If you have recently had your first child, you may be surprised at how much dentistry has changed since you were a child. You may be surprised by parenting books and sites recommending that you take your child to their first dental appointment by the end of their first year. Here are some other trends that may surprise you.
Better Education of Parents
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry currently recommends that your child visit the dentist as soon as their first tooth erupts or by their first birthday. In 2004, the recommended age for the first dental visit was three years old, which was considered a major step forward compared to early twentieth century dentistry, which concentrated on adults and school-aged children.
This early visit sets a precedence in your family for preventative oral care. Your child will become accustomed to visiting the dentist and you will gain knowledge of proper oral hygiene as your baby grows into a toddler.
Parents also have greater access to the internet, including mobile dental apps on their smartphones, that allow you to research the latest trends in pediatric dental care and ask experts questions about your child. This, in combination with visits to the dentist, means that parents should be better informed about their role in their child's early dental care.
More Informed Children
Just like it is easier for you to access information about oral hygiene and dentistry, your child has more access to information as well. From oral hygiene games played on a tablet to dental care lessons in preschool, it is likely that your child will understand the importance of oral health at a young age. You shouldn't be surprised if your child asks you when they will go to the dentist or inquires about getting braces to straighten their teeth.
Increased Use of Anesthesia and Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry and full anesthesia has been used in pediatric dentistry for years. It is commonly used to reduce anxiety in young patients and to help very young patients remain still and cooperative for longer procedures. In 1985, the first guidelines for use of sedation in pediatric dentistry were published. These were updated in 1993 to include an increased emphasis on monitoring and an encouragement towards inducing a sleep-like state during procedures as opposed to full, deep sedation.
These updates means that sedation options for young children tend to be more common and safer than they were previously. If your child requires a root canal or multiple fillings, it is likely that you will be offered the option for sedation before the treatment.
More Aesthetically Pleasing Restoration Options
In modern dentistry, composite fillings are more popular than the silver amalgam fillings that were used in the past. Although amalgam is still offered in some practices as a low-cost option for fillings, composite fillings are now as strong as amalgam fillings and are considered more aesthetically pleasing, since they can be matched to your child's natural tooth color.
The option for composite fillings means that your child will have natural looking teeth, even if extensive work is required.
More In-depth Psychological Training for Pediatric Dentists
Modern dentists recognize the importance of making children feel comfortable at their practice. Early appointments allow children to become comfortable with their dentist. Waiting rooms painted in bright colors and filled with toys make children excited to visit the dentist. It is also likely that your child's dentist will spend the majority of their visit talking with your child, making sure they understand what is going on before they begin an examination or treatment.
All of these efforts are intended to make your child more comfortable with dentistry and encourage a lifetime of healthy oral habits.
The best thing you can do as a parent is take advantage of the advances in pediatric dentistry and inform yourself about the best methods for oral care for your child as they grow. For more information, contact a local children's dental care specialist.