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Your kids are growing, growing, growing. Along with that comes a seemingly never-ending story of getting teeth, losing teeth, then getting more teeth! All because childhood is a time when teeth, gums, jaws, and facial structures are constantly developing — progressing towards adulthood just like the rest of the body. 

This process is quite literally many moving parts, with many unique needs different from adult teeth. That’s why it makes sense to take your kids to a pediatric dentist who is specially trained in the intricacies of kids’ teeth. If you’re a Missouri City family looking for a kids’ dentist, look no further: Dr. Kristi Parker is a pediatric dentist who provides expert pediatric dental care in a welcoming, stress-free environment.

But what is a pediatric dentist?

Let’s talk Pediatric Dentistry Basics. First and foremost, what exactly is a pediatric dentist? 

A pediatric dentist only sees kids and has specialized training in treating kids’ unique oral health needs. Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty — like orthodontics or oral surgery — and requires extra training beyond general dentistry. It’s recognized by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards.  

The organization defines pediatric dentistry as, “an age-defined specialty that provides both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs.” Now that’s a mouthful! But true! It’s exactly what we do at The Beach House Pediatric Dentistry.

Pediatric dentist vs family dentist: what’s the difference?

A pediatric dentist only takes patients from infants to teens while a family dentist accepts patients of all ages — kids and adults. Some families like the specialized knowledge and experience they get from a pediatric dentist. Others prefer a family dentist that the entire clan can go to for convenience and continuity. Your choice between a pediatric dentist vs a family dentist really comes down to what works best for your family.

What does pediatric dentist training look like?

Cool fact: Dr. Parker first practiced as a general dentist, then found she loved helping kids with their oral health so much, she went on to complete her pediatric dentistry specialty to become a pediatric dentist!

Pediatric dentist training consists of two extra years in a pediatric dental residency program on top of general dentistry education. Residency training is made up of both education and clinical experience in all aspects of pediatric dentistry. A residency in pediatric dentistry also includes training in areas that relate to interacting with kids and treating their unique needs such as:

  • Child psychology and development
  • Behavior management
  • Oral pathology
  • Radiology
  • Conscious sedation and general anesthesia
  • Management of oral and facial trauma
  • Pharmacology 

How long does it take to become a pediatric dentist?

On average, pediatric dentist training takes about 10 years. After graduating high school, a potential pediatric dentist must complete a bachelor’s degree from college or university, complete four years of dental school to earn their doctorate, then attend two extra years of specialty training in an accredited pediatric dental residency program.

The icing on the cake for Missouri City families? In addition to her training to become a kids’ dentist, Dr. Parker has also completed exams to become a board certified pediatric dentist. This shows an extra level of commitment to providing the best dental care possible to her young patients.

What are the benefits of seeing a pediatric dentist?

As you might’ve gathered, there are definite bonuses when it comes to choosing a pediatric dentist for your kids vs a general/family dentist. Here are just a few:

Expertise in children’s oral development and issues

During specialty training, Dr. Parker received experience and an in-depth understanding of children’s teeth, gums, and mouth at every stage of development. With this extra training, she can help her young patients prevent oral health issues, and she can catch small issues before they become big ones. Her expertise in kids’ oral health also gives her the extra awareness of kids’ oral health problems to evaluate and diagnose concerns with precision.

Interactions at kid level

Dr. Parker’s love for kids is super evident and you can trust that she’ll treat your kids with respect, patience, and kindness. She’s also trained in communicating about dental care with kids at their level: talking with kids, not at them.

Comfort and experience with behavior management

As a pediatric dentist, Dr. Parker also knows behavior management techniques that help put kids at ease. As we all know, it’s not uncommon for kids to have anxiety about seeing the dentist, and some kids find it hard to sit still during treatment. Dr. Parker understands and responds with a big smile and techniques to help kids relax and have fun in the dentist chair. 

