Pediatric Dentist vs General Dentist: What’s the Difference?

Choosing the right dentist for your family can be a tough decision. A range of different factors can contribute to how you will determine who is the best fit, especially when it comes to the needs of your kids. All general dentists are able to tend to the teeth of both children and adults. However, there are many reasons that a pediatric dentist has the qualifications to work specifically with kids.

What Defines a Pediatric Dentist?

There are many factors that set a pediatric dentist apart from a general dentist. These include specific training and experience that make a pediatric dentist qualified to care for children’s teeth.

Tools and Equipment

Pediatric dentists are equipped with tools that are specialized for children of all ages. They even have the tools to care for the youngest patients. This might include showing a parent how to clean an infant’s mouth with finger brushes, making sure they can keep their teeth healthy as soon as they come in. The tools are also smaller to ensure that they kids are as comfortable as possible and get the same level of care as adults.

Specialized Training

All dentists are required to have a bachelor’s degree and complete dental school. After that, a dentist will begin a residency program where they can choose a specialty. For pediatric dentists, they must study in a pediatric specific program that lasts for about two to three years. This program teaches them about how to treat problems that frequently impact children, as well as other skills and techniques related to tending to kids’ teeth properly.

Years of Experience

Since pediatric dentists have to complete years of schooling, including their specialty program, they have the knowledge to care for any child. Their years of experience make them well suited to deal with scared or misbehaving children. They can also help to educate kids and their parents on how to maintain healthy teeth.

Knows How to Work With Kids

Pediatric dentistry is dedicated to treating children’s teeth, meaning that these professionals are great with kids. They know how to keep a child calm if they are stressed or worried about being at the dentist. Pediatric dentists make it their goal to put their patients first, ensuring they get the best care possible. In addition to their great dentists, pediatric clinics are designed to be kid friendly, making them feel safe and welcome.

The Importance of a Pediatric Dentist

Choosing to take your kids to a pediatric dentist can be extremely beneficial. Having a professional with the expertise in kids dentistry will help keep your children comfortable and healthy, making yours and their lives easier. Pediatric dentists are compassionate and know how to provide a positive experience for their patients.

Schedule a Consultation

At Sprout Kids Dentistry, our pediatric dentists will ensure that your children get the best care possible. If you’re interested in learning more, schedule an appointment with us! You can get in touch by calling 617-934-6339 or filling out an online form.

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How Do Sealants for Children Work?

How Do Sealants for Children Work?

While brushing and flossing are the most effective ways to prevent cavities, it can be particularly difficult for small children to clean their teeth thoroughly by reaching all the areas where bacteria can accumulate. For this reason, many dentists recommend sealants, which can reduce tooth decay in children. Sealants have also been in use since the 1960s, meaning they have a safe an effective track record. Here’s what to know about this option if you are considering this for your children’s dental health.

How Do Sealants Work?

A dental sealant is a coating made from a special type of BPA-free resin or similar material that sticks to the molars’ chewing surfaces. It essentially acts as a raincoat for the teeth and can protect the underlying enamel.

Bacteria and food particles form acids that create cavities or holes in teeth. Just as a raincoat keeps you from getting wet during a storm, the sealant keeps bacteria and acid from settling on the surface of your teeth. This means that bacteria can’t eat away at the enamel and cause decay over time.

Who Can Get Sealants?

While virtually anybody can benefit from sealants, however they are especially beneficial for children as they don’t develop the necessary coordination and habits to brush their teeth effectively until around six to nine years of age.

A child’s first molars typically grow in when they are around six years old, while their second molars emerge when they are about twelve. Applying sealants to these teeth as soon as they emerge can protect them from the start and thus prevent decay and the need for expensive fillings. Sealants can also prevent premature tooth loss, which in turn reduces the risk of bite problems.

How Are Sealants Applied?

Getting sealants is quick and painless. Your child’s dentist will start by thoroughly cleaning and drying the teeth. They will then apply an acidic gel that will make the surface of the teeth rougher so the sealant will stick to them more readily. After rinsing off the gel, your child’s dentist will dry the teeth and paint the sealant on them. Finally, your child’s dentist will shine a special blue light on your child’s teeth to make the sealant harden more quickly. The whole process takes under an hour, and the exact time will depend on the number of teeth being treated.

Can Sealants Be Placed Over Cavities?

No. A sealant is placed on a cavity-free tooth and used to lower the risk of that tooth developing a cavity.

