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Pediatric dentistry is the field of dentistry that specialized in providing oral healthcare to infants and children through adolescence and patients with special healthcare needs. This age-defined specialty, formerly called pedodontics, provides both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic dental care. One goal of pediatric dentistry is to establish trust and confidence in a child through pleasant visits to the dental office, to help children feel good about visiting the dentist, and to teach them how to care for their teeth. A pediatric dentist is a dentist who prevents, evaluates, diagnoses, and treats diseases of the oral cavity and related structures in infants and children through adolescence. A pediatric dentist can prescribe drugs, x-rays and devices. Because some oral diseases and abnormalities can indicate other health issues, a pediatric dentist my refer patients to their pediatrician or a specialist for further evaluation or treatment. Pediatric dentistry is a recognized American Dental Association specialty of dentistry. Pediatric dentists complete two to three years of additional specialized training, after the required four years of dental school, to prepare them for treating a wide variety of children's dental problems. They are also trained and qualified to care for patients with medical, physical or mental disabilities. Physicians in this specialty treat patients suffering from numerous diseases and illnesses, but some of the most common are dental injuries, knocked out tooth, early childhood caries, crowded or crooked teeth, bite problems, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders, cavities, tooth decay, and gingivitis. Once properly diagnosed, practitioners can perform numerous procedures on patients including dental cleanings, fillings, dental extractions, sealants, fluoride treatment, enamel fluorosis, custom-fitted mouth guards, emergency dental care, malocclusion identification, microabrasion, space maintainers, and preventative home care education. To diagnose patients with possible illnesses and diseases, specialists will often perform one of many tests including early childhood caries risk assessment and dental imaging.
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