If you want to prevent dental problems in your child’s mouth, it’s advised to start seeing a dentist before he/she reaches age one, or as early as 6 months of age when the first teeth begin to erupt. Exams early on can help in detecting any signs of decay or abnormal growth in teeth or gums. Healthy teeth not only help with chewing food properly, but also improve the speaking ability of your child. A child with a great smile will also grow up healthy and confident.
When preventive treatment is done at an early stage, you can instill good dental habits in children and begin educating them on the importance of oral hygiene and dental care. Good dental care habits developed at this stage will go a long way and help them stay healthy all their lives.
There are several options available if your child has developed any teeth problems. The following are some common dental procedures:
Stainless Steel Crowns (SSCs): SSCs are used to restore back teeth that are too badly decayed to hold white fillings. These prefabricated silver-colored crowns are fixed in the mouths of babies to prevent further damage.
Tooth Colored Fillings: These are used when a patient wants to have teeth that still look natural even after they are filled. They are a preferred choice when cosmetic appearance matters. The color of the composite material is matched as much as possible to the color of the natural teeth.
X-Rays: The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children who are at a higher risk of dental decay should get X-ray examinations every 6 months; those with a lower risk require them less frequently. The use of digital radiography increases the chances of detecting underlying dental issues and fixing them early before they get serious.
Dental Cleaning: When you take your child for a dental cleaning, the dental hygienist will review your child’s medical history to bring the dentist up-to-date with any dental health concerns. Then your child’s mouth will be examined for overall oral health and your child’s teeth will be thoroughly cleaned to remove tartar and plaque which can cause cavities and gum disease. For a healthy child, a visit to the pediatric dentist at least every six months is necessary. More frequent visits may be required if your child is inclined to dental problems.
Pulp Treatment: This treatment is also known as Pulpotomy and treats infected nerves and blood vessels in teeth. This treatment is required when there’s extensive tooth decay or in cases of tooth injury. If this procedure is not done when needed, your child may experience severe pain, infection, swelling, or even loss of the problematic tooth.
Early Orthodontic Care: A good dentist can identify crowded or crooked teeth (a condition known as malocclusion) or bite problems and actively intervene to guide the teeth as they emerge in the mouth. Interceptive orthodontic treatment helps in preventing more extensive treatment later.
Extractions: Tooth Removal is done only as a last resort in cases of severe tooth decay or where a tooth has cracked all the way into the root. In the case of premature removal of primary molars, a space maintainer is fitted in place of the extracted tooth to hold the space for the permanent tooth. Some extractions are needed for orthodontic reasons to help facilitate tooth alignment when crowded teeth are present.
Other preventive procedures: The dentist will also use fluoride treatment, space maintainers, sealants and treat cavities on your child as the need arises.