Pediatric Dentists: Integral Part Of Your Collaborative Village
Pediatric dentists have a unique opportunity and responsibility to help guide children and their parents to making the best oral health decisions possible. The most experienced doctors will focus on collaboration and communication with other providers and specialists to help provide the most comprehensive care. Depending on the age and developmental stage of the child, they may even seek out to work closely with other specialists below.
Some children present with dental and bony mismatch that is evident early in their childhood, such as severe crowding or crossbite. The pediatric dentist would work closely with an orthodontist and provide timely referral for early evaluation and treatment rather than waiting until the child is at least 12-13 years old.
Early orthodontics helps to improve the growth of craniofacial structures, and more malleable bone structures, which leads to better airway, sleeping behavior, and of course a beautiful smile.
Sometimes if children have difficulty sleeping they may snore, grind their teeth, toss and turn, or even wet the bed. These are all signs of sleep disordered breathing (SDB). This can often be linked to enlarged tonsils or adenoids occluding a child’s airway. Pediatric dentists examine the appearance of tonsils and patency of the airway in a child and alert parents to any concerns with referral to an ENT for further evaluation and treatment – medications vs. surgery.
Children may need help fine tuning or even establishing proper feeding and speech skills. These oral motor challenges can arise during dental check up in form of compromised oral hygiene or dental development. Pediatric dentists often work hand-in-hand with speech and feeding therapists to improve oral motor function, especially if abnormal oral anatomy such as lip or tongue ties need to be treated.
Chiropractors/Cranial Sacral Therapist (CST) Providers
Pediatric dentists who specialize in working with and treating infants with lip or tongue ties are working to improve the infant’s ability to breast or bottle feed. While releasing ties can increase an infant’s ability to improve their oral motor skills, sometimes it is not the only problem.
Tight positioning in the womb or a difficult delivery can negatively impact an infant’s ability to relax their muscles or rotate their heads freely when feeding.
The pediatric dentist specializing in infant care can help determine the need for additional therapeutic support with a chiropractor or cranial sacral therapist to provide gentle infant massage therapy to correct such muscle rigidity.
In the case of pediatric health, teamwork truly makes the dream work. Talk to your pediatric dentist for referrals to different specialists if you have concerns about your child’s sleeping habits, speech development, or feeding skills.