Pediatric dentists and general dentists complete the same four years of dental school to earn the degree of DDS and the title of “dentist.” To become a pediatric dentist, however, following dental school one must apply for and be chosen to be able to go on to complete two more years of full-time, year-round training in the specialty of pediatric dentistry. During these two additional years of training, the dentist receives specialized training in the growth and development of children, child psychology, care for children with special needs, hospital dentistry, advanced diagnostic and surgical procedures, and much more! Upon completion of this two-year residency, one is now a “pediatric dentist” and devotes their entire career to providing care only for children. Taking care of kids is a pediatric dentist’s passion. It’s what we love and what we are great at!
It is recommended by both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Medical Association that you bring your child in for their first dental visit by the time their first tooth erupts or when they turn one year old. The reason for your child’s first visit by age one, even though few teeth will be present at this time, is to establish a dental home in case of emergencies but more importantly, for you to spend time with the dentist and staff to learn how to take care of your child’s newly erupting teeth in an effort to minimize or avoid getting cavities.
Dental sealants are essentially barriers that cover the back teeth to protect them from tooth decay. The back chewing teeth in our mouths are called molars. These teeth have points and grooves that help us chew our food. The grooves in some people’s teeth are very deep and as a result collect sticky food (such as cookies, crackers, and fruits snacks for example) and the bacteria that cause cavities. A sealant can be applied over these deep grooves to make the grooves easier to keep clean and “seal out” bacteria. This easy procedure greatly helps reduce the chance of a cavity starting in these grooves.
If your child is experiencing a dental emergency like a cracked or chipped tooth, a tooth that has fallen out prematurely, or a persistent toothache that has lasted more than a few days, it is important to bring them in for an emergency appointment as soon as possible. The sooner we can intervene, the better the outcome will be. This is especially true of a knocked-out tooth as it will need to be replaced in its socket and stinted within 1-2 hours to save the tooth. We offer same-day appointments for dental emergencies and will always do our best to see your little one as soon as possible.
If your child is having trouble latching on while breastfeeding, they may have a tongue or lip tie that is preventing them from feeding properly. Other signs of a tongue or lip tie include trouble sticking the tongue out past the lower gums or a notched or heart-shaped tongue. A frenectomy is a quick, simple procedure that will release the tight connective tissue (frenulum) that is preventing proper movement of the lips or tongue. Dr. Conner has many years of experience delivering gentle, nearly painless frenectomies. Your baby will heal quickly, and you can usually even breastfeed right after the procedure! Plus, most mothers will feel relief from nipple pain immediately following the procedure.