PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY: Dental care for kids (Pediatric Dentistry)
Pediatric Dentistry is a dental specialty that concentrates its attention on infants and children providing preventive and therapeutic oral health care. During the “growth” phase of a child, special approaches are needed to guide the dental growth and development in order to avoid future dental problems.
A common question that parents ask is “why spend on the maintenance of milk teeth when they are to be finally replaced by the permanent ones?”
Milk teeth are as important as the permanent ones because
• Baby teeth are important in proper feeding and nutrition.
• Milk teeth serve as space maintainers for the proper spacing and alignment of the permanent teeth.
• Healthy milk teeth are crucial in helping the baby learn how to speak properly.
• Healthy looking teeth are important in building self-confidence at an early age. Small children because of immaturity are quick to tease peers about ugly looking or decayed teeth.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (Nursing Bottle Caries): The term describes a dental condition which involves the rapid decay of many or all the baby teeth of an infant or child. The teeth most likely to be damaged are the upper front teeth since they are the first teeth to erupt and thus have the longest exposure time to the sugars in the feeding bottle. The lower front teeth tend to be protected by the tongue as the child sucks on the nipple of the bottle or the breast.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is caused by long exposure of a child’s teeth to sugary liquid that are frequently consumed from the nursing bottle. When the baby falls asleep with a bottle the liquid pools around the front teeth and the bacteria living in every baby’s mouth, turns the milk sugar or other sugars to acid which causes the decay.
By the time the condition is noticed by the parents it may be too late and extractions of the decayed teeth may be necessary. As a result, your child may suffer from long term disorders which include speech impediments, possible psychological damage, crooked or crowded teeth, and poor oral health.
The condition can be easily prevented by
• Clean your child’s teeth daily
• Avoid giving milk or any sweetened liquid to the child at night during sleep
• Start bottle weaning by at least a year
• Have regular dental visits for your child beginning when their first tooth erupts
We hope that you realize this and give your child the best means possible to achieve optimal dental health.
Oral habits in children
Frequently children acquire certain habits that may either temporarily or permanently be harmful to teeth and tooth supporting structures. These habits are acquired as a result of repetition. In the initial stages there is a conscious effort to perform the act. Later the act becomes less conscious and if repeated often enough may enter the realms of unconsciousness.
Some common oral habits seen in children include thumb sucking, mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, lip biting, grinding of teeth and nail biting.
Psychological approach: It is generally said that children lacking parental care, love and affection resort to this habit. Thus the parents should provide the child with adequate love and affection. Also the child’s attention be diverted to other things as games and toys. The dentist and the parents should together work to motivate the child to discontinue the habit.
Mechanical Aids: They are basically reminding appliances that assist the child who is willing to quit the habit but is not able to do so as the habit has entered the subconscious level. They may be removable or fixed appliances.
Pit and Fissure sealants
The chewing surfaces of teeth are never flat. The grooves and depressions on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are called Pits and Fissures. These are very narrow and hard to clean, hence most often cavities form in these areas. This can be avoided at any early age with the use of ‘Sealants’. Sealant is a clear plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth through an absolutely painless procedure. This filling acts as a barrier and protects the pits and fissures from plaque and acid attack.
Take the right decision for your child and ensure a cavity free mouth.