General Pediatric Dentistry
Being minimally invasive, delivering pain free dental care and creating happy experiences to our children are the main driving principles which we keep in mind while designing treatment strategies to our children. Be it a casual routine dental examination, simple cleaning , tooth coloured fillings for cavities, baby teeth root canals/ root canal treatments for milk teeth, caps for baby teeth to tooth removals and space maintainers fixation , we handle every situation with utmost care and compassion. However, our main focus is on prevention of dental problems along with correcting them by motivating the child in selfcare and educating parents about the same. After all we believe in team approach in the prevention of the dental problems and the child as well as the parents are the integral part of the team.
The three things we stress upon for a healthy mouth in children are
SDF/ Anticavity liquid applications
Cavities in children when caught early can be easily treated by applying a magic cavity fighting liquid called Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF). This is particularly easy on very young children who can’t accept the conventional dental treatments like drilling and filling.
This SDF application comes with a downside of discolouring the cavity black in the processing of stopping its spread, but these black stains cab be easily addressed by conventional drill and fill procedures in the due course of time when the child is little grown up.
Dental sealants for cavity prevention
Technically called Pit and Fissure sealants, dental sealants helps in the prevention of cavities by sealing the grinding surfaces of the back teeth from foods and sugars. Unlike the teeth in the front of the mouth, the grinding teeth in the back are little rough and patchy in texture which attracts food lodgement thereby more prone for cavities. The dental sealants disrupts this process thereby preventing cavities.
When supported by good home care with proper hygiene and diet dental sealants is a great modality of preventing cavities in children.
Pulp Therapy/ Baby teeth root canal treatment
Pulp therapy also called baby teeth root canal in milk teeth is a process of cleaning the infection from the roots of a tooth and then restoring the strength of the tooth with a readily available baby cap. This procedure is usually is a single visit process of 20 mins approx. unlike a root canal treatment in permanent teeth in adults. Children can easily accept this procedure without any discomfort under local anesthesia (numbing that particular tooth) and laughing gas sedation.
We advise against the common misconception among the general public that root canal treatment / pulp therapy (Also called pulpotomy or pulpectomy) should not be done in milk teeth. The simple idea behind this procedure is to extend the life of that particular tooth which has been infected by a deeply spread cavity.
Caps/crowns for baby teeth
Once a milk tooth is extensively damaged by cavity or an injury from a fall , a regular filling with a cement what a dentist dentist does usually for a very small cavity may not withstand or sustain for long time resulting in breakdown of the filling and further spread of the cavity leading to infection spreading to the roots. These issues can be better handled by a ready made caps/crowns readily available with the pediatric dentist. These can be easily fixed to the baby teeth with minimal grinding unlike a permanent teeth which needs extensive grinding followed by taking the replica of the teeth sending it to a lab for the fabrication of custom-made cap/crown.
Although different variety of caps readily available like preformed stainless crowns/caps, Preformed Zirconia crowns/caps which are tooth coloured, the best thing that suits for that particular child or particular tooth will be better advised by the pediatric dentist.
One of the important functions of the milk tooth is that it gives way and space to the future permanent tooth. In case if a milk tooth has to be removed because of severe infection/pus arising of the untreated deep/large cavity, a space maintainer which is usually a ready made small metal clip/appliance is fixed in that place with the support of another tooth usually just next to it, to preserve this space for the permanent tooth which is going to come in the due course of time.
Space maintainer fixation is generally done immediately after the milk tooth is removed and in some circumstances a replica is made out of the empty space left by the milk tooth and is sent to the lab for the fabrication which will be fixed in the next appointment. A space maintainer fixation is a very simple and painless process and once fixed its integrity should be regularly checked with proper followups until the permanent tooth fills its space.
We advise against the manipulating or meddling with the space maintainer clip as long as it is there in the mouth and it doesn’t interfere with any of the regular activities of the child. No special care is advised for the space maintainer except for the regular hygiene of the mouth and the teeth.
Early childhood caries (ECC)
Also previously called as baby bottle tooth decay/nursing bottle tooth decay is a condition of a child catching cavities early in their life because of poor dietary conditions and hygiene habits. Identifying these cavities when they are in the initial stages is very important as they can be easily treated with simple methods. Delay in approaching the pediatric dentist for the care result rapid spread of the cavities which leads to complex treatments early in the childhood.
The key here is implementing proper home oral hygiene early inter life as soon as the first tooth comes into the mouth, delay in exposing the child to added free sugars in their diet until the age of three and finally we suggest every parent to do something called “Lift the Lip” procedure where in a parent should examine their Child’s teeth once in every couple of weeks to observe for any deviation in the normal colour, texture and integrity of the milk teeth by just simply lifting the lips of the baby.
Apart from regular dental visits to the pediatric dentist from the early ages possible ,any signs of chalky white/brown patches on the milk teeth is considered a red flag and warrants a visit to your pediatric dentist rather than waiting for the cavities to become full blown.