Tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic childhood disease around the world, and most of these cases can be prevented with a simple visit to a pediatric dentist. A childrens dentist focuses on the oral health of kids until they reach the age of 18; they instill good dental hygiene habits as well as make recommendations for any necessary cosmetic dental work (braces, mouth guards, etc.)
But not all kids are jumping for joy at the mention of a pediatric dentist, and many avoid going in fear of pain and discomfort. As a result, students lose more than 51 million school hours every year due to illnesses related to dental problems.
The dental industry today understands that sitting in the dentist office can be stressful, which is why today a 6-year-old might now sit in a purple or brightly-patterned chair in a room full of colorful wallpaper or ceiling decorations. Dental offices are trying to cater more towards kids in order to prevent gum disease and tooth decay — which an estimated 23% of adults 20 to 64 years of age have.
While conducting a dentist search, a parent may now be pleased to find aquariums, children’s books, and toys in the waiting room so that by the time they sit in the chair, they will be more comfortable and relaxed.
But the need for a pediatric dentist as opposed to a general dentist for adults is no new idea, in fact Hippocrates discussed the major differences between treating children and adults. A pediatric dentist focuses more on the proper development of teeth, promoting health eating habits, while adult dentistry is more of a maintenance industry.
Today, nearly 40% of all practicing dentists are pediatric dentists because there is such a high demand for preventative dental care in order for families to avoid costly cosmetic work in the future.
The only issue is trying to convince kids and their parents that going to the dentist early in life is a good move. Many kids feel a certain dread — possibly acquired from parents, siblings, or the media — about sitting in the chair. Children and their parents need to understand that it isn’t just about the development of their teeth, but instead issues such as maintaining a balanced diet, staying fit, and getting enough sleep are major concerns that dentists can often address.
Finding a local dentist that can treat both kids and adults in the same vicinity is a great time saver. Looking for offices that are both kid friendly and catered to adult patients is the next step for the dental industry.