Get your answers about pediatric dentistry:
When should my child first see the dentist?
I have found that I like to see kids when they are between the ages of 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 years old. Then they are old enough to understand what we're trying to do so we can help them create some good habits that will aid them their entire lifetime. It’s an introduction to good dental hygiene, a chance to reinforce good nutrition and assess for any oral habits. My team and I really enjoy this first appointment.
Of course, if your child falls or you have any concerns we can always see the kids earlier.
Why a pediatric dentist and not just the dentist that I go to?
Like pediatricians, pediatric dentists are uniquely prepared to treat children. Kids are not just little people. They have significantly different dental issues and concerns than adults. I think it’s really important that kids have positive experiences and that they learn how to care for themselves and their teeth. I want to help them become great dental patients so that they may have a lifetime with as few dental problems as possible and that they enjoy seeing their dentist as much as I enjoy seeing them.
Do you fix baby teeth? Aren't they just going to come out?
Sure I fix baby teeth. Untreated, dental decay can cause great problems for a child. These may include pain, infection or premature tooth loss, which can cause problems with the development of the permanent teeth and bone structure.
My child saw a general dentist and had a bad experience. What will you do differently? Will you sedate her?
Every child is different. After developing a one on one relationship with the child I can usually accomplish the necessary dental treatment. I explain what I'm going to do, listen to their concerns, address them and get the work done. Its surprising what you learn when you ask. I recently asked a little girl why she fussed for her last dentist. She replied that her hair was caught in the dental chair and it hurt. Well, of course, she fussed. He obviously didn't ask.
Occasionally, it is necessary to sedate children for dental work. This occurs most often when the child is too young to cooperate. In these cases, the child's safety is my primary concern. I use an independent anesthesiologist who monitors the child and administers the necessary medications. I am also on staff at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh with full OR privileges should general anesthesia be required.
My child is autistic. Do you see children with special needs?
I certainly do. There is a special place in my heart for children with special needs and their parents. I would love to meet your child.
What if my child falls and needs you after hours or on weekends? Are you available?
Just call the office. You will be given my home or cell phone number. I will be happy to see your children for those unexpected accidents kids experience. If I'm away another pediatric dentist will be available for you.
How old do you see patients? When has my child outgrown a pediatric dentist?
I usually see children into their teen years. In our practice I am fortunate to practice with my husband who provides dental care for adults. It’s a very easy transition for you and your kids.
© 2011 Gurtner Dental