Pediatric dentistry includes:
Preventative care. This is the most important part of dental care. A pediatric dentist can ensure the child learns to brush and floss properly, greatly reducing the risk of dental problems throughout his or her lifetime. The dentist can also ensure the child and its parent understand how decay occurs, and how proper eating and hygiene habits can help prevent it. As the child grows older, the pediatric dentist keeps an eye out for future tooth alignment or bite problems, and suggests preventative measures to reduce more extensive and expensive orthodontic treatment later on.
Teething. As the baby teeth emerge between the ages of six months to three years, the baby can experience sore gums and other forms of discomfort. A pediatric dentist can advise the parent on how to handle and reduce the discomfort. He or she can also counsel the parent on proper cleaning techniques once the teeth erupt.
Baby bottle tooth decay. Often, well-meaning parents "treat" their babies to a bottle of juice or milk at bedtime. The sugars in these liquids gather around the infant's teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria that cause plaque. Prolonged and frequent exposure to these sugars can cause the baby's teeth to decay. Early decay can lead to a need for early extraction. To avoid this situation, bottles should be filled with water only. Ideally, bottles should not be given at nighttime and babies should be weaned off the bottle between the ages of twelve and fourteen months. A pediatric dentist can advise parents on how to prevent and treat baby bottle tooth decay.
Thumb-sucking. This is a normal activity for infants and very young children that usually stops between the ages of two to four. However, if it continues even after the permanent teeth have begun to emerge, bite problems can occur. The upper teeth can lean towards the lip, or not come in properly. In these cases, pediatric dentists can recommend a mouth appliance to block the habit.
Interceptive orthodontic treatment. Bite and alignment problems can be most easily corrected while the jaw is still growing. The pediatric dentist can suggest appliances to stretch and shape a child's jaw and mouth to prepare for future orthodontic treatment once the permanent teeth have come in.
Remember that the teeth of babies, who sleep with a bottle of milk, formula or fruit juice in their mouth can suffer from decay known as Milk Bottle Tooth Decay. So the bottle should be removed as soon as the feed is over and do not use the bottle as a pacifier.
Even though primary (milk) teeth eventually fall out, they do serve a very important function. Besides helping in chewing, speech and good looks. Milk teeth reserve space for permanent teeth, so if a tooth is lost too early, new teeth could grow in crooked. If the milk teeth are well looked after, then it is more likely that the permanent teeth will grow in their correct position.
There are many ways to help prevent early decay, beginning with regular checkups. But if a cavity does develop in a milk tooth, be sure to have it filled. And if your child accidentally knocks a tooth out, place it in cool milk or the baby’s saliva or water and get to the dentist within half an hour so it can be replanted in your child’s mouth. This should be followed even for permanent teeth.
When your child is about a year old, it’s time he or she sees a dentist. Early visits can prevent minor problems from becoming major ones, and even though you are checking your child’s teeth, you may not recognize a problem. Don’t wait until there is a decayed or injured tooth to introduce your child to a dentist; make the first visit a positive one.
Imitation is the best way to teach your child how to brush and floss. Children as young as 2 or 3 can learn to brush by watching you, although you should follow up with a thorough brushing of their teeth.
A well balanced & nutritious diet promotes good oral health. However try and reduce ‘between-meal’ snacks specially of foods which contain sugar or carbohydrates in order to inhibit acid formation in the mouth. Do not get into the habit of giving your child a sweet to stop a tantrum or as a reward.
And remember, regular dental checkups are the key to healthy oral development.
- Thumbsucking is a natural occurrence for many babies and new-borns and they derive satisfaction from it. During the first year of life, thumbsucking should not be discouraged.
- If thumbsucking continues beyond four to five years of age, consult your dentist. If the habit is allowed to continue, it can lead to crooked teeth (Malocclusion).
Parents, too, play an important role in a child’s dental development, because better oral health for your child begins with you.
1. Hold the toothbrush just under the gum line at an angle of 45° Gently jiggle the brush or move in tiny circles over the teeth and gum. Repeat for each tooth.
|2. Use tip of toothbrush to brush behind each front tooth, both top and bottom.|
3. Brush the insides of each tooth using the same jiggling action in step I.
|4. For the chewing surfaces, use a light back and forth motion.|
5. Floss your toddler’s teeth regularly. Floss is wrapped round the middle fingers and then gently eased between the teeth with the aid of the forefinger and thumb. By the age of ten children can begin flossing by themselves.
Pedodontic Dentistry is a branch of dentistry which gives specialized dental care for
children under the age of sixteen. First dent chennai dentists teaching the children about the oral care and dentist treatment to prevent tooth decay (known as preventive dentistry) is also included in Pedodontics.