Paediatric dental procedures refer to dental care of children from birth to adolescence. It is special branch of dentistry that requires the dentists to go for further two years training after completing their general dentistry.
Child psychology is part of their training course, and paediatric dental practitioners take care in removing fear of dental treatment and create a friendly atmosphere for children when they are in dental clinic. They avoid fearful use of words and build up a positive attitude towards dental health.
What are the specific paediatric procedures?
The following are some common paediatric procedures that are routinely carried out across dental clinics.
Overseeing overall dental health
Among the many functions regarding the oral care, the dentist starts with the maintaining deciduous teeth and taking care that they are well looked after because they will make way for the permanent teeth and are instrumental in speech and better chewing habits. They also hold space for permanent teeth and it is the job of paediatric dentist to see that they do not hamper permanent teeth when they erupt.
Prevention of dental problems by educating children
Paediatric dentists educate the children about good oral care habits and what happens if proper dental care routine is not followed. Modern technology is put to use by paediatric dentists in educating children with the help of computers, and smart screens. They use easy to understand terms in explaining the importance of good brushing and oral care habits. They avoid clinical jargon about results of poor dental care. Instead they emphasise positive side of good oral health.
Prevention of dental problems by educating parents
Paediatric dentists educate parents about pitfalls of feeding children, thumb sucking, using sippers and pacifiers, and their effect on later eruption of permanent teeth.
Parents are also advised on how to inculcate sound eating habits so that sugar related issues can be avoided. They are also told about the importance of presenting a good model for the children to copy.
Monitoring and Intervention
Paediatric dentist follows up the growth and development of teeth, the dentist can anticipate any anomaly in eruption of deciduous and permanent teeth. Tackling the issues at the correct time, the dentist stops issues from worsening. For example, in the case of malocclusion or bruxism, space maintainers are fitted, and mouth guard are advised to prevent further damage.
How to help your child through paediatric dental procedures
Dental care starts for the baby as soon as she is a few months old. The dental care should begin even before the first tooth erupts.
Oral care starts with building good eating and feeding habits by parents. When the child becomes older, she can then take responsibility to keep her mouth clean.
Here is how to help your child through dental care and paediatric dental procedures. It helps if you are aware of the common procedures that happen so you can provide support for your child.
Cleaning of teeth and mouth
Wipe the inside of the mouth of the baby after feeding him milk or juice before tucking him in for the night. The sugar in the milk and juices stays in the mouth during the whole night and bacteria in the mouth work on sugar which produces acid as a by-product, that can corrode the baby’s teeth.
Start taking the child to the dentist when he is a few months old, so that he becomes familiar with the dentists’ chair. He needs to have friendly relations with the dentist. Children also have dental problems like adults, but treating children is different than treating adults. If the rapport is built early on, it will be very useful when real treatment will be required.
For thumb sucking children it is best to speak about to your paediatrician dentist, who will show you ways and give devices which makes thumb sucking very difficult for the child, and he will get rid of the habit eventually. The paediatrician will also help the baby in weaning from pacifiers.
After full set of teeth have appeared, it is advisable to get the teeth cleaned so that plaque and disease-causing bacteria can be removed. It is also a good training for the children to get their teeth cleaned at regular intervals. The dentist will clean and floss the teeth which help in detecting any other dental issues which can be dealt with early on.
Removal of tooth
Removal of tooth in children happens when baby teeth should have fallen out but gets embedded in the jaw and does not fall off, making the passage of permanent tooth difficult. It is usually done with the help of forceps.
Because of food habits where children are allowed to consume too much candy, sweetened juices and drinks etc., dental caries can occur. The caries must be cleaned and filled with dental fillings.
For children two types of fillings are used – white composites and metal. For children metal fillings are preferred because they are cost effective and time effective. Drilling and cleaning of the cavity is done in the office with local anaesthesia, after befriending the child.
The milk teeth are equally important before the permanent teeth erupt. Early visits to the dentist will allow the paediatric dentist to gauge the space for new teeth to appear. Sometimes temporary teeth have not fallen before new teeth appear then the new teeth will erupt in a disorder line. They will be crowded and uneven. To stop this from happening the dentist will see the position and either remove the temporary tooth or put a spacer in the palace of erupting tooth to keep the space safe from other teeth moving in its place.
The overall health of children is affected by oral health, hence parents must introduce oral health habits to children as soon as possible. If dental treatment is required, seek assistance immediately and provide positive support to you child through the treatment period.