Pediatric dentistry deals with dental care and treatment for children from birth through adolescence.
Children can be fun but also quite challenging as dental patients. At Sai Kirupa Dental Clinic, Dr. Sriprakash and his friendly staff find that handling a child’s dental appointment is a very rewarding experience. We base our treatment on the philosophy that every child is unique in terms of the pace at which they get to trust the dentist. Dr. Sriprakash has treated several children in a calm and understanding manner thereby building trust over the years.
We answer a few basic questions:
Why do I need to take a baby/young child to a dentist?
It’s a logical question to ask. Why would you want to take a mere toddler to a pediatric dentist when baby teeth aren’t even permanent? Because even baby teeth can get bacteria which, if left undetected, can reach the bone and cause the enamel for adult teeth to be ill-formed or even get permanently damaged. If more serious, the bacterial infection may even be dangerous to the baby’s overall health. For older children, teeth infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth decay may cause your child to develop complications such as poor eating habits, speech problems, and crooked teeth.
Ok, so when is the right time?
Within 6 months of the appearance of the baby’s first tooth or by their first birthday, whichever is earlier, is the right time for their first dental visit (with subsequent visits every six months). Why so early? Because, by about age 3 damage may have already occurred due to baby bottle tooth decay or cavities. Early oral examinations will help detect and treat early stage tooth decay and modify aberrant habits (e.g., thumb sucking). Dr. Sriprakash will conduct a gentle yet thorough examination of your child’s teeth, jaw, bite, gums and oral tissues to monitor growth and development. If necessary, he will:
Moreover, these first few visits also give the child time to get acquainted with and trust their dentist which makes it easier if the child has to undergo more elaborate procedures as they advance in age.
Why me, the parent?
These early visits for toddlers also serve as an educational opportunity for its parents:
Why and when do I need to wean my child from thumb sucking or pacifier use?
Prolonged pacifier use or thumb sucking can deform a child’s upper dental arch and cause complications such as protruding teeth and cross bite (upper teeth don’t come down slightly in front of the lower teeth when the jaw is closed). Children should be weaned from these habits by no later than 2½ or 3 years of age. If any damage has been done by then, the dentist can usually undo it. But if they get much beyond 3 and aren’t stopping, braces may be needed.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Frequent, long-term exposure of a child's teeth to sugary liquids (milk, formula, fruit juice, soft drinks, etc.) causes these sugars to collect around the infant's teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria that cause plaque which, if left unchecked, will causes tooth decay. This is referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. Even breast-fed infants (with prolonged feeding times) and children using pacifiers dipped in sugary fluids (honey, syrup, etc.) are prone to this condition.
Baby bottle tooth decay can be prevented by taking simple measures such as: