Our practice loves kids, but we do limit the age of our patients to six years of age and up. From many years of practice, we recognize that children under this age often require extra time, specialized attention and certain modalities that are not easily rendered in the general dental practice setting.
While we use the age of six as a standard, some children older than this may not yet be ready for the delivery of dental care in a general practice. Anxiety with regard to injections and dental care in general, may cause a lack of cooperation out of fear. Some children cannot sit still or keep open as needed to render quality dental care, even if they are motivated to cooperate. In addition to these sorts of problems with rendering dental care to children, there can also be specific needs that are better corrected in a Pediatric dental practice.
Pedodontists are ADA recognized specialists that work specifically with children and sometimes with special need adults. They offer a wide variety of general dental services and many focused primarily on children. From orthodontics to routine cleanings, the Pedodontist can provide for all the needs of a child. In addition to these routine procedures, Pedodontists also use a variety of behavioral and pharmacological methods to overcome behavioral issues that are linked to a child's anxiety.
Some children may require sedation to have dental care rendered. State dental boards are very strict about sedating children and require conscious sedation permits for dental providers who which to do such. Pedodontists are usually permitted to render such sedation to the child patient. Employing such for the child can make a potentially anxiety provoking visit pleasant or at least tolerable for the child.
It is our primary intent to foster positive dental experiences for the child patient so that they become good adult patients that do not harbor irrational fears towards dentistry in their adulthood. Fears from childhood dental experiences can create adults that avoid dental care altogether, a situation that will often result in the loss of the dentition prematurely. Poor childhood dental exeriences also produce patients that suffer long-term irrational fears with regard to dental care, even if they see a dentist in adulthood.
If your child exhibits significant fear and anxiety at their dental appointment and become uncooperative because of this fear, our office will most likely refer your child to a Pedodontist. Insurance plans will sometimes cover such a referral, but if a child has attained a certain age they may not. We strongly encourage parents--regardless of what insurance will pay for--to employ the services of a Pedodontist should your child exhibit this sort of fear of dentistry. Sometimes after just a few positive experiences at the Pedodontist -- with or without sedation -- it will give the child the positive experiences he or she needs to begin a using a general practice. It will be money well spent in rearing a child that does not fear dental visits in the future.