The pediatric dentist has an extra two to three years of specialized training after dental school. Pediatric dentists specialize in the oral health of children from birth to adolescence. They have the training and knowledge to look after a child’s teeth, gums, and mouth at all stages of development.
Maintaining the health of the primary teeth is critical. Cavities that go untreated can cause issues with forming permanent teeth. Primary teeth, often known as baby teeth, are important for
(1) proper chewing and eating,
(2) giving space for permanent teeth and guiding them into the proper position,
(3) allowing normal jawbone and muscle growth. Primary teeth also affect speech development and contribute to an appealing look. The front four teeth last till 6-7 years of age, but the back teeth (cuspids and molars) are not replaced until 10-13 years of age.
Teeth begin to form before a child is born. The lower central incisors are the first primary (or baby) teeth to erupt through the gums at the age of 4 months, followed by the upper central incisors. Although all 20 primary teeth are normally present by the age of 3, the rate and sequence in which they erupt vary.
Around the age of 6, the first molars and lower central incisors appear, followed by the second molars and third molars. This process lasts until a person reaches the age of 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth, or 32 if the third molars are included (or wisdom teeth).
Toothache: Clean the affected tooth’s area. To dislodge any impacted food, rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm water or use dental floss. Contact your child’s dentist if the pain persists. Avoid using aspirin or applying heat to the gums or the painful teeth. If your face is puffy, try cold compresses and make an appointment with your dentist ASAP. If you have a cut or bitten tongue, lip, or cheek, apply ice to the affected area to reduce swelling. If bleeding occurs, use a gauze or cloth to provide firm but gentle pressure. Call a doctor or go to the hospital emergency room if bleeding cannot be controlled by simple pressure.
Knocked out permanent tooth: Find the tooth if at all possible. Handle it by the crown, not by the root. You may only use water to rinse the tooth. DO NOT clean the tooth with soap, scrub it, or handle it excessively. Examine the tooth for any breaks. If it’s still good, try reinstalling it in the socket. Allow the patient to bite on gauze to keep the tooth in place. If you can’t put the tooth back in, transport it in a cup with the patient’s saliva or milk. The tooth may also be carried in the patient’s mouth if the patient is old enough (beside the cheek). The patient has to see a dentist right away! In order to save the tooth, you must act quickly.
Knocked Out Baby Tooth: During business hours, contact your pediatric dentist about a knocked-out baby tooth. This isn’t normally a life-threatening situation, and in most situations, no treatment is required.
Chipped or Fractured Permanent Tooth: If you have a chipped or fractured apermanent tooth, see your pediatric dentist right away. Early treatment can save the tooth, avoid infection, and reduce the need for significant dental treatment. To minimize swelling, rinse the mouth with water and apply cold compresses. Locate and conserve any shattered tooth fragments if possible, bring them to the dentist with you.
Chipped or Fractured Baby Tooth: Contact your pediatric dentist.
Severe Head Injury: Take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room Immediately.
Possible Broken or Fractured Jaw: If your child’s jaw is broken or fractured, keep it from moving and take him or her to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Cavities aren’t the only thing that radiographs can detect. To evaluate erupting teeth, detect bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury, or arrange orthodontic treatment, radiographs may be required. Dentists can use radiographs to diagnose and treat health problems that aren’t visible during a clinical examination. Dental treatment is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you if dental problems are detected and treated early.
For children with a high risk of tooth decay, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends radiographs and examinations every 6 months. The majority of pediatric dentists seek radiographs once a year on average. A complete series of radiographs, either a panoramic and bitewings or periapicals with bitewings, should be done every 3 years.
Pediatric dentists are especially cautious about exposing their patients to radiation. The amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is quite low thanks to modern protections. The danger is insignificant. Dental radiographs, in reality, pose a significantly lower danger than an undiagnosed and untreated dental issue. Your child will be protected with lead body aprons and shields. Today’s technology eliminates superfluous x-rays and confines the x-ray beam to the area of interest. Your child will be exposed to the least amount of radiation possible thanks to high-speed film and suitable protection.
Brushing your teeth is one of the most crucial aspects of maintaining good oral health. However, many toothpastes and/or tooth polishes can harm young smiles. They contain abrasives that can wear away at the enamel of young teeth. When choosing a toothpaste for your child, seek for one that has the American Dental Association’s seal of approval on the box and tube. These toothpastes have been thoroughly tested to ensure their safety.
To avoid getting too much fluoride, children should spit out toothpaste after brushing. Fluorosis is a condition that occurs when too much fluoride is consumed. If your child is too young or unable to spit up toothpaste, consider using a fluoride-free toothpaste, not using toothpaste at all, or using only a “pea size” amount.
