Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Lafayette Pediatric Dentistry and authored by Dr. Anita Gouri.
Four Top Reasons All Moms Should Consider Using a Pediatric Dentist
What is the difference between seeing a general dentist and a pediatric dentist? I am asked this question all of the time. For the same reasons that most children see a pediatrician instead of a general practitioner, so should your child have a pediatric dental home but you may still wonder why. Here are my top four reasons every child should see a pediatric dentist
Pediatric Dentists Have Additional Educational Training
After graduating dental school, a pediatric dentist has undergone at least two full years of extra training, treating only children. Our more specific education focuses on common pediatric oral conditions and treatments, pediatric oral/skeletal growth patterns, and identification of conditions that lead to poor oral health at an early age, among many other things. Additionally, we also get extensive training in treating children and adolescents with special health care needs, as well as sedation and hospital dentistry.
Care is Geared Specifically Towards Children and Their Developmental Stage
From a more frank perspective, a pediatric dental office is simply a more appropriate place for your child to receive care! Pediatric dentists and their staff have chosen, as their calling, to provide what is often thought of as a “scary” or “difficult” service in a pleasant and easy way to our most precious, innocent little loved ones. I will be the first to admit that dental procedures, even to the most relaxed and unafraid patient, can be tough to endure. I remember thinking this when I had an old filling replaced in dental school. While I was not in pain and certainly not scared, I remember feeling vulnerable. Now imagine if your child needed a dental procedure or even a routine cleaning done, and they were appropriately nervous? Wouldn’t you want them to be in a comfortable, child-centered environment, where they only use terms, techniques, and images that a child can understand?
That’s where we pediatric dentists come in, and where I think most of our patients site the noticeable difference in care. We think like a child would think, and treat them in ways they can understand. This takes time, patience, and an extra set of magic tricks in the toolbox. I have plenty of good friends who are general dentists that also treat children in their offices and treat them very well. But they do also send me patients that they recognize would do better in a more kid-friendly setting. We aim to reverse the negative images and experiences older generations have in their heads about going to the dentist when young. Dentistry doesn’t have to be scary, and many of our patients who have required extensive dental procedures have said, “I don’t understand why so many people are afraid of going to the dentist! It’s fun over here!”
Pediatric Dentists Pride Themselves on Education, Prevention, and Anticipatory Guidance.
At every visit, we discuss nutritious snacking, drinking, and hygiene, which goes a very long way in creating healthy smiles for life. Many of my older patients tell me, “I’ve never had a dental problem in my whole life, and that’s because of what you taught me as a child.” It’s a common misconception that baby teeth don’t need to be fixed or cared for well, “because they are just going to fall out eventually.” I have even heard some dentists tell their patients this! But any baby tooth with a cavity that is left untreated may become infected (abscess) and directly affect the developing permanent tooth underneath it, as well as risk the spread of the infection to other areas in the head and neck. Once the baby front teeth (incisors) fall out around ages 5-7, many mistakenly believe that *all* of the baby teeth have been lost. People often forget that you have baby canine and molar teeth in your mouth until you’re close to adolescence! Failure to treat cavities in baby teeth can lead to early loss of baby teeth, which are needed to maintain jaw shape and space for the future permanent teeth.
Pediatric Dentists Also Track Orthodontic Growth and Development at Every Visit
Sometimes as early as infancy, we diagnose certain conditions, such as a high palate or a tongue tie, which could lead to severe adverse skeletal growth of the jaws. This could in turn lead to undesirable conditions such as sleep- disordered breathing and speech delays. If we start seeing your child by the recommended age of 1 year old, there are many things we can do early on to prevent these conditions from worsening. Other practitioners who normally don’t start seeing children until age 3 or 4 for their first visit may not catch this.
To summarize, there is a lot a pediatric dentist has to offer that can give your child the ultimate in quality oral health for life. But also, we just absolutely adore working with children! I knew I wanted to be a pediatric dentist the minute I started exploring the dental field, and I couldn’t imagine being in any other profession. Well, unless Justin Timberlake needed a personal assistant. I could do that instead.
For more information on Lafayette Pediatric Dentistry or Dr. Anita Gouri visit the links below OR call the office at (337) 981-9242 and set up your first consultation for FREE.
About the Author
Dr. Anita Gouri, a pediatric dentist, has been practicing in Lafayette for 10 years and is the owner of Lafayette Pediatric Dentistry. She graduated from LSU School of Dentistry in 2006, receiving honors including Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Dentistry, Honors in Research, and the Carl A. Baldridge Academic Scholarship. She completed her residency in pediatric dentistry at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC in 2008 and became a board certified diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry in 2009. In 2010, her research on dental pain assessment was published in Pediatric Dentistry. She also has specialized training in treating babies and children who have tongue and lip ties. She is a member of the Academy of Laser Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Louisiana Dental Association, the Southwestern Society of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, as well as the C. Edmund Kells and Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Societies. Dr. Gouri, her husband, and their two children enjoy travel, Saints football, good food and good friends.