Pedodontics or Pediatric Dentistry refers to a branch of dentistry that specializes in dental care for children under the age of 16. Pediatric dentists require an extra two to three years of dental training that prepare them in meeting the unique dental needs of infant children and adolescent dental care. This also includes those with special health care needs.
Differentiating itself from regular dentistry pediatric dentistry emphasizes the establishment of trust and confidence in children with their dentists. Consequently one of the main components of pediatric training is child psychology. This manifests itself in special office designs different communication style and an emphasis on teaching preventative dental habits to children in an effort to make dental visits enjoyable.
For children pedodontics place special importance in preventing tooth decay. Studies show that poor oral health care in children lead to decrease school performance and poor social relationships. Therefore pediatric dentists give advice on how to make teeth strong the importance of developing healthy eating habits and other ways to prevent cavities from occurring.
Additionally pediatric dentists work towards the maintenance of primary teeth (baby teeth) until they are naturally lost. This is due to the importance they serve in permitting children to chew properly and therefore maintain good nutrition its role in speech development and the way it aids permanent teeth by saving space for them.
The role of the pediatric dentists changes as children enter adolescence. Recognizing the growing importance of appearance and self-image in their clients pediatric dentists work to ensure that adolescents' dental needs are met. Preventative dental health care is emphasized and when necessary information is provided to adolescents about subjects such as wisdom teeth tobacco use sealants and oral piercing.
Pedodontics not only aids in the dental health of children but serves as an educational tool for parents. It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) that a dental visit should occur between shortly after the presence of the first tooth in a child to that child's first birthday. This is because early mouth examinations aids in the detection of the early stages of tooth decay and can therefore be immediately treated. Additionally parents are given a program of preventative home care (brushing flossing fluorides) a caries risk assessment the latest facts on finger thumb and pacifier habits advice on preventing injuries to the mouth and teeth of their children and information on growth and development.