Pediatric Dentistry

Why A Pediatric Dentist?

Has your child ever begged you to go to the dentist or to not leave when you get there? Impossible you say? Not at the pediatric dental office of Michael J. Leach D.D.S! It could be our gentle touch and special way with kids or the kid-friendly office that was designed with them in mind. Dr. Leach and his entire team love children and are specially trained to put them at ease. We teach your children the proper way to take care of their teeth and just as important, they learn that going to the dentist can be fun.

What Is A Pediatric Dentist (Pedodontist)?

In the same way that pediatricians are trained to meet a child’s medical needs, pediatric dentists, like Dr. Leach, are uniquely qualified to protect your child’s oral health using the most advanced techniques in our delightfully friendly open treatment area. Dr. Leach completed an additional three years of training at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in addition receiving his Doctorate of Dental Surgery at West Virginia University Dental University. Pediatric dentists learn how to deal with the behavioral aspects of children, how to make them feel comfortable, and to make the experience pleasant while providing the specialized care that primary teeth need. They also are trained and qualified to treat special needs patients.

What Dental Problems Could My Child Have?

Some dental problems begin very early in life. One concern is early childhood tooth decay, a serious condition caused by a child staying on the bottle (or breast) too long. Another problem is gum disease. About 40 percent of children two to three years old have at least mild inflammation of gum tissues. Oral habits (such as digit sucking) should also be checked. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chances of preventing problems. Strong, healthy teeth help your child chew food easily, speak clearly, and feel good about his or her appearance.

Why Are Baby Teeth So Important?

Primary teeth are important because they help with proper chewing and eating, aid in speech development, and add to an attractive appearance. A child who can chew easily, speak clearly, and smile confidently is a happier child. Healthy primary teeth allow normal development of the jaw bones and muscles, save space for the permanent teeth, and guide them into place. If a baby tooth is lost too soon, permanent teeth may come in crooked. Decayed baby teeth can cause pain, abscesses, infections, and can spread to the permanent teeth. Also, your child’s general health can be affected if diseased baby teeth aren’t treated. Remember, some primary molars are not replaced until age 10-14, so they must last for years.

What Should I Tell My Child About Their First Dental Visit?

We are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way that you would before their first hair-cut or trip to the shoe store. This will not be the frightening experience you may remember from your youth. If you are nervous about the trip, then the less you say the better. You cannot hide your anxiety from a child (they have radar for these things). Prior to your child’s visit, we suggest you and your child take our virtual tour to get accustomed to our office layout, utilize informational resources such as children’s dental books (7 picture books about going to the dentist), as well as using kid friendly terms when describing the dentist (e.g. wiggle teeth, Mr. Slurpee, taking photos). Your child’s reaction to his/her first visit to the dentist may surprise you.

What About Preventative Care?

Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand-in-hand! At our office, we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Sealants are a thin, tooth-colored resin coating that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone back teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health. 

What About Sterilization?

Your health and peace of mind are always at the forefront of every visit; therefore, we use state-of-the-art sterilization procedures. After each patient’s visit, the treatment area and tools used are thoroughly disinfected. We ultrasonically clean and heat-sterilize all non-disposable instruments. Our staff wears gloves and masks during procedures. Please feel free to ask us for information on the measures we take to ensure the safety of you and your children or a tour of our sterilization area.