How Long Do Sealants Last?

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, sealants can last for up to a decade. It’s still a good idea to take your child to their dentist regularly, though, so they can look for chips or worn spots in the sealant. If necessary, your child’s dentist can apply more sealant coating to repair the sealant.

Schedule an Appointment

Sealants are an excellent way to set your child up for a lifetime of dental health. To meet with our pediatric dentistry team, we invite you to contact Sprout Kids Dentistry by calling our Quincy office or filling out our online form.

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All of your Pediatric Dentist FAQ’s Answered!

Starting a dental routine for your child at an early age is essential in creating life-long healthy habits. To help you get started, here are the answers to FAQs concerning children’s dental health and the role of pediatric dentists.

Why should we choose a pediatric dentist?

Dentists who specialize in kids dentistry only treat children and are equipped to treat their specific needs. Children require different treatment than adults.

At what age should my child have their first dental checkup?

When your child gets their first tooth, or by the time they turn one year old, they should be seen by a dentist. The dentist can teach you how to care for their teeth right from the start.

How frequently should we visit the dentist?

Most dentists suggest coming in every six months. This allows them to check for cavities and overall dental health.

How can we prevent tooth decay?

Regular dental check-ups, brushing and flossing, and healthy diet choices can help prevent tooth decay. Minimize the intake of sugary drinks and foods and ensure they are getting enough vitamins and calcium. It’s helpful if your water supply has fluoride, which helps strengthen teeth.

Can my child start using toothpaste?

Children can start using toothpaste containing fluoride at age one. Start with a rice-grain amount, and brush their teeth and gums for them. Children under age one can have their teeth cleaned with a fluoride-free training toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.

What kind of toothbrush should we use?

Children’s toothbrushes should have a small head and soft bristles. Most packages recommended ages to help you choose. It’s fun to pick a toothbrush with your child’s favorite character on it. This helps make brushing more exciting.

When should we start flossing?

Begin flossing your child’s teeth around age four or as soon as neighboring teeth are touching. Many kids can do it themselves at age eight using floss picks, but it should still be supervised.

How can I alleviate my child’s toothache?

Have your child rinse with warm saltwater. If there is visible facial swelling, use a cold compress. Children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen can help treat the pain. Make a dental appointment as quickly as possible to examine the affected area.

When should we stop pacifier use and thumb sucking?

It is recommended to start halting pacifier use at six months old. Prolonged use is linked to a higher rate of ear infections. It is recommended to start halting a thumb sucking habit no later than age 3 to prevent long term effects to the adult teeth.

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are used to prevent food from causing decay in the crevasses of your child’s teeth. The application is quick and can protect your child’s teeth for many years.

Are x-rays safe for children?

Dental x-rays use only a small amount of radiation, and pediatric dental staff use extra precautions for the child’s safety.

Schedule a consultation

If you’re looking for pediatric dentistry in Boston, give Dr. Anderson of Sprout Kids Dentistry a call at 617-934-6339! Get your child started on the right path toward life-long dental health.

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Is having a tooth extracted very painful?

Is Having a Tooth Extracted Very Painful?

Taking care of your dental health is of utmost importance. Not taking care of your child’s teeth can lead to tooth decay, loss of teeth, and tooth infections. These infections can lead to problems with their overall health. If they need to have a tooth removed, there is no need to worry. This
procedure is common and will help to ensure that their dental health is where it should be. Sprout Kids Dentistry is experienced in tooth extractions. We’re here to answer all of your questions or concerns.

Why Are Teeth Removed?

There are many reasons why a tooth may be removed. Infections, severe damage, and overcrowding can be a factor in tooth removal. Removing the tooth in the case of severe damage or infections can help to ensure that there are no further issues. In the case of overcrowding, removal of the tooth can allow for the proper spacing of teeth.

How Much Does A Tooth Extraction Cost?

The cost of a tooth extraction will vary depending on whether it is a baby tooth or a permanent tooth. The staff at Sprout Kids Dentistry will provide a price point and explain possible payment options.

How To Prepare For A Tooth Extraction

A dental x-ray will first be done to determine what teeth need to be removed. After this x-ray, Dr. Anderson will create a treatment plan. She will ask questions about previous medical issues, medications, and anything else of concern. As a parent or guardian, you will want to tell Dr. Anderson if there are any issues or family history of heart disease, cancer, bleeding disorders, liver disease, impaired immune system, or diabetes. To prepare for your child’s appointment, you will want to make sure that you follow all the instructions that are laid out by Dr. Anderson and her staff.

