Dentistry For Children
If we lived in a fantasy world, our children would look forward to seeing their dentist just like they wait in anticipation for the tooth fairy and the riches she brings.
They would enjoy perfect dental health without cavities and dental problems to deal with. Their visits to the dentist would be easy and familiar as an outing in the park and they would be involved in all discussions and decisions relating to their dental health.
Unfortunately, this is not a utopian world. If, for instance, you did a quick search for terms related to children’s dentistry like fluoride, fissure sealants, composite fillings, minimally invasive dentistry, BioEden, KTP lasers, Invisalign, bonded restorations, remineralizing agents and Cerec, you will undoubtedly see a lot of questions surrounding these topics.
Importance of Baby Teeth
Baby teeth are a blessing and last out their natural life until they are ready to be replaced by equally healthy, straight, bright and permanent teeth. And when they are lost, they are used to harvest valuable stem cells that can be used for medical therapy in the future.
Dental stem cell banking was introduced in Malta in 2009 at Savina Dental Clinics. Stem cell therapy and its potential ability to cure many diseases is a hugely promising opportunity for those wishing to safeguard the health of future generations.
For more information on harvesting and storing stem cells from your children’s baby teeth, please contact us for a consultation.
Care For Your Child’s Permanent Teeth
When permanent teeth appear, they need to be treated and protected against possible decay. If the slightest problem arises, it should be dealt with swiftly, pleasantly and efficiently.
Here is what dentists can do to restore some of the common dental issues:
- Decaying teeth can be filled painlessly with fine, white fillings, which prevent further decay
- In case the front teeth are chipped, they can be mended invisibly and without anaesthetics
- More serious aesthetic or structural problems can be rectified with minimally invasive, same-day, beautiful composite or even porcelain restorations
- Crooked teeth can be straightened with invisible braces
Dealing With Children’s Dental Emergencies
Here is a brief guide to common situations and how to deal with them.
In case your child has a toothache, try to give them mild painkillers like paracetamol suspension. For the older ones, you can give them half a tablet of paracetamol. If these don’t help, apply some clove oil tincture on the aching tooth and it will do the trick.
If a toothache is accompanied by swelling, you can apply a cold compress to help ease the discomfort.
Once you manage the pain, find a way to seek your dentist’s assistance as soon as you can.
Broken front teeth
If your child fractures their teeth, try to find the missing fragments and bring them along to your dentist. The dentist will determine whether to bond the fragments back or carry out a complete artificial repair.
If their lips and gums are injured, clean them with dilute mouthwash or cool chamomile tea. Then, cover the area with a clean cloth (a handkerchief will do) and head out to seek help.
To control the bleeding, apply some pressure to the dressing.
Most importantly, if a child injures themselves while outdoors, you need to ensure that they get tetanus protection.
Dislodged or avulsed front teeth
Severe tooth injuries must be addressed by a dentist as soon as possible. In most cases, a dislodged or completely avulsed tooth can be repositioned.
A tooth that is dislodged can be saved as long as the delicate tissue around the root is protected. The best way to do this is by transporting it to the dentist in fresh milk or the child’s mouth (between the lower back teeth and the cheeks).
Note that during these instances, time is fundamental. Your dentist will give this unfortunate incident an absolute priority because even thirty minutes may make the difference between saving the tooth and losing it.
In all cases, you must keep calm and make your child feel reassured that you are in complete control. Always be prepared for such eventualities and have your dentist’s emergency number handy.
One of the best ways of preparing for these unfortunate incidents is starting with the child’s dental visits for routine inspections rather than in times of crisis. It is far easier for all concerned if a child needs urgent attention, that they are treated in an environment they know and by people they are familiar with.
Children Dentistry FAQ
When should my child first see a dentist?
Experts recommend that you take your child to the dentist six months after the first tooth erupts. If you are late, ensure that your child is seen by the dentist within the first 12 months after the first tooth comes in.
Why does my child need to see a dentist?
There are many reasons why your child should see a dentist. While some of them are related to feeding, others focus on their hygiene. During the visit, the dentist will advise you on how to clean their teeth, the best infant feeding habits, and teething.
They will also provide you with information on finger sucking as well as baby bottle tooth decay.
What can I expect at a pediatric dental visit?
A pediatric dental visit may last anywhere between 30-40 minutes. The dentist will be interested in evaluating your child’s growth and development. Some of the areas that they will focus on include the bite, gums, oral tissues, jaws, and teeth.
The dentist may choose to conduct a full oral examination, depending on your child’s age and state of their mouth. They may also recommend gentle cleaning in case of plaque buildup.
In some cases, a dental practitioner may want to take X-rays to look for any underlying problems. This helps in intercepting the problem before it goes out of hand.
How do I prepare my child for the visit?
The first pediatric visit may make your child nervous. If your child is old enough to understand, you can shed some light on what they should expect during the visit. Take your time to explain why it is prudent to see a dentist. Tell them it will help make their teeth strong and healthy as it can excite and prepare them.
Book a morning appointment when your child is fresh and alert.
What happens during my child’s first visit?
The first visit is somewhat basic, not unless you have noted a problem with your child’s oral health. Otherwise, the dentist will just check and ensure that their teeth are growing well. They examine the gums, jaws, teeth, and so on.
If the dentist is satisfied with your child’s progress, they offer basic advice on dental health and hygiene. And in case they have a dental issue, they recommend the most appropriate treatment.
At what age is it appropriate to use toothpaste to clean my child’s teeth?
Professionals recommend that you start using toothpaste to clean your child’s teeth at the age of two years. However, you should use a smear of toothpaste- the size of a grain. A frequency of two times a day is recommended- in the morning and evening.
What’s the best way to clean my baby’s teeth?
When your baby’s teeth first appear, you can use a piece of cloth to clean them gently. You may also opt to use a toddler toothbrush with clean water. When your baby is two years old, you can use a smear of toothpaste twice a day.