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In the first part of the 1900's, signs that read "No children treated in this dental office" were common. Fortunately, times have changed!
It is currently recommended that a child pay his or her first visit to the dentist at one year of age, or six months after the first tooth erupts. If your dentist does not treat children, ask for a referral to another general dentist or a pediatric dentist (pedodontist) who does treat children. You can ask for referrals to several dentists if you wish to explore different possibilities. You can also ask friends, family, neighbors or co-workers with children for a local referral. Pediatric dentistry provides comprehensive care for infants and children through adolescence. A pediatric dentist should be knowledgeable in preventive dental procedures, dental materials, restorative techniques and basic orthodontics. Knowledge of pediatric medicine, oral pathology and child development is also helpful.
Though many general dentists like to treat children, a child may benefit from visiting a children's dentist. A pedodontist's extra training, as well as an environment geared specifically toward kids, may help create a more positive experience for a child. This could prove particularly helpful for the frightened child or a child who needs extensive dental work.
Whether you end up visiting a pediatric or a general dentist, it is important to keep in mind that the goal should be to create good dental experiences for your kids.