Parents are often concerned about their children grinding their teeth at night (bruxism). The noise made by the child grinding their teeth while sleeping is often the first sign. Alternatively, the parent may detect dentition wear (teeth becoming shorter). A psychological component is one theory for the cause. Stress from a new location, divorce, school changes, and other factors might cause a child to grind their teeth. Another notion revolves around nighttime pressure in the inner ear. When pressure varies (like in an airplane during take-off and landing, or when individuals chew gum to equalize pressure, for example), the child will grind to relieve the pressure by moving his jaw.
The majority of pediatric bruxism cases do not require treatment. If there is excessive tooth wear (attrition), a mouth guard (night guard) may be recommended. The disadvantages of a mouth guard include the risk of choking if the appliance becomes dislodged during sleep and the chance of jaw growth interference. The benefit of preventing wear to the primary dentition is evident.
The good news is that most children grow out of bruxism. Between the ages of 6 and 9, children’s grinding decreases, and between the ages of 9 and 12, children’s grinding stops. Contact your pediatrician or pediatric dentist if you feel your child is suffering from bruxism.
Sucking is a natural reflex that newborns and young children exercise by sucking on their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers, and other items. It might make them feel safe and cheerful, or it might provide them a sense of security during terrible times. Thumb sucking is a calming activity that may help them fall asleep.
Thumb sucking that continues after the permanent teeth have erupted might cause difficulties with mouth growth and dental alignment. The amount of time a toddler sucks on his or her fingers or thumbs will decide whether or not he or she develops dental problems. Children who passively lay their thumbs in their lips have less difficulties than those who suck their thumbs vigorously.
When a child’s permanent front teeth are ready to erupt, he or she should stop sucking their thumbs. Between the ages of 2 and 4, children usually quit. Many school-aged children stop because of peer pressure.
Thumb sucking is not an alternative for pacifiers. They have the same effect on the teeth as sucking fingers and thumbs. The usage of a pacifier, on the other hand, is easier to manage and modify than the thumb or finger habit. Consult with your pediatric dentist if you have any concerns about thumb sucking or the use of a pacifier.
Here are some tips to assist your child stop sucking his or her thumb:
- When children are anxious, they frequently suck their thumbs. Instead of focusing on the thumb sucking, address the underlying cause of anxiety.
- When their parents give comfort, children who are sucking their thumb for comfort will feel less of a need.
- Reward children for not sucking their thumb at times of stress, such as when they are away from their parents.
- Your child’s pediatric dentist can encourage them to stop sucking their thumb and explain what could happen if they do not.
- If these methods don’t work, try bandaging the thumb or putting a sock on the hand at night to remind the kids of their habit. A mouth appliance may be recommended by your child’s pediatric dentist.
The pulp of a tooth is the tooth’s inner, central core. Nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue, and reparative cells are all found in the pulp. The goal of pulp therapy in pediatric dentistry is to keep the damaged tooth healthy (so the tooth is not lost).
The most common causes of pulp treatment are dental caries (cavities) and traumatic injuries. Pulp therapy is also known as “nerve therapy,” “children’s root canal,” “pulpectomy,” and “pulpotomy.” Pulpotomy and pulpectomy are the two most common types of pulp treatment in children’s teeth.
A pulpotomy is a procedure that removes damaged pulp tissue from the tooth’s crown. Then, to prevent bacterial growth and soothe the residual nerve tissue, an agent is applied. After that, there will be a final restoration (usually a stainless-steel crown).
When the entire pulp is involved (into the root canal(s) of the tooth), a pulpectomy is required. The damaged pulp tissue in both the crown and root is removed completely during this procedure. The canals are cleaned, sanitized, and filled with a resorbable material in the case of primary teeth. The final restoration is then applied. A non-resorbable material would be used to fill a permanent tooth.
As early as 2-3 years of age, developing malocclusions, or bad bites, can be detected. Early treatment can often reduce the need for significant orthodontic treatment later in life.
Stage I – Early Treatment: This stage of treatment lasts from the age of 2 – 6 years. We are concerned about underdeveloped dental arches, the premature loss of primary teeth, and hazardous habits like finger or thumb sucking at this young age. Treatment started at this period of development is often very successful, and it can often, but not always, eliminate the need for future orthodontic/orthopedic treatment.
Stage II – Mixed Dentition: This stage lasts from 6 to 12 years, and it starts with the eruption of permanent incisor (front) teeth and 6-year molars. Jaw misalignment and dental realignment are two of the most common treatment concerns. When treatment is necessary, this is an excellent time to start because your child’s hard and soft tissues are usually particularly receptive to orthodontic or orthopedic forces.
