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Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric dentistry (formerly Pedodontics/Paedodontics) primarily focuses on children from birth through adolescence.  The American Dental Association (ADA), recognizes pediatric dentistry as a specialty, and therefore requires dentists to undertake two or three years of additional training after completing a general dentistry degree.  At the end of this training, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry issues a unique diploma (Diplomate ABPD).  Some pediatric dentists (pedodontists) opt to specialize in oral care for children with special needs; specifically children with autism, varying levels of mental retardation, or cerebral palsy.

One of the most important components of pediatric dentistry is child psychology.  Pediatric dentists are trained to create a friendly, fun, social atmosphere for visiting children, and always avoid threatening words like “drill,” “needle,” and “injection.”  Dental phobias beginning in childhood often continue into adulthood, so it is of paramount importance that children have positive experiences and find their “dental home” as early as possible.

What Does a Pediatric Dentist Do?

Pediatric dentists fulfill many important functions pertaining to the child’s overall oral health and hygiene.  They place particular emphasis on the proper maintenance and care of deciduous (baby) teeth, which are instrumental in facilitating good chewing habits, proper speech production, and also hold space for permanent teeth.

Other important functions include:

Education - Pediatric dentists educate the child using models, computer technology, and child-friendly terminology; thus emphasizing the importance of keeping teeth strong and healthy.  In addition, they advise parents on disease prevention, trauma prevention, good eating habits, and other aspects of the home hygiene routine.

Monitoring growth – By continuously tracking growth and development, pediatric dentists are able to anticipate dental issues and quickly intervene before they worsen.  Also, working towards earlier corrective treatment preserves the child’s self-esteem and fosters a more positive self-image.

Prevention – Helping parents and children establish sound eating and oral care habits reduces the chances of later tooth decay.  In addition to providing check ups and dental cleanings, pediatric dentists are also able to apply dental sealants and topical fluoride to young teeth, advise parents on thumb- sucking/pacifier/smoking cessation, and provide good demonstrations of brushing and flossing.

Intervention – In some cases, pediatric dentists may discuss the possibility of early oral treatments with parents.  In the case of oral injury, malocclusion (bad bite), or bruxism (grinding), space maintainers may be fitted, a nighttime mouth guard may be recommended, or reconstructive surgery may be scheduled.

If you have questions or concerns about pediatric dentistry, please contact our office.

Testimonials

I can't say enough good things about Dr. Southworth and his entire staff! My two daughters needed a LOT of dental re-alignment, including headgear and recommendations for extractions and periodontal work. Dr. Southworth was one hundred percent up-front, realistic and supportive through all six years of work! He has such a caring approach with his patients, always putting them at ease with a genuine spirit, and patient, understandable explanations of all treatments and plans. I highly recommend Dr. Southworth and his caring staff for any orthodontic needs.

Karen O.

Search no further, you are fortunate to have found an orthodontist who will give it to you straight( pun intended).
Whatever your needs or goals for your child, Dr. Southworth can assist you in understanding all of your options- including the option to not get braces! He is not a salesperson but an extremely well educated and experienced Orthodontist who will offer you and your child a caring and well supported consultation. His inclusion of your child in this process is perfection.
If you do proceed with braces, a kind and supportive team will make the entire process a walk in the park. I had two children who had very different needs. Both had incredible outcomes.
In terms of value, his pricing cannot be beat. There is a well detailed, comprehensive arrangement laid out before services even begin- this means NO SURPRISES! Payment was easy with an extremely reasonable payment plan.
Having his office so convenient is vital for ongoing care and his team makes it incredibly easy to schedule, interface with your regular dentist, and manage all the intricacies of any insurance you may have. They are a pleasure to deal with and I can honestly say after dealing with them for many years, every interaction was a joy.
Choosing the right fit for your orthodontist is critical and we are so blessed to have Dr. Southworth in our area. Some of my friends were not as fortunate and in the end paid more in time, money and stress across the board.
If you are able to utilize his services, you will be more than pleased with both the process and the outcome!

Mary L., Sterling

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