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Scope of Child Dentistry
Children and teenagers are the demographics that are the most prone to receive and internalize information. So the first pillar of prevention is to inform them about dental health, beginning with the benefits of oral hygiene. One of the roles of pedodontists is to encourage the parents to instill good habits in their children. Daily toothbrushing is one among others. Pedodontists can also do their best to act as friendly figures and help children reduce their fear of dental visits.
Cavity Risk Assessment and Treatment
Genetic and/or environmental factors may render some children more likely to get cavities. Pedodontists can design personalized long-term preventive programs to reduce such probabilities. In case the decay has already begun (e.g., baby bottle tooth decay, early childhood caries), appropriate devices like fillings and crowns can be applied. Stainless steel is one of the safe materials to be used in children.
Advanced deteriorations and over-retained teeth (that is, those obstructing the eruption of permanent teeth) may require extraction.
As a protective mineral, fluoride is often a good supplement in junior dental care. It is known for its strengthening effect on enamel. Fluoride is topically applied to the child’s teeth in order to prevent plaque formation and decay.
Dental Brace Treatment
Dental braces can be prescribed to children (especially teenagers) to correct malocclusion issues. Depending on the patient’s profile and age, as well as the extent of the irregularities, different types of braces will be indicated. Metal, lingual, self-ligating, and clear aligners (e.g., Invisalign) are among the most common models. The objective is to restore the proper functioning of the teeth and jaw while also ensuring aesthetic looks.
Deciduous or baby teeth are more fragile than permanent adult teeth. Plus, children do not always succeed at brushing and taking care of their teeth effectively. Those factors increase the risk of deterioration and thus of getting cavities. A dental sealant is basically a liquid substance (either white or transparent) that is applied onto the threatened areas of the teeth. More specifically, it is used to cover and seal the fissured chewing surfaces of premolars and molars. It offers long-term protection. This treatment is suitable for ages 6 and older.
Space maintainers are special devices placed on areas affected by tooth loss. The child may have lost one or several teeth after an injury, disease, or extraction. It is important to keep the related space open in order to avoid any further complications. For instance, this will prevent gum sensitivity and possible misalignments. Different kinds of maintainers are available (transpalatal arch, lingual, distal shoe, band and loop, etc.). The choice will be made according to the patient’s needs. If there is a considerable number of missing teeth, maintainers can be completed with artificial teeth to maintain proper mastication.
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FAQs about Pedodontics
What is meant exactly by baby bottle tooth decay?
This kind of decay occurs in toddlers and is mainly due to excessive exposure to sugar.
Along with breast milk (naturally rich in sugar), the root of the problem lies in some unadapted parental habits.
Letting the baby sleep with a bottle, using the bottle as a comforting tool/pacifier, giving too many sweetened beverages are typical examples.
As a consequence, bacteria start developing inside the mouth and turn into acid that attacks the enamel.
How can I prevent it?
Limit your child’s sugar intake. Keep the gums clean by regularly wiping them with a soft washcloth.
Most importantly, start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first one appears.
What is the best toothbrush for children?
Regardless of the brand, brushes with soft nylon bristles are a good option. They should be replaced every 3 to 6 months.
Toothpaste is not recommended for children under 3 years old. Parents ought to choose toothpastes specially designed for children in order to avoid disturbances due to swallowing.