What is Pediatric Dentistry?
Pediatric dentistry is a specialized branch that focuses on treating young children. It involves pediatric dentist who is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy to teen years. The pediatric dentist, also known as periodontists, are the team of the dentists who are dedicated to this field and must complete the additional education which is required to provide primary and comprehensive care to the children and the adolescents.
- Child dentistry includes the care of the child’s teeth gums and mouth through various stages of childhood.
- Children get their baby teeth by the first 6 months of their life and by 6-7 years they start losing the first set of teeth, which are eventually replaced by the secondary or the permanent teeth.
Due to various eating habits and lack of oral hygiene, a child faces oral decay or cavities which can cause lifetime pain and complications, which is taken care of in pediatric dentistry.
What Type Of Care Does Pediatric Dentistry Involve?
The dentist involved in pediatric dentistry provides comprehensive oral healthcare which includes:
- Infant oral health examination, which includes the assessment for caries in both the mother and the child
- Preventive dental care which includes cleaning of the teeth, fluoride treatments, and nutrition and diet recommendations
- Counselling on certain habits such as using a pacifier, thumb sucking, etc., as this can give rise to various oral diseases.
- Early assessment and treatment of any disease of the mouth such as straightening teeth, correcting an improper bite.
- Repairing tooth cavities and defect.
- Diagnosing the oral conditions associated with other diseases such as congenital heart defect, diabetes, hay fever, asthma, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
- Managing the gum diseases and other conditions such as ulcers, mucoceles, shot frenulae, and pediatric periodontal diseases.
- Treating dental injuries
How is a General Dentist Different From A Pediatric Dentist?
- After obtaining graduation from an accredited institution a general dentist is allowed to treat patients of any age.
- Pedodontists or the pediatric dentists are trained by a different set of standards to address the needs of the kids and teens, like fluoride treatments and dental sealants.
- They use their expertise to recommend the best products for the kids that help in removing plaque preventing decay.
When Should A Child First Visit A Dentist?
The child should visit a dentist by the age of one or 6 months of age when the first tooth erupts (1). A study conducted in early preventive dental visits showed a reduced restorative dental visits and related expenditures during the first years of life (2).
- It is very important to keep the primary teeth in place until they are lost naturally, as they are important to the child for many reasons.
- They help the child in chewing the food properly, which plays a role in providing proper nutrition and helping in, digestion.
- It helps in the development of speech
- Helps in saving space for permanent teeth
- Maintaining a healthy smile, which helps children feel good about themselves
Pedodontist suggests that it is very important to understand the importance of oral health and the first dental visit is important for parents as well as it helps them to learn on how to care for their children’s teeth.
How To Calm Down The Dental Jitters In Children?
A visit to the dentist is a thing which creates anxieties in adults, so how can a child get away with it easily. The whirring machine, sharp instruments and a dentist with an instrument in hand asking to keep the mouth wide open is actually a scenario to be anxious about.
- We can calm down our anxious mind, but this is how can a child be settled for a dental procedure.
- Explain the child about the procedure. Give him a slight preview of what will happen by taking him along, for your procedures. Make him see how your teeth are being examined and cleaned.
- Make them learn about dental health and dental visits by reading books and through online resources.
- Play with them, being a dentist and patient in turns. Examine each other’s teeth so that the child becomes familiar with the dentist examination.
- Take an appointment beforehand so that the child is not rushed to the clinic. He has plenty of time to prepare himself so that he feels comfortable and relaxed.
How To Keep A Child’s Teeth Healthy?
- Maintaining good oral hygiene is very important even in babies.
- Teach them to brush teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, and to floss regularly
- Fluoride strengthens the enamel. If the water is not fluoridated ask the dentist for fluoride supplements. But be careful as too much fluoride can discolor the teeth.
Avoid sugary foods, juices, and candies which can erode the enamel and cause cavities. If the child has a habit of eating too much sweet make sure that they wash their teeth after eating them to wash away the sugar from the teeth.
In pediatric dentistry, there is a wide range of approaches to help a child complete the needed dental treatment. Since every child is different a pediatric dentist makes a recommendation of the behavior guidance method based upon the healthy history, dental needs, parental preferences, and special health care to treat the ailment of the mouth.