A common question I get asked a lot when discussing oral health issues for infants and young children concerning their “baby teeth” is: “Who cares? They are going to fall out anyway, right?”
In my opinion, the misconception that Pediatric Dentists are specializing in Baby Teeth is the worst of all! Our own academy just came up with a new tagline: “The Big Authority on Little Teeth”. While this statement addresses a great deal of what happens in a Pediatric Dental practice, it also contributes to the false understanding that “it’s all about the little teeth”.
It is true that a lot of what we do as Pediatric Dentists revolves around baby teeth, but the Goal and Mission of any Pediatric Specialist revolves around the child’s proper Growth and Development. Pediatric Dentists are not Baby Teeth Specialists, but Growth and Development Specialists, as it relates to a child’s oral health!
So, will the baby teeth fall out? They will, when it’s time for the permanent teeth to erupt, but until then we are taking care of them to prevent future growth and development complications.
Some of the complications involving untreated oral health problems in children include:
- Poor nutrition because of improper or painful chewing.
- Poor speech development.
- Low self-esteem because of an unhealthy smile.
- Poor learning and attention in school because of the distraction of dental pain.
- Numerous orthodontic and airway problems because of untreated oral health issues.
As a result, early childhood dental decay in primary teeth needs to be prevented and/or treated, baby teeth have to be preserved, and oral soft tissue restrictions (such as lip and tongue ties) need to be addressed when they interfere with the quality of life of our children.
With all these in mind, the real question is not “who cares about baby teeth” but rather “Who Cares about our Children” and the answer should be “All of us!”
I consider our children to be dentistry’s most special patients, and therefore Pediatric Dentistry to be the Most Important Dental Specialty. I want to impact the next generation by providing Hope through Excellent clinical care. That’s why I created this blog and I welcome you to subscribe as long as you keep in mind that my ultimate goal is to Raise The Quality of Life for Children Anywhere! It has always been and will always be beyond “little teeth”.
Who is with me?