Pediatric Dentistry is a dental specialty that concentrates its attention on infants and children providing preventive and therapeutic oral health care. During the “growth” phase of a child, special approaches are needed to guide the dental growth and development in order to avoid future dental problems.
A common question that parents ask is “why spend on the maintenance of milk teeth when they are to be finally replaced by the permanent ones?”
Milk teeth are as important as the permanent ones because Baby teeth are important in proper feeding and nutrition.
Milk teeth serve as space maintainers for the proper spacing and alignment of the permanent teeth.
Healthy milk teeth are crucial 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.
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
1. Clean your child’s teeth daily
2. Giving plain water after a bottle of juice, milk, or formula (or when awake, sip on it for long periods of time
as a pacifier)
3. Start bottle weaning by at least a year
4. Make sure your child gets the fluoride needed to prevent decay
5. Have regular dental visits for your child beginning when their first tooth erupts
We hope that you realize this and give your child the best means possible to achieve optimal dental health. 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 as described for the permanent tooth. Although the morphology of milk teeth makes the treatment difficult, it might still be considered as a better alternative to tooth extraction.
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.
Fluoride application: A child’s teeth are more prone to decay due to lack of proper dexterity of brushing. Application of fluoride varnishes 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.
For children under 3 years of age
The professional application of fluoride is particularly recommended because of the ease of application, patient acceptance and proven anti -decay benefits. For maximum benefits, reapplication should be made every 4 months.
Of the various home-use fluoride products( toothpastes, mouthwashes and gels) only fluoride toothpastes are recommended for young children, but caution must be exercised to minimize fluoride ingestion.