Pediatric dentistry (aka pedodontics or paedodontics) is the branch of dentistry dealing with children from birth through adolescence.
Pediatric (also paediatric or pædiatric) dentists promote the dental health of children as well as serve as educational resources for parents.
It is recommended that a dental visit should occur within six months after the presence of the first tooth or by a child’s first birthday. This is because early oral examination aids in the detection of the early stages of tooth decay. Early detection is essential to maintain oral health, modify aberrant habits, and treat as needed and as simply as possible.
Additionally, parents are given a program of preventative home care (brushing/flossing/fluorides), information on finger, thumb, and pacifier habits, advice on preventing injuries to the mouth and teeth of children, diet counseling , and information on growth and development.
Regular application of fluoride in the form of varnish / gel can result in stronger teeth which are more resistant to decay. Fluoride application must be done biannually or twice a year.
Pit and fissure sealant
When the teeth are forming, they occasionally form deep grooves and pits on the biting surface. The deep grooves retain food during the process of biting which results into the formation of cavities in the tooth over a period of time. To prevent such retention and in turn the cavitation, these grooves are sealed using a sealant.
Improper brushing and oral hygiene maintenance can result in the accumulation of tartar and plaque on tooth surfaces. This further can cause tooth decay, gum problems and bad breath. Oral prophylaxis / scaling is a procedure which cleans the tartar and plaque off the teeth surfaces and restores the health of the teeth and gums.
Intervention of deleterious habits
Children showcase multiple habits like thumb/digit sucking, mouth breathing, night grinding, tongue thrusting and lip biting. These habits can have deleterious effects on the child’s teeth as well as jaws. Timely intervention to stop such habits can prevent such damage. The intervention includes both a psychological counselling approach as well as fixed appliance therapy to permanently break the habit.
When milk teeth are extracted early or shed off early due to reasons like severely decayed teeth, the space previously occupied has to be maintained in place till the successor (permanent) tooth erupts. Occasionally, this space has to be maintained for about 5-6 years using the space maintainer appliance. If such an appliance is not used, there may be problems like misaligned teeth, locking of the successor permanent teeth.
When the child’s front teeth are broken down due to multiple cavities, they can be restored back to their original form using the strip crowns. This procedure brings back the teeth to their natural and aesthetically pleasing form.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Milk teeth usually show the decay process on multiple surfaces or in the contact point between two teeth. In such cases fillings can fail. Hence, a durable and full coverage option like stainless steel crown is used. Such crowns/caps can be used for both front and back teeth.
Pulp therapy / Root Canal Treatment
It is a procedure in which the centrally located pulp (core of nerves and blood vessels) of the tooth is either partially or completely removed. This is followed by complete cleaning of the insides of the tooth. An Iodoform based material is then used for filling. Your child might need this when- a. he/she has tooth pain despite the presence or absence of stimulus b. pain in the night time c. a broken down tooth d. a tooth with a boil on the gums e. a tooth which is sensitive to temperature changes f. a swelling g. tooth with pus discharge.
Tooth colored Fillings
Glass Ionomer cement and composite material are used as tooth filling materials for milk teeth. These materials are used as they of the same color as that of the tooth. This property makes the filled teeth look more natural. They are more durable as they bond to the tooth directly and do not cause any discomfort to the child.