What Is The Procedure For A Tooth Extraction?

This will depend on what type of extraction Dr. Anderson will be performing. If it is a simple extraction, a local anesthetic will be given. Once the area is numbed, the tooth will be removed. If a surgical extraction is needed, general anesthesia or I.V sedation may be necessary and Dr. Anderson will give you a referral to consult with an oral surgeon.

What Are The Risks Of A Tooth Extraction?

While the benefits outweigh the complications, there are some potential risks that you will need to be aware of. The most common complication is dry socket. Dry socket occur when the blood clot removes itself from the former spot of the tooth. This can cause extreme pain, which will require a visit back to Sprout Kids Dentistry. Other risks include excessive bleeding, infection, cough, redness, swelling, and chest pain. If any of these are experienced, the dentist should be contacted immediately.

What Is The Recovery Period From A Tooth Extraction?

It will take a day or two to fully recover from tooth extraction, especially a surgical tooth extraction. During the recovery period, ice packs, saltwater rinses, and resting should be done. Tooth brushing should be done as normal, but the extraction site should be avoided for the first 24 hours to avoid dry socket. Foods such as ice cream, applesauce, yogurt, and pudding should be consumed for the first few days after the extraction.

Request A Consultation

If your child is experiencing an issue with their teeth, please call Sprout Kids Dentistry in Quincy, MA. Dr. Anderson is available to help ensure that your child has all of their pediatric dental needs met with quality and affordable care.

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Your Baby’s Mouth: What to Expect

If you’ve had a baby, there can be a lot of things to worry about. Although infants usually do not have teeth when they are born, it is still important to provide dental care from the start. We recommend that you bring your baby in for a dental checkup by age one to ensure their gums and teeth are developing properly and detect any abnormalities. Here’s a simple guide to navigating your child’s early dental health.

What we look for

When you bring your baby in for their first check-up, there are a few specific things we look for. These include:

  • Epstein pearls: Small, white cysts in the baby’s mouth that are usually harmless and disappear on their own
  • Bohn nodules: Small, grayish-white nodules that can occur on the palate and are usually harmless as well
  • Inclusion cysts: Small, harmless bumps on the gums
  • Natal/Neonatal teeth: Some infants are born with teeth, or their teeth begin to erupt within thirty days of birth. In some cases, these need to be removed.

Your baby’s mouth during infancy

During the first year of life, your baby will likely experience teething, which is when their teeth begin to erupt through the gums. This usually occurs between 3 and 9 months, and will likely cause your child some pain or discomfort. Signs of teething include irritability, loss of appetite, excessive drooling, and restlessness. Some treatments that may help are teething biscuits or teething rings, pain medicine, eating cold foods, or massaging the gums. Talk to your dentist about how to best relieve your baby’s teething pain.

Another normal aspect of an infant’s life is sucking on a pacifier, thumb, or finger. This is not something to be concerned about, as sucking is a natural reflex for babies. These sucking habits are usually gone by around 3 or 4 years old, and if stopped at this age, will likely not affect the jaw or teeth. However, if a prolonged sucking habit continues it can cause:

  • misaligned upper and lower jaws
  • bottom front teeth to slant inward
  • top front teeth to slant out

These bite problems may need to be corrected with orthodontic work in the future. 

A common problem that can occur with your baby’s teeth is baby bottle tooth decay. This often occurs when a child is repeatedly put to bed with a bottle, and the sugars in the milk or juice sit on the child’s teeth for a long period of time, eventually causing tooth decay or cavities. This can be prevented by not giving the child a bottle in bed, as well as performing adequate dental care.

How to care for your baby’s mouth 

You should begin cleaning your child’s gums soon after birth, even before any teeth have erupted. This will ensure your baby’s mouth is clean as well as get them used to the cleaning process. Here is how to clean your baby’s mouth: 

  • Lay their head down on a flat surface or in your lap
  • Rub a damp washcloth over the upper and lower gums
  • After teeth have erupted, switch to using a baby toothbrush and water 
  • Repeat these steps twice a day, in the morning and evening

Schedule an Appointment

It’s never too early to bring your child to the dentist to ensure that they remain healthy and happy for the years to come. Schedule an appointment with Sprout Kids Dentistry by calling or filling out our online form and we can find the appointment that works best for you.

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