Pediatric dentistry – what is it?
Dental care for children is in many respects crucial for maintaining healthy teeth for the rest of their life. The first visit of the child to the dentist should take place in the first year of the child’s life, so that he or she becomes familiar with the dental office and becomes trustworthy at the doctor. Regular control visits can prevent the development of caries and other diseases of the teeth and mouth, because they allow for rapid response in the event of the earliest changes. The doctor also provides advice and recommendations regarding hygiene, diet and the fight against harmful habits, which in the case of ignoring can cause not only caries or gum inflammation, but also orthodontic defects, often requiring many years of troublesome treatment.
Treatment of milk teeth is extremely important, because even though they are in the mouth for a short time, they affect their successors. Their significant destruction or premature removal results in abnormal eruption of permanent teeth, which we have already for the rest of our lives. Providing the child with professional care of a dentist from an early age causes that a small patient does not associate the office with pain and expensive treatments.
Pediatric dentistry – types of procedures
The most important treatment in pediatric dentistry is prevention – regular cleaning of teeth, application of fluoride preparations that strengthen the enamel and protect against caries, as well as sealing the fissures in the side teeth, where bacteria usually accumulate and cause deep cavities. In the case of the appearance of dental caries in primary or permanent teeth, the pediatric dentist performs typical conservative procedures (see conservative dentistry). When endodontic treatment is required in milk teeth, we usually use materials that undergo gradual resorption to fill the canals so that they do not interfere with the process of natural loss of these teeth.
Specific to children’s dental treatment is treating dental injuries which are very frequent during psychomotor development. While in the case of milk teeth, saving the tooth at all costs is not particularly important, for a permanent tooth the pediatric dentist is able to do much, including saving the tooth completely removed from the alveolus. Children’s development of the roots of teeth is not yet completed, which allows the use of natural regenerative abilities and “restoring the tooth to life”.
It is worth emphasizing that a child dentist is a “first contact dentist” for a small patient. Therefore, if necessary, it can perform a simple tooth extraction procedure (see: dental surgery) or treatment of periodontal disease (see: periodontology). Of course, every child dentist in our office is in constant contact with doctors of other specialties, thanks to which he can direct a particularly demanding patient to appropriate specialists.
Pediatric dentistry – the course of the procedure
In pediatric dentistry the first, so-called adaptive, visit is the most important. During it the doctor does not perform any procedures, but only tames the child with the dentist’s office, shows various tools used to watch the mouth, so as to reduce the fear of treatment to a minimum. At subsequent visits, depending on the child’s cooperation, preventive treatments are carried out. At the end of each visit, the child can count on a reward ?
If the treatment of caries or other changes in the teeth is required, the procedure is carried out under local anesthesia so that the little patient does not feel pain for a moment. For older children it is possible to put a rubber dam (see: conservative dentistry), which provides comfort for both the doctor and the child.
Pediatric dentistry – indications and contraindications
Visits to a pediatric dentist are indicated from an early age, regardless of whether the child complains about mouth problems or not, because early response and prevention of caries development is the basis of dental care. Of course, the treatment of all sudden conditions, such as toothache, injury or gum complaints, are also within the pediatric dentist’s responsibilities.
The children’s dentist deals with the basic dental treatment. However, in the case of children suffering from general diseases, developmental defects (eg cleft lip, palate) or genetic (eg premature loss of teeth as a result of their abnormal development), it is necessary to cooperate with specialists in many fields of dentistry (eg surgery, orthodontics, prosthetics). However, this is not a contraindication to visiting a children’s dentist. He is then the first-time doctor and he decides about consultations with other specialists in order to carry out professional, team-based treatment with them.
Pediatric dentistry – frequently asked questions
What to do when a child is afraid of a dentist?
The most important thing is not to set a child negatively before a dental visit. Times have changed and now the doctor will do everything to gain the trust of a small patient. Parents should confirm with their child the image of the children’s dentist as a first-contact doctor who only watches and cleans the teeth so that they are healthy. It is also worth giving your child a good example and taking care of oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly!
Do milk teeth need to be treated? They will fall out anyway ...
We definitely need to take care of the primary teeth because they play a huge role in the formation of permanent dentition. In the jaw bones of a child, just above the roots of the milk teeth, there are permanent tooth buds, so any damage to the milk tooth, both as a result of trauma and caries, can affect the future permanent tooth and cause erosion or abnormal build. Premature loss of deciduous teeth very often results in eruption of permanent teeth in inappropriate places, prematurely or too late, and gaps in dentition cause the teeth to move, resulting in crowding or more complicated orthodontic defects. Therefore maintaining healthy milk teeth can prevent the need for costly orthodontic treatment in the future.