Did you know that pediatric (or paediatric) dentistry is one of the seven specialty areas of dentistry in Singapore? The Singapore Ministry of Health has recognized the following 7 dental specialty areas: Prosthodontics, Orthodontics, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Periodontics, Paediatric Dentistry, Endodontics and Dental Public Health.
Pediatric dentists focus on a special group of patients – from babies, toddlers, children to young adults (those under 18 years of age). They are sometimes known as children’s dentists or “kiddie” dentists. They are also trained in the care of special needs patients including those with significant medical, physical or mental disabilities.
The establishment of children’s trust and confidence in their dentist is very important. Pediatric dentists are trained in child development, psychology and behavior management. Clinics are child friendly in design, and both verbal and non-verbal communication is used. They are also trained in pharmacological behavior management.
Pediatric dentists place a significant importance on the maintenance of the primary teeth and in preventing tooth decay. They also monitor growth and development of the dentition and jaws. This would help in preventing, and or intercepting any paranormal habits and plan for any correction of deviations from normal growth in the future.
Studies have shown that poor oral health in children can lead to impaired school performance and poor social relationships.
When a child is young, the focus of a children’s dentist includes:
- Preventive oral health – emphasising correct brushing, flossing and the importance of fluorides; and
- Instilling healthy dietary habits including proper nursing protocols (the baby should not be allowed to fall asleep on the breast or bottle).
If the primary (or milk) teeth are well maintained then good nutrition, speech development and space for the eventual eruption of the permanent teeth will proceed smoothly.
The role of the pediatric dentist changes when children enter adolescence. Recognizing the importance of appearance and self image, the pediatric dentist addresses dental issues such as unsavory snacking and drinks consumption, aesthetic restorations, teeth guidance, wisdom teeth, sports injuries to the oral area, oral piercings and smoking.
Special Needs Children
Children with special needs require dental appointments that are tailored to make use of their abilities. The pediatric dentist who understands how to accommodate a child’s disability and encourage whatever limited ability he or she has will provide the secure environment to successfully treat these children.
Specialist Dental Group is pleased to announce the extension of its specialty services to pediatric dentistry. Dr Elizabeth Tan, Pedodontist, joins our team in June 2011 and has over 22 years of experience seeing child patients.