Pediatric dentistry is a branch of dental science in which the dentist specializes in dealing with infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatric dentists are trained to treat and examine the oral health of children from their infancy to their teenage years. They are qualified and trained to make toddlers, children, and teens feel absolutely comfortable during the treatment procedures.
An infant begins to experience the growth of their milk teeth during the first six months after birth. By the age of six to seven, children start losing their first set of teeth, which eventually get replaced by permanent teeth. However, without proper oral care, children are likely to develop tooth decay and cavities which can cause a lifetime of complications. A disease called the early childhood dental caries has become more common than ever in recent times and it is necessary to safeguard children from this infectious condition.
Treatments offered under Pediatric Dentistry
A pediatric dentist offers the following services and treatments:
- Oral examinations for infants, which includes a risk analysis for dental caries in mother and the child.
- Educating the parents about the advantages of maintaining proper oral health.
- Educating parents on the importance of diet and nutrition and how it impacts oral health.
- Preventive pediatric dental care which includes the thorough cleaning of teeth and fluoride treatment.
- Counseling for habits children pick up, like pacifier use and thumb sucking.
- Identification of misaligned or crooked teeth and providing them with orthodontic care.
- Treating tooth decay and cavities.
- Early diagnosis of conditions that are associated with other health complications namely diabetes, asthma, congenital heart disease, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and hay fever.
- Treating gum diseases and other periodontal infections.
- Providing treatment for dental injuries like fractures and lost or displaced teeth.
Cavity treatment for kids
Toddlers love sugary foods and are prone to develop cavities. However, extraction of cavities is impossible in toddlers and very young children. Therefore, SDF or Silver Diamine Fluoride is used to prevent the cavity from progressing or getting any worse. The substance has been in use in Europe and Asia since 1891.
When is it recommended to use SDF?
The main aim of using SDF is to delay cavities from getting worse until the child is old enough to receive proper dental treatment without being scared. Here is a list of cases where using SDF is recommended:
- Using SDF is the ideal solution to prevent a cavity from progressing in very young children who are not old enough to undergo a tooth extraction procedure.
- SDF is also recommended for use on children of any age if they have a small pit or fissure on their premolars.
- The chemical helps in preventing cavities from spreading any further infections in case it affects the frontal teeth in children, which will fall off in two years.
SDF is not recommended in case the child has a broken tooth or a deep cavity. The substance’s only function is to slow down or prohibit the progression of a cavity, and should not be mistaken for rebuilding the tooth structure.
SDF is applied to the affected area two or three times. The process is continued until the child is old enough to undergo a tooth extraction.
Preventive dental care in Pediatric Dentistry
Apart from treating severe oral and dental conditions in children, pediatric dentistry offers preventive dental care that prohibits any dental issue from occurring. Services offered under preventive dental care are:
In this procedure, fluoride is applied to children’s teeth to prevent demineralization of healthy enamel and to promote the strength of the enamel. Furthermore, application of fluoride on teeth surfaces has proven effective in reducing caries in children who are potentially at risk of suffering from the disease.
It is difficult to brush a child’s teeth properly, and even when they begin brushing on their own, they are likely to miss the tight spots. Dental sealants are materials applied to the occlusal grooves of the teeth that harden and protect a child’s teeth from cavities.
If your child loves to play sports, a custom-made mouthguard is a perfect option to protect his/her teeth from injury or concussions.
Experience the best dentistry for kids at Reef Dental. Call (415) 563-8123 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chukreeff.