What is paediatric dentistry?
Paediatric dentistry is focused on the oral health of children from infancy to teen years. Throughout the various stages of childhood it is vital to care for a child’s teeth as well as gums.
During the first 6 months of life, children begin to get their baby teeth. It is important to see a dentist after the first tooth eruption to ensure that a good relationship with dental health is formed and to avoid the fear of the dentist. By the age of 6 or 7 years children start losing their baby teeth, also called primary teeth, which is then replaced by permanent teeth. If proper dental treatment is not enforced children can have a lifetime of complications and pain.
What procedures are involved in paediatric dentistry?
Paediatric dentists primarily focus on prevention. Along with treatment, paediatric dentistry is aimed at also educating parents and children on oral hygiene and the best way possible to care for their teeth and gums. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and this is also the case with dentistry. Paediatric dentistry is aimed at preventing dental problems, due to the fact that primary teeth functions such as speech, eating and aesthetic are critical to a child’s development. A check up every 6 months is vital to identify any issues, as well as reinforcing good oral hygiene.
A tooth filling is a procedure wherein the damaged and decayed part of a tooth is removed, and the area is filled with a replacement material to protect against further damage and to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. Untreated cavities — even in primary teeth — can result in negative consequences for both parents and children. The good news is that cavities in baby teeth can be treated just like permanent teeth, and your paediatric dentist can help you set your child up for a lifetime of good oral health. Although preventable, early childhood tooth decay is one of the most common diseases affecting children.
If your child does develop a cavity, your paediatric dentist can treat it promptly. By attending to this promptly, it will relieve the pain in the tooth and prevent the need for tooth extractions.
A pulpotomy is when the pulp chamber, this above the area where the nerve extends into the roots of the tooth, is removed. Medication is then applied in the base of the pulp chamber to prevent further infection and to maintain the vitality of the tooth. Thereafter a filling is done to restore aesthetics and function.
A pulpectomy is the procedure of removing the infected pulp from the tooth. A pulpectomy is done to prevent the removal of the primary tooth. After the infected pulp is removed the tooth is disinfected and filled with a material. A filling is then done to restore aesthetics and function.
Children often lose their primary teeth early due to decay or extractions and therefor might need space maintainers. A space maintainer is a custom-made appliance with the purpose of keeping space open to allow the permanent teeth to erupt into the right place. Primary teeth are vital as they guide the permanent teeth into their position. If the space is not maintained when primary teeth are lost too early the permanent teeth can shift into the open spaces which leads to future orthodontic treatment. If early loss of primary teeth occurred it will be best to consult a dentist to determine if a space maintainer is necessary.