Pediatric Dentistry – The Dental Specialty For Infants, Children, and Teenagers

Pediatric dentistry is the dental specialty that deals with the oral health of infants, children and teenagers. Also known as Pedodontics, it is one of the fastest growing areas in the field of dentistry.


Pediatric dentists use behavior guidance techniques to introduce young patients to dentistry and to help them overcome their fears. This helps establish a trusting relationship that can last throughout the child’s life.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, or caries, is the most common dental problem that kids face. It is caused by bacteria that build up on the tooth surface, where they feed on sugars from food and drink. As they do so, they produce acid that eats away at the tooth enamel and dentin, eventually creating holes known as cavities.

Tooth Decay can begin as early as a child’s first primary teeth, which typically come in by age six months. If left untreated, it can lead to pain and even infections that can spread. Since baby teeth will eventually fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth, it’s important to take them care of now to prevent serious issues down the road.

While genetic factors contribute to a child’s likelihood of getting cavities, nearly all tooth decay is preventable through proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist. A pediatric dentist can provide kids with the tools they need to ensure great oral health throughout their lives.

A dentist can recognize tooth decay in its early stages with a dental exam and dental X-rays. They can also offer kids a fluoride treatment, which can strengthen and remineralize the tooth. When cavities are more severe, a pediatric dentist may need to perform a direct restoration, which involves removing the decayed area and repairing it with a filling that matches the color of the tooth.


Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that affects the gum tissue, and it’s much more common in kids than adults. It’s caused by plaque and tartar buildup, which can be due to poor brushing or flossing habits, as well as a diet that fuels harmful oral bacteria. Other risk factors for gingivitis include hormones, genetics, and certain conditions such as diabetes.

The good news is that kids can usually reverse their gingivitis with better oral hygiene practices and some home remedies. It’s important to teach children how to brush their teeth and the gum line properly, use waxed floss daily to eliminate plaque between teeth, and rinse with lukewarm saltwater. They also need to visit their pediatric dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and x-rays.

If your child has gingivitis, their dentist can perform a deep dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar, as well as irritants that can cause gum inflammation like food debris stuck in the gum pockets. They may also suggest using an antiseptic mouthwash that kills the bacteria that cause gum disease and promotes healing. In some cases, your child’s dentist might recommend an antibiotic rinse or topical ointment to control infection. They can also restore a smile damaged by gingivitis with restorative dentistry techniques.

Tooth Pain

Tooth pain is a loud indicator that your child needs to see a Pediatric Dentist. The pain is an indicator that the tooth’s pulp (the soft part inside the tooth with blood vessels and nerves) is irritated. Pain is most often caused by tooth decay and is exacerbated by eating sugary foods or drinking very hot or cold liquids. New teeth may also cause pain as they are coming in and erupting. Infections and dental trauma can also cause tooth pain.

The dentist can perform root canals, tooth extractions, and other procedures to treat the problem of a painful tooth. Pediatric dentists can also prescribe antibiotics, pain relievers, and other medications to alleviate the toothache and to prevent any complications from developing in the future.

In addition to treating painful teeth, Pediatric dentistry focuses on teaching kids good oral health habits that will last a lifetime. It also teaches parents and children how to establish healthy habits that can help keep the mouth free of excess bacteria that can cause diseases in other parts of the body.

Pediatric dentists are specially trained in the unique needs of infants, children, and teenagers. They understand how to address the emotional and behavioral challenges that can arise during these stages of life and provide safe and effective treatment. They use behavior guidance to teach patients and their parents how to maintain a healthy oral hygiene regimen that will reduce the need for extensive dental work in the future.

Dental Anxiety

Dental fear is a common phobia that can affect children’s psychological well-being, quality of life, and oral and systemic health. It can also lead to avoidance of professional dental care, resulting in poor oral hygiene and untreated dental problems. Children with dental fear may also demonstrate poor cooperation during dental visits, compromising the treatment outcomes and creating occupational stress on the dentists and their parents [1].

Estimates of dental anxiety vary from one study to the next, but a number of studies report that up to 9% of children and adolescents experience DFA (Klingberg et al., 1994; Cesar, de Moraes, Milgrom, and Kleinknecht, 1999). DFA acquisition in childhood is thought to track into adulthood, although few longitudinal studies exist that evaluate this.

The age at which dental visits begin and the frequency of these appointments are important factors in the development of dental fear. It is believed that the earlier children start to visit a pediatric dentist, and the more frequently they visit this specialist, the less likely they will develop dental phobia.

There are many ways to ease dental anxiety in children, from using a comforting object like a stuffed animal or blanket to distracting them with TV shows and music, and even breathing exercises. Moreover, a good dentist will be able to correspond with a child’s specific fears and apprehensions to make them feel comfortable.