How Does Dental Care Differ Between Children and Adults?

dental care

While dental care in general is similar across the board, there are significant differences between most dental care provided to children and that which is provided to grown-ups. That is primarily because of the natural fact that adult teeth are quite different from the teeth of children, and since they are by nature different their care and treatment is also not going to be exactly the same.

The youngest children to see a dentist, for example, are still in the infancy years. They cannot yet brush their teeth because in most cases they do not yet have teeth – or if they do have teeth those are tiny and few. A dentist will treat an infant by cleaning the gums, instructing the parent how to care for the young baby’s teeth, and my monitoring progress as teeth begin to emerge. Once the baby teeth come in, they need to be cleaned and cared for just like adult permanent teeth do, but around age seven they naturally loosen and fall out. Dental care may involve extracting teeth that do not come out on their own accord, checking to make sure that teeth come in straight and form nicely, and performing any procedures that might be necessitated by infection of the gums.

Once the permanent set of teeth start coming in, many children need or want additional treatments such as braces or retainers to help guide teeth and make them straighter or ensure that they are spaced properly. Wisdom teeth may start to push their way to the surface even in rather young people like teenagers, and cavities are of course a potential issue that needs to be dealt with whenever there is decay in teeth that requires fillings or other treatments. Flouride treatments are sometimes given to children too, in order to add a protective layer to the teeth to prevent decay or infection.

Then comes adulthood, when many of us spend more time at the dentist because of various problems or issues that often come up for grown people concerned about their dental health. Many people opt for cosmetic procedures, for instance, to whiten their teeth, straighten their teeth, and make their smile more attractive. Sometimes teeth are stained thanks to adult behaviors like smoking or coffee drinking, so they need extra care to clean them. Teeth may be chipped or might crack if adults are old enough to have had old-fashioned amalgam fillings installed in their teeth, because these filling corrode over time and then often split or break the teeth. And some older people lose teeth due to disease or gum infections, so they will seek dental care to replace those missing teeth with synthetic ones that look good and can perform well.

Since dental health changes over one’s lifetime, you may need to have a pediatric type dentist during youth and then switch to another dentist later in life, who specializes in adult teeth. Either way it is a good idea to try to find a qualified dentist and stay with that dental clinic or particular dentist for as long as possible, so that your dental health and hygiene can be closely monitored through all of the changes and phases of life.

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