Pediatric Dentistry: Finding The Unique Approach Your Child Needs

Thursday, September 17, 2015
Pediatric Dentistry: Finding The Unique Approach Your Child Needs

The Penn Dental Family Practice team shares how to find the unique pediatric dentistry care and services your child needs.

As a parent, you want to do what is best for your children. You work hard to help them get off to the best possible start. So, even if your children are just growing their first teeth, you are probably already thinking about their dental care. Did you know that there is a whole field of pediatric dentistry dedicated to practicing dental care that is specifically tailored to the unique needs of children like yours? This blog will introduce you to the importance of pediatric dentistry and offer you guidance in finding the best practice for your family.

Unfortunately, recent studies have found that many children do not get the dental care they need. Improper or insufficient preventive care can lead to the early onset of tooth decay and other oral health problems. Recent findings show:

  • At least 1 in 5 U.S. children go without annual dental care (Pew Center on the States)
  • Only 48% of children entering kindergarten have seen a dentist within the previous year (CDC)
  • 52% of children ages 6 to 8 have tooth decay (CDC)
  • More than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness (Academy of General Dentistry)
  • Tooth decay is the most common and most preventable disease in children (AGD)
  • These sobering statistics emphasize the importance of finding a trusted pediatric dental care provider early on for your children.

At Penn Dental Family Practice, we want to help reduce the number of children who are affected by tooth decay and other oral health issues. One of the most important steps that we can take is informing families about the importance of good oral health care and providing the necessary guidance to find the best pediatric dentistry care for your little ones.

What Is Pediatric Dentistry?

Pediatric dentistry is a particular specialty within the field of dentistry. Pediatric dentists have completed two to three years of additional training beyond dental school, focusing on areas like child psychology, growth, and development. These are skills that they typically put to use in a friendly, child-friendly practice. Working with friendly staff, pediatric dentists will perform general dentistry care, monitor growth and development, and offer important education about proper at-home dental care. Some pediatric dentists also specialize in treating children with special needs, providing extra care with great patience and compassion.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should see the dentist for the first time by their first birthday.

Many first time parents wonder why their children need a particular dentist and can’t just come along to their parents’ own practice. The reality is that children’s dental needs are often vastly different from that of adults. Because they are developing so quickly, it is important to have a specialist who is able to monitor for healthy growth, and to intervene at the earliest signs of potential problems. Additionally, pediatric patients’ comfort levels are different, especially in young children, and so it is important for them to receive care in an environment where they feel comfortable. This helps the children to build a positive relationship with the dentist, encouraging more positive oral health care behavior as they grow up.

Finding The Right Pediatric Dentist

If you are new to the field of pediatric dentistry, or just looking for a change for your child, it may be hard to know where to begin. There are so many options out there! However, at Penn Dental, we recommend looking for the following four characteristics in your pediatric dentist.

Begin by looking for dentists who are certified by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. (You can actually search their site by zip code for local practitioners.) The additional two to three years of training that these dentists go through are instrumental for their ability to provide the care your child really needs. This way, she or he will be able to look for developmental concerns, provide age-appropriate care, and interact with your child in a kind and encouraging way.


Even in the most friendly dental practices, some children still get frightened. This can be especially true if they have had a previous bad experience or are simply nervous around new situations. This is just one reason that it is important to look for a dentist with the patience necessary to work with children and one who is willing to build a rapport with his or her young patients. Instead of relying solely on websites, visit a couple local offices to get a feel for the environment and staff.

Comprehensive Services.

Finding a pediatric dentist who can offer comprehensive services is a huge asset, especially to a busy family. This way, if your child does require special service, whether that is an X-ray, tooth removal, or braces, you avoid the hassle of going to another specialist. Not only does this save you from having to go through the “new patient” process with the specialist, but you also avoid having to drive all over town. For young children, it can also be very reassuring to be able to work with the same dentist they already trust when receiving unfamiliar treatments or procedures.


Finally, it is important to find a pediatric dental practice within your budget. When you can count on the affordability of the practice, you don’t have to worry about missing visits due to financial concerns. This consistency will help your children maintain their relationship with the dentist. Furthermore, regular preventive care can help you to avoid the need for more costly restorative services as your child grows.

Important Questions To Ask

As you look around your area for the right pediatric dentist for your child, don’t be afraid to ask questions! You can typically call practices or even make appointments to visit the office to have your questions answered before becoming enrolling your children as patients. When you do, these are some helpful questions to ask:

  • Is this office conveniently located near your home or your child’s school?
  • Does this practice accept your dental benefit plan?
  • Are children and their parents encouraged to be involved in dental health?
  • How does the practice manage emergencies?
  • What can be expected during a first visit? During a normal appointment?
  • If applicable: Does this practice specialize in treating children with special needs?

Pediatric Dental Care at Our Dental Practice

As you begin your search for the right pediatric dental practice for your family, don’t forget to check out Penn Dental Family Practice.

Other than the four features listed above, what do you look for in a pediatric dentist? What are the most important questions for you to ask a new office? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Closing Thoughts

We hope that you are informed of the possible dangers of neglecting the care of your teeth. What challenges do you face? Are you ready to take your health to the next level? We are here to help.

No matter the obstacle, we here at Penn Dental Family Practice are advocates for you and your smile. With your concerns as our priority, you can rest assured you will feel confident with us as your dentist.

Get in touch with our pediatric dentists today!