaps to trauma or congenital factors, families can probably expect to travel to an area where pediatric specialists are available. Routine care however is expertly provided by many family and general dentists who have acquired a flair for providing care to children.

The Importance of Relationships

With the exception of highly specialized or complex treatment needs, the importance of the relationship between the child and dentist is paramount. Patient compliance can make or break the outcome of almost any type of treatment.

Many parents may do well by allowing their child to participate in the selection of their primary dentist. Children warm up... or fail to warm up to others just as adults do. It makes sense to seek relationships where the child is comfortable with their care provider and becomes a willing partner in assuring their own oral health.

Instruction and learning becomes more efficient when resistance or discomfort is minimal or nonexistent. In orthodontic treatment, where the investments of time and financial resources can be considerable, the lack of compliance is critical.

It is not unusual to hear of stories where parents are unaware of non compliance issues and place fault on the care giver. Typically, insufficient time or effort is made to assure the young patient has "their" favorite choice of a care giver who, by virtue of not having to break through a wall of resistance, imparts all of the information and treatment goals that creates the desired, age appropriate cosmetic goal.

So, Who To Choose?

In summary, when diagnostic needs and/or treatment procedures are highly complex, choosing a highly trained specialist (pedodontist - pediatric specialist) can make the most sense... when resources are available.

Diagnostics, treatments and procedures (even parent education needs) that are more general in nature can be expertly provided by nearly any family or general dentist who has an established and popular flair with treating children.

Many of the general dentists who love working with children oftentimes discover their special gift gradually. They start out as a general dentist and gravitate toward working with children because they have developed their own proprietary methods for achieving treatment successes that might even exceed what is obtained with adult patients (adults can be non compliant too, you know).

When feasible, obtaining the input of the child can be invaluable for selecting the perfect dentist. A rock solid relationship that assures easy care, maintenance and near-automatic compliance when it is needed the most surpasses many other criteria that parents or dentists may believe are more primary.

Best Pediatric-Childrens Dentistry Website

The bulk of pediatric specialty websites can contain a wide range of content. Pages specially designed for children to interact with are common. Sections that provide information for adults are also evident. Procedures, services, products used and parent education topics are popular criteria that can be used to evaluate a website.

Pictures of the office, staff members, interior design of treatment rooms, photos of children receiving treatments can all impart the warm attributes nearly any parent would want.

General practices that have a considerable focus on children's dentistry can be expected to have a sizeable amount of material that addresses pediatric treatments. The more plentiful the photography... the better. As mentioned above, if appropriate, engaging a child in the review of a website can be very beneficial in finding the dentist who is the perfect pick (many pediatric websites are designed with this in mind).

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