Stage III – Adolescent Dentition: During this stage, permanent teeth are formed, along with the final bite relationship
This is a relatively common occurrence in children, and it’s usually caused by a lower primary (baby) tooth that doesn’t fall out as the permanent tooth emerges. When a child begins to wiggle his or her baby tooth, it will normally fall out on its own within two months. If it doesn’t, contact your pediatric dentist, who will be able to extract the tooth quickly. The permanent tooth should thereafter be able to move into its normal position.
Early Infant Oral Care
All pregnant women should obtain oral healthcare and counseling during their pregnancy, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). Periodontal disease has been linked to an increased risk of preterm birth and low birth weight, according to research. Consult your doctor or dentist for advice on how to avoid periodontal disease while pregnant.
Furthermore, women with poor dental health may put their young children at risk of contracting the bacteria that causes cavities. To reduce the risk of spreading cavity-causing germs, mothers should take the following easy steps:
- See your dentist on a regular basis.
- Floss and brush your teeth daily to reduce bacterial plaque.
- Proper diet, with a reduction in sugary and starchy beverages and meals.
- To minimize plaque levels, brush with a fluoridated toothpaste suggested by the American Dental Association (ADA) and rinse with an alcohol-free, over-the-counter mouth rinse containing.05 % sodium fluoride every night.
- Do not share utensils, drinks, or food with your children, as this can spread cavity-causing bacteria.
- A child’s caries rate can be reduced by using xylitol chewing gum (4 pieces per day by the mother).
By the age of one year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) all recommend that your child have a “Dental Home.” Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive preventative and routine dental treatment.
The Dental Home is meant to give parents with an alternative to the Emergency Room.
You have the ability to make your first dental appointment enjoyable and positive. If your child is old enough, you should tell him or her about the appointment and explain that the dentist and staff will explain everything and answer any questions. The less you have to do in preparation for the visit, the better.
It’s better if you avoid using phrases like needle, tug, drill, or harm around your child because they can induce unwarranted worry. Pediatric dentists make the effort to use terms that convey the same message but are pleasant and non-frightening to children.
Teething, or the process of a newborn’s (primary) teeth emerging from the gums and into the mouth, differs from one baby to the next. Some babies get their first teeth early, while others get them later. The first baby teeth to erupt are normally the lower front (anterior) teeth, which usually happen between the ages of 6 and 8 months.
For further information, see “Eruption of Your Child’s Teeth”
Baby bottle tooth decay is a serious kind of decay in young children. This problem is caused by an infant’s teeth being exposed to sugary beverages on a regular and long basis. Milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice, and other sweetened beverages are among these liquids.
Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle that isn’t water can result in serious tooth decay. Plaque bacteria have an opportunity to create acids that destroy tooth enamel when sweet liquid pools around the child’s teeth. If you must offer the infant a bottle as a bedtime comforter, be sure it is only water. If your child won’t sleep without the bottle and his or her usual beverage, gradually dilute the contents of the bottle with water over two to three weeks.
To remove plaque, clean the baby’s gums and teeth with a moist towel or gauze pad after each meal. Sitting down, placing the child’s head in your lap, or laying the child on a dressing table or the floor is the best way to do this. Make sure you can easily look into the child’s mouth from whatever position you choose.
Good Diet = Healthy teeth
Healthy teeth are the result of healthy eating habits. The teeth, bones, and soft tissues of the mouth, like the rest of the body, require a well-balanced diet. Children should eat a wide variety of meals from each of the five major food groups. The majority of snacks consumed by children can result in the growth of cavities. The more a child snacks, the more likely he or she is to develop tooth decay. The length of time food stays in the mouth is also important. Hard candy and breath mints, for example, linger in the mouth for a long period, causing acid attacks on tooth enamel to last longer. If your child needs to snack, consider healthy foods like veggies, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese, which are better for their teeth.
Bacteria and leftover food particles combine to form cavities, which are removed by good dental hygiene. Wipe plaque from teeth and gums with a damp gauze or clean washcloth for newborns. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water. For further information, see “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.”
It is recommended that older children brush their teeth twice a day. Also, keep an eye on the number of sugary snacks you provide your kids. Routine visits will help your child develop good dental habits for the rest of his or her life.
Fluoride is a substance that has been demonstrated to be good for teeth. Too little or too much fluoride, on the other hand, can be harmful to the teeth. Fluoride in small amounts or none at all will not strengthen the teeth and help them resist cavities. Preschool-aged children who consume too much fluoride can develop dental fluorosis, which is a chalky white to even brown discoloration of the permanent teeth. Many children are exposed to higher levels of fluoride than their parents are aware of. Parents can help their children avoid dental fluorosis by being aware of their child’s potential sources of fluoride.
The following are some of these resources:
- Too much fluoride toothpaste at an early age.
- Fluoride supplements are being used incorrectly.
- Fluoride can be found in unexpected places in a child’s diet.
