What is Pediatric Dentistry?
Pediatric Dentistry is an age-related specialty among dentists who treat children from birth through adolescence.
Pediatric Dentistry goes far beyond its definition. As a Pediatric Dentist with residency training, I wear multiple hats throughout the day. Sometimes, it’s helping a young child overcome a fear of getting on a chair, so we’re doing the entire exam with the child standing next to the chair. Other times, it’s explaining to parents how nutrition plays a role in the caries process and what we can do to ensure the child’s risk of dental disease is kept at minimum.
More often than not, though, it’s about connecting with the child, who sees all things in a dental environment as new and foreign. Children are not just smaller adults. An adult’s idea and perception of the world is shaped through his/her past experiences, level of tolerance, and ability to understand new concepts. Children are a blank slate and they often communicate more through body language than actual words.
I tell parents all the time that dentistry is the only type of surgery you undergo where all five of your senses are intact! You see the light, hear the handpiece, feel the water, smell the environment, and taste the materials. This is a LOT of stimulation for a patient any age, and it’s magnified in children.
So, what is Pediatric Dentistry?
It’s being able to communicate to a child how to keep the sugar bugs away. It’s distracting a child when the sleepy bubble puts their tooth to sleep. It’s showing a child what’s going to happen every step of the way. It’s praising a child when he/she is brave and gets in the chair to see it’s much easier than imagined. It’s rewarding a child for a job well done.
In short – it’s magic. And that’s what a Pediatric Dentist does every day.
– Dr. Zee