Special needs know-how

You’ll be glad to hear that at The Beach House Pediatric Dentistry, special needs patients and their families will find a safe environment that puts their comfort first. Dr. Parker is trained and experienced in providing compassionate, personalized care to children with a range of physical, cognitive, developmental, emotional, or medical concerns.

Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, ADHD, or visual impairments — our team treats every patient with kindness and respect, working together with parents to achieve the best oral health possible.

A fun, kid-friendly environment

No boring office feel here! Being a pediatric dentist means our Missouri City dental office is specifically designed with a kid-friendly vibe. From our movie theater room to our ceiling-mounted TVs to fun prizes, our office is geared towards making visits welcoming, fun, and stress-free for kids and their adults.

What kind of treatments do pediatric dentists offer?

As a pediatric dentist serving Missouri City, TX, Dr. Parker and her team offer a comprehensive array of oral health care for kids. We’re all about providing high quality pediatric dentistry that’s convenient and pain-free — where kids and families feel safe and have fun.

We offer preventative and diagnostic treatments like:

  • Comprehensive dental exams for infants, kids, and teens
  • Dental cleanings
  • Mouthguards
  • Cavity prevention 
  • Special needs dental care
  • Dental sealants

And cosmetic and restorative dental services for kids including:

  • Tooth-colored fillings
  • Dental crowns
  • Stopping white spots on teeth
  • Tooth extractions

Sedation dentistry for your kids’ comfort

We also offer sedation dentistry with either nitrous oxide (also called “laughing gas”) or conscious sedation. Sedation dentistry for kids helps them feel more relaxed and provides a safer, more comfortable experience. Whether your child has some dental anxiety or special needs, we can talk with you about the pros and cons of sedation dentistry for your child and decide the best course together.

When should kids start going to a pediatric dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend that kids have their first dental checkup by age 1. And we agree! During these early visits, we have the chance to build a relationship with our patients and their families, and help little ones get used to the new sights and sounds of a dental office.

What happens at a first visit? If your child is an infant or toddler, we welcome you to come back to the exam room with your child. With kids 3 years old or older, we kindly ask that you wait in the waiting room first so we have the chance to get to know your child and build rapport. After we take x-rays, we’ll invite you to join your child for the rest of the appointment.

The next step is a dental exam. Knowing that a trip to the dentist can be an overwhelming experience for some kids, we wait until your child’s anxiety lessens and they’re ready. We’re not here to rush you! Dr. Parker might also employ gentle behavior management techniques to help your child feel more secure.

Dr. Parker will check to see if your child’s oral development is on track and see if tooth decay or cavities might be an issue. Once a quick but thorough exam is done, a friendly dental hygienist will clean your child’s teeth, remove any plaque or tartar, then brush and floss them. We wrap up cleaning with a yummy-flavored fluoride treatment painted onto your child’s teeth to strengthen them.

To wrap up, we have a chat about your child’s oral development and any oral health concerns. Dr. Parker also offers suggestions for at-home care, cavity prevention, and answers any questions you might have.

The last and likely the most fun step for kids? Picking out a prize from the treasure chest! 

A pediatric dentist for the whole family 

For sure, kids are our focus at The Beach House Pediatric Dentistry. But we don’t leave out the adults completely. Parents love our convenient hours and we try to keep wait times to a minimum. You’re more than welcome to sit in on appointments with your child if that makes them more comfortable, and our goal is to keep parents in-the-know at all times. We’re also big on education and happy to chat with you and your kids about what you can do to participate in better oral health.

We’re also into using innovative dental technology so that families experience quick, accurate, and pain-free diagnostics for their kids.

Your best dentist for kids in Missouri City, TX

Ready to visit your local pediatric dentist? We serve kids in Missouri City, Sugar Land, Pearland, and Houston, TX with A+ pediatric dental care and a kid-approved, relaxing vibe. 

Contact us today to start your kids’ journey growing a healthy and happy smile!