Information for parents/ All you want to know

administrator

Your child’s first visit

By starting dental visits early, you'll help your child build a lifetime of good dental habits. In order to prevent dental problems, “your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears or no later than his/her first birthday.”


Further on, a dental check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist is the best person to tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.


Why milk teeth are important

Milk teeth are important for proper feeding and nutrition.

They serve as space maintainers for the proper spacing and alignment of the permanent teeth.

These have a crucial role in helping the baby learn how to speak properly.

Healthy looking teeth are important in building self-confidence at an early age. Small children because of immaturity are quick to tease peers about ugly looking or decayed teeth.


Healthy eating

Balanced diet should be encouraged in children with good number of servings of all sorts of food (i.e., cereals, pulses, milk, milk products, fruits and vegetables). Sugars in diet are highly responsible for causing tooth decay so they should be used intelligently and should be coupled with maintenance of proper oral hygiene.


Don't give your baby any sort of sweetened liquids such as flavored drinks or soda. Even the sugars present in fruit juice, formula, and milk (this goes for breast milk as well) can cause decay, so regular tooth and gum cleaning is vital. Also, make sure your baby never goes to bed with a bottle — sugary liquids in prolonged contact with teeth are a guarantee for early-childhood decay, also called baby-bottle caries.


Snacks should be given in moderation, no more that three or four times a day. Snacks should contribute to the overall nutrition and health of the child. Cheese, vegetables and yogurt are all nutritious snacks.


Good foods and snacks to eat for you and your teeth

Apples, oranges, pears, bananas, peaches, plums, watermelon, fruit cocktail, apricots, melons, grapes, radishes, , carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, eggs, asparagus, nuts, cottage cheese, cheese crackers, cheese wedges, cucumber slices, peanut butter, ice cream, popcorn, corn chips, water, whole wheat bread, french fries, meat-cheese slices, sugarless gum, sugarless candy.


Foods to avoid

Cakes, pie, syrup, non-sugarless gum, candy, juices, white bread, cookies, dried fruits (raisins,) marshmallows, sugar coated cereals, doughnuts, bubble gum, caramels, caramel popcorn, jelly or jam.


Children need to limit their snacks between meals. If they must eat between meals, be sure to choose items from the good list. Frequent snacking between meals is harmful to their teeth and gums, and will likely cause cavities.


Dental Decay/ Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

The term describes a dental condition which involves the rapid decay of many or all the baby teeth of an infant or child. The teeth most likely to be damaged are the upper front teeth since they are the first teeth to erupt and thus have the longest exposure time to the sugars in the feeding bottle.


Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is invariably caused by long exposure of a child’s teeth to liquid containing sugars generally when the baby falls asleep with a bottle containing milk or juice or a pacifier dipped in honey. The liquid pools around the front teeth. During sleep, the bacteria living in every baby’s mouth, turns the milk sugar or other sugars to acid which causes the decay.


By the time the condition is noticed by the parents it may be too late and extractions of the decayed teeth may be necessary. As a result, your child may suffer from long term disorders which include speech impediments, possible psychological damage, crooked or crowded teeth, and poor oral health.


The condition can be easily prevented by


• Cleaning your child’s teeth daily

• Giving plain water after a bottle of juice, milk, or formula

• Starting bottle weaning by at least a year

• Having regular dental visits for your child beginning when the first tooth erupts

If you happen to notice any discoloration or cavities in your child’s teeth, get it checked and treated immediately. Do not ignore it…

• Root canal treatment in milk teeth


In cases where tooth decay extends deep into the nerve portion of the tooth it might be necessary to perform a root canal treatment. Although the morphology of milk teeth makes the treatment difficult, it might still be considered as a better alternative to tooth extraction.


Root canal treatment is a simple procedure wherein instruments are used to clean the root canals of teeth followed by inserting a medication so as to maintain the teeth properly in the oral cavity.


• Space maintainers

A space maintainer is a removable or fixed appliance designed to maintain an existing space. Space maintainers are usually fitted in children when they have lost baby teeth early. The gap left from losing this tooth needs to be held open for the permanent tooth to erupt in the

correct position.


• Oral Habits

Frequently children acquire certain habits that may either temporarily or permanently be harmful to teeth and tooth supporting structures. These habits are acquired as a result of repetition. In the initial stages there is a conscious effort to perform the act. Later the act becomes less conscious and if repeated often enough may enter the realms of unconsciousness.

Some common oral habits seen in children include thumb sucking, mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, lip biting, grinding of teeth and nail biting.


• Treatment

Psychological approach: It is generally said that children lacking parental care, love and affection resort to these habits commonly. Thus the parents should provide the child with adequate love and affection. Also the child's attention should be diverted to other things as games and toys. The dentist and the parents should together work to motivate the child to discontinue the habit.


Mechanical Aids: They are basically reminding appliances that assist the child who is willing to quit the habit but is not able to do so as the habit has entered the subconscious level. They may be removable or fixed appliances.


Sports Guard

All sports activities have a risk of oral facial injuries due to balls, collisions, and contact with hard surfaces. To prevent your child from the ill effects of these injuries you can easily get a mouth guard made for him from your pediatric dentist. A custom made mouth guard is individually designed and constructed in the dental office or laboratory. A custom-made mouth guard fits well and does not interfere with speech or breathing.


Sedation

Sedation is used to modify a child’s behavior during dental treatment. Sedation may be indicated for children with high levels of anxiety, very young children with extreme dental treatment, and some patients with special needs. Various medications can be used to sedate a child. During the sedation, patient is carefully monitored the whole time.


Often, young children who are extremely fearful of dental treatment or don't have the ability to relax in a strange environment benefit from some form of sedative treatment. By using nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or an oral sedative, many times these children can cope with the necessary treatment thus preventing the need for treatment in the hospital under general anesthesia. These options are discussed with parents at the initial dental examination appointment.


Prevention

Fluoride application

A child’s teeth are more prone to decay due to lack of proper dexterity of brushing. Application of professional fluorides at regular intervals strengthens the tooth structure by incorporating fluoride ions into the structure making them more prone to acid dissolution. Not only do the permanent but also milk teeth benefit from fluoride treatment.


Sealants

The chewing surfaces of teeth are never flat. They have in fact certain depressions called Pit and Fissures which serve as potential traps for food and bacteria making the teeth susceptible for decay. Therefore as a preventive measure certain pits and fissure sealants are placed.


Dental sealant is a plastic resin that bonds to the deep grooves in your tooth's chewing surface. When sealing a tooth, the grooves of your teeth are filled and the tooth surface becomes smoother — and less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, tooth brushing becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay. Sealants should be applied to the permanent teeth as they erupt to prevent cavities.