Q: What is Pediatric dentistry?
A: In simple terms it is that branch of dentistry which handles ALL the dental needs of children from birth till adolescence.
Q: Why Pediatric dentistry?
A: The need for a separate speciality dealing exclusively with children arose as it was understood that children are not miniature adults but are unique individuals with unique dental requirements.
Q: Why should I take my child to a pediatric dentist?
A: A pediatric dentist has undergone rigorous postgraduate training in handling children which includes amongst other things understanding child behaviour, mastering various techniques of behaviour management and also learning the subtle nuances which set children apart from adults in their dental needs. Usually pediatric dentists limit their practices to pediatric age group and thereby gain enormous hands on experience in treating children of all age groups.
Q: Why do milk teeth need to be treated when they are going to shed anyways?
A: This is one of the most widespread myths surrounding children’s oral health needs. Many of the milk teeth last till the age of 11-13 years and in case they are left untreated or extracted may cause one or more of the following:
General discomfort and pain sometimes leading to swelling and fever
Inability to chew properly leading to poor dietary habits as the child will prefer soft diet (and kids being kids most of the times this soft diet is sweet which adds to the problem)
Sub optimal nutrition leading to poor overall growth including cognition.
May sometimes affect the developing permanent tooth underneath (the permanent tooth may be discoloured, deformed etc.)
Poor esthetics leading to compromised social interaction and low self-esteem
Difficulty in speech in some cases
Q: When should a child be brought for the first dental check-up? How soon can one begin cleaning a child’s teeth?
A: The first dental examination of a child needs to be preferably done when the first tooth arrives in the mouth and no later than the first birthday. The cleaning of mouth must begin even before the teeth start appearing in the mouth. It helps to keep the gums clean and inculcates a habit in the infant to have a hygienic oral cavity as it is very difficult sometimes to get an older child to start cleaning her teeth or to even allow the parent to do so. This can be achieved by a clean soft wet cloth or cotton. A child should be encouraged to hold the brush and start brushing as early as possible. However parents need to supervise such brushing till the time the child has acquired the dexterity to do a good job of cleaning all the nooks and corners in the mouth. Generally a child will start brushing well by the age of 7-8 years.
Q: Do small children have dental cavities too?
A: Milk teeth can get badly decayed due to Early Childhood Caries (ECC), also known as nursing bottle caries, baby bottle tooth decay etc. This is most commonly thought to be due to at will nursing/feeding of the milk to the child at night. This condition can turn serious as it can involve almost all the milk teeth very quicklyl leading to multiple cavities/swellings/abscesses etc.
Q: How common are cavities?
A: Dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the world!
Q: Is it possible to prevent dental cavities?
A: Well the answer is an emphatic YES! The good news is that not only can we prevent dental decay we can even bring an affected tooth back to good health in most cases.
Q: How do we treat very young children?
A: Usually uncooperative young children are treated under sedation in the hospital OT.
Q: What about special children?
A: Pediatric denists are trained to treat special children both with or without sedation. At Max such procedures are undertaken routinely.
Q: What are the most common procedures undertaken in children?
A: The most common procedures are:
Root canal therapy
Preventive protocols for cavity prevention
Dental counselling and motivation to maintain oral health
Treatment of special children under sedation
Routine dental check ups every six months are recommended.
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