Pediatric dentistry specializes in/takes care of the oral health of infant, children and adolescent. This dentistry also treats children with special needs, who are physically and mentally challenged. Pediatric dentistry involves the additional study of 3 years (i.e. after 4 years of dental training). This branch of dentistry studies child growth, psychology and development. Such dentists take care of a wide variety of dental problems of children e.g. cavity, tooth decay, malocclusion, emergency care, crooked teeth etc.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the child should be brought to the dentist when he turns 1 year old. By that time the first teeth come and the dentist can discuss ways of keeping oral hygiene. A dentist can guide the parents about diet, tooth eruption, finger habits, fluoride etc.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the child should be brought twice a year to the dental clinic. The visits may vary if the child has tooth decay, bad oral hygiene, and unusual teeth growth.
Baby teeth are not permanent but they are very important. They help the child to chew food, smile properly and speak clearly. Baby teeth hold the space for permanent teeth. If child loses teeth at an early age because of decay/ damage the nearby teeth can encroach that free space which can result in misplaced/crooked permanent teeth.
Once the child develops a few teeth, toothpaste can be used. Toothpaste with fluoride is not recommended for children below 2 years because children have a habit of swallowing paste and taking in excess of fluoride can cause staining of teeth. Parents should brush the teeth of their children until the time they do that independently. Children should rinse their mouth thou rally after brushing.
There are bacteria present in the mouth when they come in contact with sweet food left in the mouth, they form acids. These acids attack the enamel and create a hole in the teeth which results in severe pain. Children eat sweets, chocolates and do not clean their teeth properly which results in cavity formation.
Sealants are the best way to avoid cavities. They cover the fissures and pits in the teeth. Sealants are susceptible to decays and are very difficult to brush off. Sealants are very effective and safe for children teeth, especially molars.
The child should stop sucking thumb before the eruption of permanent teeth. If this habit continues there will be problems such as buckteeth/open bite.
Keeping good oral hygiene is a family effort. The children should know the importance of brushing (twice a day) and floss daily. Moreover, regular dental checkups are also necessary for good oral health.