Dentistry for Children Most parents tend to focus on the permanent teeth rather than primary teeth (baby teeth) because they think that permanent teeth will stick with their children for the rest of their lives. Therefore, they overlook the importance of primary teeth. In fact, primary teeth are as important as permanent teeth; they function in chewing throughout a child’s early age allowing nutrient intakes. Chewing also stimulates the growth and development of jawbones and muscles. Primary teeth also help in a child’s speaking and pronunciation. More importantly, primary teeth function in preparing the space for aligned permanent teeth. Pedodontists will counsel, take care, and prevent oral health problems for children from birth until about 12 years old.
Teeth Cleaning Polishing and Fluoride Application
Pit and Fissure Sealant
Pulpotomy or Pulpectomy
Minor tooth movement
Parents should bring their children to the Pedodontist for the first time after the first baby tooth or no more than 18 months, especially young children in their first year. This is a period when children are still sucking milk quite often, if parents do not clean the children’s teeth properly, there is a high risk of tooth decay. The early stage of decay tends not to show symptoms until the decay spreads through the cavity. That is when the children will suffer from infection and toothache and treating usually requires local anesthesia with extraction. If the parents decide to keep the primary teeth, the Pedodontist will recommend pulp treatment which is costly. Either the tooth extraction or the pulp treatment can cause the child a bad attitude towards dentistry.
In the first visit to the dentist, children are gradually introduced to the dentist and dentistry until they feel comfortable and less afraid of the treatment. Adjusting the behavior for children to have a good attitude towards dentistry from the first visit is extremely important for the success and will promote even better cooperation in the next visits.
Fluoride is a substance that effectively protects and reduces tooth decay. It can reduce the formation of acid from microorganisms, slowing down the decay in the early stage. There is no clear definition of when a child should get their first fluoride coating. But, children younger than 3 years old tend to swallow the fluoride, so dentists usually recommend fluoride coating for kids 3 years and older.
Fluoride coating is where the dentist cleans the teeth and applies fluoride gel on trays that fit the kid’s mouth, inserts trays and lets them sit for 1-4 minutes. After the fluoride coating, the dentist will try to remove as much remaining fluoride as possible. After the treatment, parents should not allow the children to rinse their mouth, drink, or eat for 30 minutes to ensure the fluoride coats their teeth to the maximum. The fluoride coating should be repeated every six months.
Generally, the surface of occlusal of premolar and molar teeth are grooved, also known as pit and fissure. These may be difficult to clean, resulting in the potential tooth decay. Pit and fissure sealant is done by using resin material to coat along the pit and fissure so they become more shallow and easier to clean, thus preventing tooth decay. Dental sealants materials are usually clear or white in color, depending on the type of material. Typically, dentists most often apply dental sealants to the teeth of children from ages six to twelve.