Kids Dentistry

A common question that parents ask is “why spend on the maintenance of milk teeth when they are to be finally replaced by the permanent ones?”
Milk teeth are as important as the permanent ones because

  • Baby teeth are important in proper feeding and nutrition.
  • Milk teeth serve as space maintainers for the proper spacing and alignment of the permanent teeth.
  • Healthy milk teeth are crucial in helping the baby learn how to speak properly.
  • Healthy looking teeth are important in building self-confidence at an early age. Small children because of immaturity are quick to tease peers about ugly looking or decayed teeth.

 

Nursing Bottle Caries
The term describes a dental condition which involves the rapid decay of many or all the baby teeth of an infant or child. It is caused by long exposure of a child’s teeth to liquid containing sugars generally when the baby falls asleep with a bottle containing milk or juice. During sleep, the bacteria living in baby’s mouth, turns the milk sugar or other sugars to acid which causes the decay.

By the time the condition is noticed by the parents it may be too late and extractions of the decayed teeth may be necessary. As a result, your child may suffer from long term disorders which include difficulty in speech, possible psychological damage, crooked or crowded teeth, and poor oral health.

Pit and Fissure sealants
The chewing surfaces of teeth are never flat. They have infact certain depressions called Pit and Fissures which serve as potential traps for food and bacteria making the teeth susceptible for decay. Pits and fissures have been suggested as “the single most important anatomic feature leading to the development of tooth decay". Therefore as a preventive measure certain pits and fissure sealants are placed.

The decay inhibiting properties of sealants are attributed to the physical obstruction of the pits and grooves. This prevents penetration of fermentable sugars and the bacteria cannot produce acid that causes tooth decay.


Space Maintainers
A space maintainer is a removable or fixed appliance designed to maintain an existing space.
Space maintainers are usually fitted in children when they have lost baby teeth early. The gap left from losing this tooth needs to be held open for the permanent tooth to erupt in the correct position.

Habit breaking appliances

Frequently children acquire certain habits that may either temporarily or permanently be harmful to teeth and tooth supporting structures. Some common oral habits seen in children include thumb sucking, mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, lip biting, grinding of teeth and nail biting.
Habit breaking appliances are basically reminding appliances that assist the child who is willing to quit the habit but is not able to do so as the habit has entered the subconscious level. They may be removable or fixed appliances.

Root Canal Treatment in milk teeth
 In cases where tooth decay extends deep into the nerve portion of the tooth it might be necessary to perform a root canal as described for the permanent tooth. Although the morphology of milk teeth makes the treatment difficult, it might still be considered as a better alternative to tooth extraction.

Fluoride application
A child’s teeth are more prone to decay due to lack of proper brushing. Application of fluoride varnishes at regular intervals strengthens the tooth structure by incorporating fluoride ions into the structure making them more resistant to caries. Not only do the permanent but also milk teeth benefit from fluoride treatment.

  • The professional application of fluoride is particularly recommended because of the ease of application, patient acceptance and proven anti -decay benefits. For maximum benefits, reapplication should be made every 4 months.

 

  • Of the various home-use fluoride products (toothpastes, mouthwashes and gels) only fluoride toothpastes are recommended for young children, but caution must be exercised to minimize fluoride ingestion.