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Dental and Oral Health (Children)

Pediatric Dentists: Caring for your Child's Teeth

In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) noted, in a report on oral health, that nearly 1/3 of all 2-5 year-old children in America suffer from cavities. In fact, tooth decay remains the single most common childhood disease. In some states, such as Ohio, dental disease in children is the number one unmet health care need. 

Pediatric dentists dedicate themselves to the oral health of children from infancy through the teen years. They not only treat decaying teeth, but also manage issues with growth and development.  They emphasize proper oral care and maintenance in order to prevent cavities and other problems.  Additionally, many pediatric dentists care for patients with special healthcare needs, such as the disabled. 

Apart from being able to handle the majority of the dental needs of children, a pediatric dentist also needs to know the basics of pediatric medicine, nutrition, and the emotional and psychological needs of children.  This helps the pediatric dentist establish a "dental home" where the complete oral health needs of their patients can be met.

Dental problems not only interfere with a child's ability to eat, they can also undermine his/her ability to play, enjoy life, and learn normally.  Untreated, early dental problems can lead to lifelong oral health concerns. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that all children be seen by a dentist by age 1 year or within 6 months of eruption of the first tooth. 

Continued care by a pediatric dentist can go a long way toward preventing unnecessary dental disease and suffering for your child.

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Last Reviewed: May 30, 2008

Dennis J McTigue, DDS Dennis J McTigue, DDS
Professor of Pediatric Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University

Sarath  Thikkurissy, DDS, MS Sarath Thikkurissy, DDS, MS
Associate Professor of Pediatric Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University