Carpenter Pediatric Dentistry

Our special needs dental care team make the entire process less stressful for your child – and you. Our child-friendly, fun atmosphere helps keep him or her relaxed before and during exams and teeth cleanings.

Special Needs Dental Care Specialists

Our staff has special training in working with children and in the special needs for growing mouths and teeth. Beginning with the first visit, we involve your child in the exam, allowing them to look at the instruments used during a checkup and explain what happens during the exam to make it less scary.

When to Schedule Dental Exams

Your child’s first dental exam should be scheduled soon after his or her first tooth erupts and by their first birthday, based on the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Subsequent appointments should be made every 6 months.

What Happens During an Exam

Your child’s first visit will consist of an exam, fluoride treatment, and if age-appropriate, a teeth cleaning and x-rays. The dentist will check all of your child’s existing teeth for decay, examine his or her bite, gums and jaw. If needed, the dentist or hygienist will clean your child’s teeth. You will be with your child during the visit, and may asked to sit in the child holding your child to make him or her more comfortable.

During future exams, the dentist or hygienist will clean your child’s teeth and monitor the eruption of new teeth and the growth of your child’s jaw and mouth. Fluoride treatments will be administered every 6 months as recommended by the AAPD.

After every visit, the dentist will meet with you to discuss the condition of your child’s teeth, mouth, gums and jaw, as well as how to care for your child’s teeth. You should expect to discuss:

  • Good oral hygiene practices, including brushing and flossing, that are age-appropriate for your child
  • Oral habits, such as thumb sucking and lip sucking, and the impact they can have on your child’s teeth and jaw
  • Comfort practices, such as taking a bottle to bed
  • Treatment options, including flouride and the use of sealants to protect against decay and cavities
  • Developmental milestones and teething
  • Nutrition
  • Your child will begin receiving x-rays around age 3 to monitor the growth of their adult teeth and identify any potential problems. As your child gets older, the dentist will discuss any potential orthodontia or other care required.

Older children and teenagers will have the opportunity to talk directly to the dentist about issues that are important to them. These include the need for teenagers to manage their own dental hygiene care and the importance of a healthy diet to dental health. In addition, the dentist will talk to your child about sealants, missing teeth, oral piercings, tobacco use and work with them on any restoration or orthodontia that is required during this time.

Special Needs Dental Care

Carpenter Pediatric Dentistry is trained and experienced in providing dental care for young patients with special needs. Below are common questions regarding special needs dental care. Should you have other questions concerning special needs dental care for your child or would like to set up an appointment, please contact us.

Q: Are pediatric dentists prepared to care for special children?

A: Absolutely. Pediatric dentists have two or more years of advanced training beyond dental school. Their education as specialists focuses on care for children with special needs. In addition, pediatric dental offices are designed to be physically accessible for special patients. Pediatric dentists, because of their expertise, are often the clinicians of choice for the dental care of adults with special needs as well.

Q: Will my child need special care during dental treatment?

A: Some children need more support than a gentle, caring manner to feel comfortable during dental treatment. Restraint or mild sedation may benefit your special child. If a child needs extensive treatment, the pediatric dentist may provide care at a local hospital. Your pediatric dentist has a comprehensive education in behavior management, sedation and anesthesia techniques. He or she will select a technique based on the specific health needs of your child, then discuss the benefits, limits, and risks of that technique with you.

Q: Do special children have special dental needs?

Most do. Some special children are very susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease, or oral trauma. Others require medications or diets detrimental to dental health. Still other children have physical difficulty with effective dental habits at home. The good news is, dental disease is preventable. If special needs dental care is started early and followed conscientiously, every child can enjoy a healthy smile.

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