Pediatric Dental Specialists: Should Your Teen Stay Or Go?

Should your teen continue to visit pediatric dental specialists or choose a new dentist who only cares for adults? Your child has gone to one dentist for years. But now that they're older, you're not sure if it's time for a change. Before your child makes a switch, take a look at what you need to know about pediatric dentists and the reasons to stay with the same practice during the teen years.

Do Pediatric Dentists Only Treat Very Young Children?

Even though your child's first visit to the pediatric dentist was as a toddler, this type of dental professional doesn't only care for patients who are years away from high school. Pediatric dentists routinely work with children well into their college years. This means your tween, teen, or young adult child could still visit the pediatric practitioner.

Do Teens And Young Children Have the Same Dental Needs?

No, teens and very young children do not have the same dental needs. But this should not interfere with your decision to stick with the pediatric practice that your child has used for years. Toddlers are just getting their first teeth. Older preschoolers and elementary school-aged children are losing baby teeth and gaining their permanent set of adult teeth. 

By the teen years, most children have many of their permanent teeth. As your child enters adolescence, the second and third molars will start erupting. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the second upper and lower molars typically erupt between ages 12 and 13 and the third molars break through between 17 and 21 years. 

Changes in your teen's mouth and the presence of more adult teeth create different dental issues—compared to what your child experienced in their earlier years. As your child's permanent teeth erupt, orthodontic issues may arise. These potential problems include crowding, congenitally missing permanent teeth, and bite misalignment. Along with orthodontic issues, your teen's wisdom teeth may start coming in or they may have symptoms of impaction. 

Why Should Your Teen Stay At Their Pediatric Practice?

The changing dental needs that teens experience are major reasons to stay with their existing pediatric practice. From overcrowding and orthodontics to wisdom teeth, the pediatric dentist has specialized knowledge of and experience in caring for the developing adolescent mouth. This type of dentist can assess your child's dental and oral health needs and either provide the necessary treatment or refer your family to another specialist. 

Not only does the pediatric dentist have the right type of training and expertise, but they know your teen—and their dental history. The pediatric specialist knows that your child sometimes doesn't like to brush, remembers that they've always struggled to floss properly, and has imaging records that show the progression of your child's dental development. These types of knowledge make it possible for your teen to get the comprehensive, caring dental treatment that they need right now. 

Contact a dental office like Dentistry For Children & Adolescents for more information.