When cleaning their teeth, two- and three-year-old’s may not be able to expectorate (spit out) fluoride-containing toothpaste. As a result, these children may consume an excessive amount of fluoride while brushing their teeth. Ingestion of toothpaste during this key stage of permanent tooth growth is the most significant risk factor for fluorosis.
Fluorosis can also be caused by an excessive or incorrect intake of fluoride supplements. Infants under the age of six months should not be given fluoride drops or tablets, as well as fluoride enhanced vitamins. Fluoride supplements should only be provided to children after all other sources of ingested fluoride have been eliminated, and only if your doctor or pediatric dentist recommends it.
Powdered concentrate newborn formula, soy-based infant formula, infant dry cereals, creamed spinach, and infant chicken items all contain high quantities of fluoride. Please read the label or contact the manufacturer if you have any questions. Some beverages, particularly decaffeinated teas, white grape juices, and juice drinks made in fluoridated cities, contain high quantities of fluoride.
To reduce the risk of fluorosis in their children’s teeth, parents can take the following steps:
- Baby tooth cleanser should be used on a child’s toothbrush.
- When brushing, use only a pea-sized drop of children’s toothpaste on the brush.
- Before asking your child’s doctor or pediatric dentist for fluoride supplements, make a list of all the sources of ingested fluoride.
- Infants should not be given fluoride-containing supplements until they are at least 6 months old.
- Before giving your child fluoride supplements, get the results of a fluoride level test for your drinking water (check with local water utilities).
Injuries can arise when a child begins to participate in recreational activities and organized sports. A correctly fitted mouth guard, also known as a mouth protector, is a crucial piece of sporting equipment that can help safeguard your child’s smile during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth.
Mouth guards prevent the lips, tongue, cheek, and jaw from broken teeth and other injuries. When your child wears a properly fitted mouth guard, it will stay in place, making it easier for them to talk and breathe.
Consult with your child’s dentist about custom and store-bought mouth guards.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes xylitol’s benefits for the dental health of newborns, children, adolescents, and those with specific health-care needs.
The use of XYLITOL GUM by mothers (2-3 times per day) beginning three months after delivery and continuing until the kid is two years old has been shown to minimize cavities by up to 70% by the age of five.
Studies have shown a significant reduction in new tooth decay and some reversal of existing dental caries when xylitol is used as a sugar substitute or a minor dietary increase. Xylitol adds to the protection provided by all other methods of prevention. This xylitol impact lasts a long time and may be permanent. Even years after the trials have ended, low degradation rates persist.
Small amounts of xylitol can be found all over the place in nature. Fruits, berries, mushrooms, greens, hardwoods, and corn cobs are some of the finest sources. The amount of xylitol in a cup of raspberries is less than one gram.
According to studies, the amount of xylitol that consistently delivers beneficial outcomes is between 4 and 20 grams per day, divided between 3 to 7 consumption intervals. Higher results did not result in a higher reduction, and they may instead worsen the situation. Similarly, frequency of use of fewer than 3 times per day had no effect.
Visit your local health food store or browse the Internet for items that contain % xylitol to find xylitol gum or other products.
Sports drinks have erosive potential and the ability to dissolve even fluoride-rich enamel, which can lead to cavities, due to their high sugar content and acids.
Children should avoid sports beverages and hydrate with water before, during, and after sports to avoid oral problems. Before consuming sports drinks, see your child’s dentist.
If you drink sports drinks, you should:
Reduce the frequency and duration of contact by swallowing them promptly and without swishing them about the mouth.
Neutralize the effect of sports drinks by alternating sips of water with the drink. Rinse mouth guards only in water.
Although seeing people with pierced tongues, lips, or cheeks is no longer surprising, you may be shocked to learn how harmful these piercings may be.
Chipped or fractured teeth, blood clots, blood poisoning, heart infections, brain abscess, nerve abnormalities (trigeminal neuralgia), receding gums, or scar tissue are all hazards associated with oral piercings. Infection is a typical complication of oral piercing since your mouth contains millions of bacteria. Your tongue could swell to the point where it blocks your airway!
Pain, edema, infection, increased saliva production, and gum tissue injuries are all common post-piercing symptoms. If a blood vessel or nerve bundle is in the needle’s path, it might cause difficult-to-control bleeding or nerve injury.
So, take the American Dental Association’s advice and give your mouth a break by avoiding mouth jewelry.
Tobacco, in any form, can put your child’s health in jeopardy and cause irreversible harm. Teach your child about tobacco’s risks.
Teens who think spit, chew, or snuff is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes often use smokeless tobacco. This is a common misunderstanding. According to studies, spit tobacco is more addictive than cigarettes and is more difficult to quit. Teens who use it should be aware that one can of snuff has the same amount of nicotine as 60 cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco usage can cause periodontal disease and pre-cancerous lesions called leukoplakia’s in as little as three to four months.