Pediatric dentistry: is the branch of dentistry dealing with children from birth through adolescence. This discipline focuses on pediatric/adolescent growth and development, disease causality and prevention, [child psychology] and management, and all aspects of the highly-specialized Pediatric restorative techniques and modalities. Some pediatric dentists also specialize in the care of “special needs” patients, such as people with cerebral palsy, mental retardation and autism. Pediatric dentistry emphasizes the establishment of trust and confidence in children with their dentists. Consequently, one of the main components of pediatric training is child psychology. This manifests itself in special office designs, different communication styles and an emphasis on teaching preventative dental habits to children in an effort to make dental visits enjoyable.
Oral Health Care Necessities for Children & Infants
Here’s a list of dental care necessities from birth on up:
Baby Teeth Cleaning: Baby teeth should be cleaned as soon as they erupt. Clean your baby’s teeth with a soft washcloth or gauze after every bottle or meal. When more than one tooth erupts, you can soak a small-bristled child-sized (age-appropriate) toothbrush in warm water before using it on your baby’s teeth, as instructed by your dentist.
Baby teeth should be brushed using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Use water without fluoride until approximately six months of age. Encourage your children to brush their own teeth once they have the coordination to do so. Replace toothbrushes every two to three months.
Children’s teeth should be brushed after they are given medicine. Acids contained in medicines may eat away at tooth enamel, which serves as a natural protective coating for the teeth.
Endodontic treatment may also be required for surgical removal of diseased or abnormal (pathologic) tissues, repair procedures associated with the surgical removal of pathologic tissues, repair of cracked teeth or the replacement (replantation) of teeth knocked out (avulsed) by injury.
First Dental Visit: It is important that your child see a dentist by age one to establish a long-term dental hygiene and professional dental cleaning plan.
Dental Sealant Application: Dental sealants are used to protect teeth from decay and are appropriate as soon as a tooth erupts.
Fluoride Treatments: Check with your dentist and water authority about the need for fluoride treatments. Fluoride is a major component in the prevention of childhood dental caries. This is because fluoride alters the molecular structure of the tooth, making it more resistant to acid attack and decay. However, children require the right balance of fluoride treatment. Too much fluoride could be problematic and lead to fluorosis.
Dental Flossing: Parent-assisted dental flossing should commence when two teeth erupt next to each other. Independent flossing should occur when children have the ability to do it on their own (often by six years of age).
Mouth Washing: Mouth washing is usually recommended by age seven, provided your child can perform the activity.
Orthodontics: Orthodontics may be appropriate by seven years of age.