Although dentistry dates back to 5000 BC, the pediatric field didn’t become a distinct practice until the 1900s. Since the previous century, this specialty has evolved rapidly to reach the current form we know today—and it continues to change as new technologies and practices are developed. When your child visits a dental office for pediatric dentistry in Los Angeles, CA, you’re taking a small part in this evolution.
Roots in Los Angeles
The first-ever pediatric dental specialists worked right here in LA. In the early 1900s, Minnie Evangeline Jordan opened a dental practice just for kids here in our city—a unique concept for its time. Other practices steadily began in California and elsewhere, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that the American Dental Association officially recognized pediatric dentistry as a specialty.
Building a Healthy Foundation
Over time, a multidisciplinary approach to pediatric dentistry became more popular as experts recognized how a child’s oral health impacted their overall health. In the early 2000s, the American Dental Association promoted the concept of comprehensive oral healthcare beginning before children turn one year old. By starting early, dentists ensure healthy development, and families form good habits for scheduling routine appointments. Today, about 87% of American children ages 2-17 visit the dentist at least once a year—more than in any other decade.
Dr. Robbins actually recommends an initial visit by the time that child’s first baby teeth appear and sometimes, even sooner, as in newborns that are experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding.
Today’s Pediatric Practices
Nowadays, it is common for dentist offices to specialize in young patients and create welcoming environments for them. In addition to a more gentle, “child-centric” approach, many of today’s best practices follow integrative pediatric dentistry, aiming to find the underlying causes of dental problems—rather than just treating symptoms. Integrative pediatric dentists consider a broad scope of health and behavioral issues, as well as anatomical and functional issues, that may impact the dental health and the overall well-being of the pediatric patient. Today’s pediatric dentists also take a multidisciplinary approach, collaborating with other dental, medical, and other professionals who specialize in treating infants, toddlers, growing children, adolescents, and teens.