Both adults and children need proper caring for their oral health. Most of the time, we make appointments with one dentist who takes care of the whole family. Little did we know that it makes a big difference if we know who to go to for our unique, individual needs depending on our condition and age.
Taking good care of children’s teeth are just as important as taking good care of our own as adults. You do not want your children to lose their teeth at a very early time or allow them to experience pain due to tooth decay, or more complicated diseases and infections. Healthy dental and oral habits should be taught to children so that it starts as soon as possible.
Someone who can definitely help you out with this would be your pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists are specifically trained to focus on the oral and dental health of children from infancy throughout adolescence. They have more knowledge in terms of providing treatment and taking good care of a child’s mouth, teeth and gums including the ones with special needs. Their specialization helps children avert oral problems that could possibly cause lifetime complications and diseases.
The following are the types of comprehensive treatments that pediatric dentists provide:
- Oral health exams for infants which include risk assessment for caries in mother and child
- Dental care that includes cleaning and fluoride treatments to prevent unnecessary oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum diseases
- Habit counseling e.g. pacifier use and thumb sucking
- Correcting an improper bite and early assessment and treatment for straightening crooked teeth
- Repair of defects and cavities
- Diagnosis of more complicated medical conditions through oral conditions including diabetes, heart problems, congenital heart defect, asthma, hay fever, etc.
- Treatment or management of gum diseases and conditions
- Treatment for dental injuries
The following are some of the most common dental problems among children that can be prevented by bringing them to pediatric dentists:
- Tooth Decay – tooth decay refers to the loss of minerals from tooth structure due to bacteria build up. There are certain food that leave deposits in the teeth and help in the bacteria build up, these are the carbohydrate rich food including candy, cookies, soft drinks, and fruit juices. The deposits combine with the bacteria and forms plaque which primarily starts the decay.
- Sensitivity – sensitivity refers to the pain or discomfort felt from consuming hot or cold food and beverages. This is due to the enamel wearing off, and recession of gums exposing the interior of the tooth and causing irritation of the nerve endings.
- Bad Breath – bad breath is caused by poor oral hygiene, gum problems and dry mouth. Although other conditions such as digestive problems, diabetes etc. may also be causing a person to have foul breath
- Grinding – grinding is an involuntary habit and considered to be a common developmental phase of childhood. Children while growing up are naturally eliminating this habit as they age. Grinding can cause muscular pain and may wear away permanent teeth.
- Thumb Sucking – thumb sucking is a natural habit especially for infants but this is not something you can just ignore. You need to be able to pay attention to your child’s habits that may be affecting their oral health. Although for many children, this is something they outgrow naturally, there are still some children who continue sucking beyond preschool years. This is the time to eliminate that habit to prevent further damage on their oral health.
- Gum Disease – Gingivitis or gum disease is caused by poor oral hygiene and is characterized by the inflammation of gum tissue. There are three types of gum or periodontal disease in children: Chronic Gingivitis, Aggressive Periodontitis and Generalized Aggressive Periodontitis. These are indicated by the following signs: Bleeding, Puffiness and Recession.
- Canker Sores – canker sores are normally small sores inside the mouth which lasts for about one or two weeks and often reoccur. This looks like a pimple with a white or grey base surrounded by a red border. Topical agents or antimicrobial mouthwashes usually help reduce the duration of canker sores.
- Orthodontic problems – orthodontic problems include crowded teeth or misaligned jaws and can either be inherited or acquired. These problems can be aided by going to the dentist or an orthodontist to be more specific.