Pediatric Dentistry – The Branch of Dental Care That Focuses on Infants, Children, Teenagers, and Young Adults

Pediatric dentistry is the branch of dental care that focuses on infants, children, teenagers, and young adults. Pediatric dentists have advanced training and expertise in treating these patients, as well as those with special needs.


They can help your child develop good oral hygiene habits and prevent dental problems from arising in the future. They can also treat tooth decay, cavities, and perform root canals.

Dental Caries

Dental caries (also known as cavities) are a disease that causes the breakdown of tooth enamel. Often, these lesions progress from soft plaque (a mix of bacteria, mucin, dead epithelial cells, food debris, and minerals) to cavitated lesions that require intervention to prevent further damage.

Pediatric dentists are able to detect and intercept these problems with early oral examination. They can also provide educational materials to help parents and children establish sound oral hygiene habits, as well as offer guidance on eating and drinking patterns.

In addition, pediatric dentists are able to identify and treat oral restrictions such as tongue ties and lip ties that affect proper breath, speech, and swallowing, enlarged tonsils, jaw crowding, and thumb-sucking. Early intervention can significantly reduce the likelihood of severe dental complications.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common problems kids have and it can have serious consequences. It occurs when germs in your child’s mouth eat the sugar from food and drinks and produce acid. Over time, the acid erodes the enamel and creates holes, or cavities.

Fortunately, kids can avoid tooth decay by eating “tooth-friendly” foods like cheese and chopped veggies that promote chewing and help wash away bacteria. Children also need to brush and floss regularly and see the pediatric dentist for fluoride treatments to strengthen enamel and remineralize teeth before they develop cavities.

Dental Hygiene

Visiting a Denver pediatric dentist regularly along with consistent at-home oral hygiene helps kids establish good dental habits early on. This can reduce bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to infections in other parts of the body.

Additionally, pediatric dentists have smaller medical tools that fit better in young children’s mouths. This allows them to treat children more effectively. This is particularly important for young children who may be struggling with bad habits like thumb sucking or teeth grinding. These habits can contribute to bigger problems down the road. For instance, studies show that poor dental health has been linked to low grades and school absences due to toothaches.

Root Canals

A root canal is a dental procedure that removes the affected tooth nerve and pulp. This is done to treat infection in the tooth. It also involves sterilizing and sealing the tooth.

While many parents may think that it is normal for children to lose their primary teeth as they grow older, those baby teeth are very important in supporting the healthy development of your child’s mouth and jaw. They help them speak and eat better and serve as guides for the proper eruption of their permanent adult teeth.

Pediatric dentists often choose a more conservative approach to a root canal known as a Pulpotomy. This is done when the X-ray shows that the infection is limited to one part of the tooth.


A dental filling is an artificial material that fills a cavity or hole in a tooth. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to treat children from birth through adolescence, which means they have the expertise and knowledge to provide gentle and effective care for your kids.

Before your child receives a filling, they will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area being worked on. If they are nervous about the procedure, they may also be offered nitrous oxide/laughing gas for additional comfort.


Sealants are plastic resin coatings that smooth out the chewing surfaces of back teeth to make it easier for children to brush and less likely to develop decay. They are typically applied to the permanent molars and premolars as soon as they erupt, ideally between ages 5 and 7.

Children with good oral hygiene habits may not need sealants, but dentists will recommend them for those at high risk of cavities.

Some parents worry that sealants contain BPA, but a pediatric dentist will only use sealants made from safe materials. Even if sealants do contain some BPA, the amount is so small that it doesn’t pose any health risks.


When a child’s primary tooth is severely decayed or cracked, a pediatric dentist may recommend capping the affected tooth with a crown. These dental caps restore a child’s teeth to their original condition and improve their smile.

Pediatric crowns protect a child’s primary teeth from damage and support their healthy development. They also guide the erupting permanent teeth into their proper positions.

The first step in the crown procedure is to numb the area of the mouth with a topical anesthetic. This ensures the treatment is comfortable and pain-free. Then, the dentist removes the damaged enamel and cleans the area.

Tooth Extractions

Children may need a tooth extraction if the tooth is too damaged to be repaired with a filling or crown. Pediatric dentists only recommend this invasive treatment as a last resort when no other options are available.

After the tooth is removed, we will place a piece of sterile gauze to add pressure and minimize bleeding. It’s important to follow our after-care instructions, as the blood needs to clot properly to avoid dry socket and allow new teeth to grow in properly.

Pediatric dentists are uniquely qualified to care for your child’s oral health from infancy through the teen years. Contact ColumbiaDoctors to schedule your child’s next appointment.

Space Maintainers

If a child loses one or more baby teeth prematurely due to injury or tooth decay, they may benefit from space maintainers. These appliances help keep the space open for permanent teeth, and they are much less invasive than braces.

Space maintainers look a lot like retainers and are custom-made for your child. They are usually made of acrylic and can be removed by your child at any time.

A fixed space maintainer consists of a crown on the top and a loop on the side that is connected to the adjacent teeth. Our pediatric dentists will recommend this type of space maintainer only if it is necessary for your child’s case.