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Dr.  Chris is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist practicing in Carlsbad, CA.  With the opening of Peak Pediatric Dentistry more than 2 years ago, Dr. Chris specializes in seeing children.  What does that mean exactly?  To become a Pediatric Dentist one must first graduate from an accredited 4 year dental school.  After dental school, to become a Pediatric Dentist, a dentist must apply to Pediatric Dentistry residency programs.  Training consists of 2-3 years of rigorous hospital training that focuses on child aspects of growth and development, trauma, as well as sedation dentistry.

In the year 1900, few children are treated in dental offices and little to no instruction in the care of “baby teeth” is given in the dental school curriculum. In 1924 the first guidebook on how to treat children in the dental setting is published, and by 1935 there are 6 post graduate programs in the United States that teach Pediatric Dentistry. Until the mid 1950’s, many dentists displayed a sign that read “No children under age 13 treated in this office.”  Today those signs are gone.  Basic guidelines on how to treat children are now taught in all dental schools.  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both are in agreement that a routine dental appointment be at or before 12 months. 

There are many beneficial reasons for an early evaluation including to be able to discuss oral hygiene techniques, pacifier and bottle usage, as well as dietary advice.   During the early days, dentistry was treatment oriented; clinicians lacked the ability to properly communicate with children.  As a result, dentists wouldn’t start seeing children until after the age of three.  This age was for too old to properly be effective from a prevention standpoint.  To be effective, prevention needs to be discussed at or before a child’s first birthday.   

In future blog posts, I will be discussing more about Pediatric Dentistry and prevention, most importantly maternal intervention as a way to prevent passing dental disease on to the children.  At Peak Pediatric Dentistry we pride ourselves on prevention! Schedule an oral hygiene appointment today and let’s discuss some nutrition strategies on how to prevent cavities.  Come see what makes Peak Pediatric Dentistry different!

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The first trip to the dentist for a child can be a fearful experience.  A new environment with funny reclining chairs and bright lights, with people looking in your mouth is enough to frighten anyone.  As a parent, there are things you can do to prepare your child.  This article gives 5 tips to help prevent fear for kids at the dental office.

Explain how important oral health care is to the body and make it fun!  

Have a discussion of what the dental office if for as well as why it is important to see a dentist two times a year for an exam and cleaning.  Avoid scary terms such as “shot” or “its not going to hurt, ” rather just give a summary that creates a positive picture.  AAPD Vice President Dr. Edward Moody shared some tips on making brushing more fun for children.  He suggests modeling, allowing kids to see their older siblings brush, or having a parent brush with their children and using slow exaggerated brush strokes.  Toothbrushes that are themed with fun colors can also be quite helpful in motivating a child to brush.  I couldn’t agree more.  In fact we still use many of these techniques in our own home.  On a daily basis, I hear stories from my patient’s parents on resistance they face when they try to brush their child’s teeth.  Sometimes I see frustration on their face because of battles they have lost.  I enjoy sharing with parents techniques that I have found to be successful at home. There are products that I find easier to use making oral hygiene a little more fun.

Start Early

A few months ago we wrote a blog article on the importance and benefits of a dental for a early infant dental appointments.   The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children be seen for the first exam no later than their first birthday.  Much is known today about dental cavities including how to do a proper risk assessment and how to prevent. The sooner your child meets the dentist and experiences a dental setting, the more comfortable a child will become at an earlier age.  A child who is brought for their first dental visit at a later age, may be scared, making noncooperation a real possibility.  The first dental exam for a child can be a real quick visit.  Usually at a young age, a dental cleaning is not possible, rather a quick exam with Fluoride placement is all that is needed.  The more a child visits the dental setting, the more comfortable a child becomes.  An early visit also provides an opportunity for oral hygiene and nutrition to be discussed in the hopes of trying to prevent dental decay.

Praise their first visit

Keep it positive.  Build their confidence by letting them know how great they did at their dental visit.  Be careful not to use negative terms when describing their dental visit, rather use positive terms to keep exciting, hopefully they will look forward to returning for the next visit.

Pretend visits and role playing at home

Playing dentist at home has advantages.  Since children love to make believe, using their favorite toy or stuffed animal and playing dentist allows them to get ready for their trip at home.  Lying their animal down, your child can brush their teeth with a dry brush and count teeth just like a dentist.  After this exercise, have them lay on a bed and open wide counting their teeth so they can get used to the process.

Choose a Dentist that makes Dentistry Fun for Children

Many dentists in Carlsbad are children friendly dentists.  Here at Peak Pediatric Dentistry, all we do is see children.  Its our specialty!  We try our very best to create a positive dental experience for both children as well as parents.  We have movies playing in the waiting room as well as over each of our dental chairs.  There are IPADs loaded with games to play, toys in the waiting room, as well as a toy box that each child gets to visit at the end of their visit.

Ultimately at Peak Pediatric Dentistry we try to make Dentistry a fun experience for all.  Schedule a new patient appointment today to see what makes Peak Pediatric Dentistry in Carlsbad different!

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