Pedodontics/Pediatric Dentistry is a branch of dentistry which looks after the comprehensive oral health needs of children from birth till adolescence. Humans start teething when they are as young as 6 months old and develop their set of primary ‘milk’ teeth. At the age of 6-7 years, they start losing their milk teeth and the permanent set of teeth start emerging.
Because the milk teeth will eventually fall off, some parents tend to ignore taking their child to a dentist. However, these milk teeth form the basis of developing permanent teeth. If proper care is not taken the problems can emerge which will last a lifetime. Therefore, it is always advised to start taking care of your baby’s teeth in the very early stages of their life. This includes setting oral hygiene routine and regular visits to a Pedodontist/ Pediatric dentist.
The Importance of Milk Teeth
• Baby teeth are important as they hold space for permanent teeth.
• They play a primary role in biting, chewing, and grinding the food before digesting it.
• They are also important in speech patterns and training.
• They are the basis of the development of the jaw bones and muscles.
• They provide the necessary shape of the mouth and room for permanent teeth to erupt.
Treatment Modalities Offered by Paedodontist
• Examine the mouth, teeth, and gums.
• They are an expert in protecting your kids’ teeth by doing a fluoride treatment
• Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking and habit counseling to keep the habits of kids in control
• Treatment of tooth cavities
• Treatment of dental injuries
• They can suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
Treatment Options for Kids
Root Canal Treatment in Milk Teeth
If the primary (baby) teeth have been injured or if the decay has advanced deep into the roots of the teeth, a root canal treatment to stabilize the teeth may be needed. Root canal treatment removes the infection from the pulp, the living tissue that is found inside the tooth’s roots. The pulp contains the tooth’s nerves, so tooth pain is often an indication that decay has moved into the pulp. Root canal treatment is a simple procedure wherein instruments are used to clean the root canals of teeth followed by inserting a medication so as to maintain the teeth properly in the oral cavity.
Oral Habits in Children
Frequently children acquire certain habits that may either temporarily or permanently be harmful to the teeth and their 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. Certain reminding appliances called habit breaking appliances 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. The appliances may be removable or fixed appliances.
Preventive Treatments for Kids
A common problem for which parents usually take their children to the dentist is decay. This is because there is a lack of proper dexterity of brushing in children. To avoid the problem of decay, parents should get the Fluoride application treatment in children at regular intervals. Fluoride helps to fight plaque and bacteria which can cause enamel loss which further causes cavities. Fluoride also strengthens the tooth structure. This treatment is equally useful for both milk & permanent teeth.
The main reason for decay is the food and bacteria that is trapped in the pits & fissures of the teeth. We chew food from the back teeth like molars and premolars which are never flat. The pits & fissures are the depressions on these back teeth. They function as potential traps for bacteria & food and make it susceptible to decay. Therefore, as a preventive measure, certain pits and fissure sealants are placed. Sealants are plastic coatings placed on the chewing surface of the tooth that are vulnerable to decay. Sealants protect the tooth from decay.