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Pediatric dentistry is a specialized field of dentistry that focuses on the dental needs and care of children. In order to address the specific dental needs of children, pediatric dentists take specialized classes and complete additional training beyond that of a general dentist. This additional training allows pediatric dentists to perform a range of dental treatments for children.

Did You Know?

Starting your child off with good oral hygiene practices can have a rippling effect that will continue for the rest of their life. Children who have positive experiences at a young age are more likely to regularly visit the dentist as adults and will have far less dental complications as they eventually age.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Should I take my child to a pediatric dentist?

While you can take your child to a general dentist with no problem, pediatric dentists are ideal for children because of their specialized training. In addition to dental training, pediatric dentists have additional training in child behavior and this training can help them give your child a positive dental experience. At Lifetime Dental Care, our dentists understand the specific dental and emotional needs of your child and are committed to giving your child the best possible dental experience. A positive dental experience – especially for a young child – is likely to result in the child growing into an adult who is comfortable with routine dental care and who regularly get dental checkups. Establishing a good relationship with their own dental needs, at a young age, means your child is going to have less dental problems as they age, avoiding many of the dental pitfalls of their peers.

When and how often do I need to take my child to a pediatric dentist?Young boy brushing his teeth in the mirror

You child’s first dental visit should occur after their first tooth erupts or before their first birthday. Although this may seem early, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends being proactive about your child’s dental health. After your child’s first visit with a pediatric dentist, the ADA recommends regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings every six months. These regular dental checkups are an important part of preventative dental care and will help keep your child in good oral health.

What pediatric dental services does Lifetime Dental offer?

Lifetime Dental offers a variety of pediatric dental services. The majority of pediatric dentistry is centered around preventative dental care such as dental x-rays, cleanings, and examinations. Pediatric dentists will monitor your child’s dental health and do their best to prevent dental issues from occurring. In some cases, preventative measures, such as dental sealants, may be performed to keep your child’s teeth healthy. They will also educate you and your child about the best dental practices to keep your child’s teeth as healthy as possible.

How can I prepare for my child’s pediatric dental appointment?

When preparing for your child’s pediatric dental appointment, you will want to first prepare yourself and then prepare your child. Although many parents worry about preparing their children, preparing yourself is an important part, because the more you are organized and in control, the more secure your child will feel.

young girls playing dentist

To prepare yourself, if you are a new patient, you should plan on arriving to our office about 10-15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to fill out any necessary paperwork. You may also want to look up directions ahead of time to avoid the stress of being late or getting lost. New and returning patients can also prepare themselves by making a list of dental concerns or questions before their appointment. Making a list ahead of time helps you get the most out of your child’s dental appointment. Finally, if you have any dental anxieties yourself, you will need to prepare yourself to be calm and not pass on these anxieties to your child.

To prepare your child, you will want to explain what is going to happen and why going to the dentist is important. Being open with your child is the best way to prepare them for the dentist. You may also want to promise them a fun toy or activity for after to make the experience positive. Before their appointment, you can also have them pick out a favorite toy to bring.

What should I expect during my child’s pediatric dental appointment at Lifetime Dental?

During your child’s pediatric dental appointment at Lifetime Dental, you can expect that they will undergo dental x-rays, an oral exam, and a professional teeth cleaning. Most appointments start with dental x-rays. Some children may be startled by the machinery used during dental x-rays, so you may want to explain what dental x-rays are ahead of time to prepare them. Our pediatric dental staff will also be patient with your child and do their best to make the experience as positive as possible. Your child’s dental x-rays should only take a few minutes to complete and should not cause them any discomfort.

boy in dental chair having a dental exam

After having dental x-rays, you and your child will be taken to an exam room for their oral exam. During the oral exam, our dentists will examine their teeth, gums, and bite to ensure everything is functioning properly and that there are no signs of tooth decay or gum disease. Just as with the dental x-rays, our staff will be careful not to scare your child and will explain everything they do. Our staff knows how to work with frightened children and will comfort and relax them before proceeding with the exam or any treatment.

The final step during your child’s pediatric dental appointment is their professional teeth cleaning. During this cleaning, a special tool called a dental scaler is used to gently scrape off excess plaque and tartar from your child’s teeth. The teeth will also be brushed, flossed, and rinsed. Finally, a fluoride polish will be applied to keep your child’s teeth healthy. During this cleaning, our staff will make sure your child is comfortable and relaxed so that they have a positive experience and are willing to come back.

To maintain your general dental routine, schedule a consultation with one of our dentists at  Lifetime Dental Care today! Lifetime Dental Care serves residents of Woodbridge, VA and the surrounding areas.

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