Pediatric dentistry is the specialty providing comprehensive oral health care for infants, children, adolescents, including those with special health care needs. To become a certified pediatric specialist, a dentist must complete an additional two to three years of post-graduate training and successfully complete a national exam administered by the Royal College of Dentists of Canada (www.rcdc.org). Pediatric dentists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of dental conditions specific to children, behaviour management, restorative dentistry (fillings, extractions, etc...), preventive dentistry, and growth and development.
Patients are welcome to see a pediatric dentist either with or without a referral. Referrals may come from a general dentist, another dental specialist, or a family doctor. In order to establish proper home care, both the Canadian and American Academies of Pediatric Dentistry (CAPD and AAPD) recommend a dental visit should occur within six months after the presence of the first tooth or by a child’s first birthday ( www.capd-acdp.org ). This important first visit focuses on educating the parent about good preventive oral hygiene strategies, as well as assessing the risk for future dental decay, managing oral habits (i.e. thumb sucking and soother/pacifier use), and information on the role diet plays in dental health. The goal of pediatric dentistry is to ensure the dental treatment is of the highest standard and the experience is positive for both the child and the family.
In some cases sedative drugs or general anaesthesia can be considered. Several factors including the child`s age, the extent of treatment, and the overall health of the child influence such decisions. Pediatric dentists consider the specific needs of each child when proposing treatment options and work with the family in a collaborative manner.
For more information about pediatric dentistry please visit the following sites:
Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry/Académie Canadienne de Dentisterie Pédiatrique: www.capd-acdp.org
The British Society of Paedriatic Dentistry: www.bspd.co.uk
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry: www.aapd.org