Loving and attentive parents generally understand the importance of nurturing their children’s smiles, which is why they prioritize routine check-ups to ensure the well-being of their teeth and gums. But even when conscientious, they may be taken aback by the number of oral care situations that call for dental treatment, particularly emergencies such as chipped teeth, soft tissue injuries, toothaches, and abscesses.
As with any medical intervention, such parents might worry about their children’s safety while getting dental work done. This is expected given that most treatments are simple and well-tolerated,while some are slightly discomforting and necessitate additional follow-up appointments. Regardless, being informed about these procedures can help parents feel less anxious and better prepared.
Why Is Pediatric Dental Care Important?
Aside from proper dental care being an essential part of growth, it significantly contributes to the overall wellness of an individual. Healthy teeth improve nutritional intake, which in turn impacts physical, mental, and emotional health. Each perfectly aligned tooth not only ensures proper chewing but also promotes speech development. People with attractive teeth are more likely self-confident and socially interactive.
For these reasons, pediatric healthcare typically places a high priority on dental hygiene. An acute lack of oral hygiene awareness is why many children suffer from plaque and tartar accumulation on their teeth and gumline that cause tooth decay.
What Do Healthcare Agencies Have to Say?
The CDC estimates that tooth decay affect one in five American children from 5 to 11 and one in seven adolescents from 12 to 19, with millions more being impacted globally. In addition to this study, WHO data showed that 60-90% of schoolchildren worldwide have had dental caries.
Given the widespread impact of this prevalent bacteria-causing disease, it is crucial to nip it in the bud, as delayed intervention may result in toothache, tooth loss, infection, and other health problems. In severe cases, untreated dental infections degenerate into life-threatening conditions like cardiovascular disease and respiratory failure.
Other far-reaching effects include bite abnormalities, speech problems, and poor nutrition. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), infants should have their first dental check-up when they turn one or when their first tooth appears. This helps them fight off cavities, gum disease, and sets the child up for dental success.
In a study published by the Journal of Dental Research, children who received early dental care enjoy better oral health, excellent mental health, and lower dental costs than their non-treated peers.
Common Pediatric Dental Procedures
These artificial substances are used to fill in cavities caused by tooth decay. The procedure entails removing the decayed or damaged tooth structure, disinfecting the site, and placing dental fillings to prevent further infection and restore the tooth’s strength,appearance, and function. Common filling materials include amalgam(silver-colored) and composite (tooth-colored).
When a tooth’s structure is irreparably compromised and its prognosis is not promising, an extraction becomes inevitable. For example, an infection that spreads to the surrounding teeth or bone may weaken the root, ultimately causing tooth loss. What’s worse, it could affect the child’s immune system and eventually lead to hospitalization.
In a broader sense, orthodontic treatment refers to the use of fixed or removable appliances to improve tooth and jaw alignment. But when it comes to children, the term is typically associated with corrective treatments such as braces that are placed to fix improper bites, malocclusions, and other dental irregularities. They come in various types, such as metal, ceramic, and clear (Invisalign).
A dental crown is a cap placed over the top of a tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance. The procedure is recommended when the tooth has been badly damaged due to tooth decay, fracture, pulpotomy, or other severe dental issues. Pediatric dental crowns can be placed in a single visit. They come in two different types:stainless steel crowns (silver in color), or zirconia crowns (white in color).
Pulpotomy treatment is a common pediatric dental procedure that is needed when the cavity/decay reaches the nerve of the tooth and there is no infection present. This procedure involves removing the decay, cleaning out the pulp chamber, and placing a pulp-compatible material into the pulp chamber. The tooth is then covered with a full coverage crown in order to strengthen the remaining tooth structure and protect the nerve treatment.
This is a non-invasive, preventive treatment that cleans and removes plaque and calculus build-up from the entire mouth. Given its nature, it doesn’t require anesthesia and is offered based on a patient’s risk factors, oral hygiene, and gum conditions.
Emergency Dental Care
A dental emergency, as the name implies, happens when we least expect them. It could be a chipped tooth or throbbing toothache that needs immediate dental care to prevent further complications.Understanding this concern, many dentists offer 24-houremergency services, with some extending their availability to weekends and holidays to cater to those who are unable to access them during normal business hours.
Howto Find the Right Pediatric Dental Clinic
Finding a reputable and affordable pediatric dental care provider is pivotal to the optimum comfort and well-being of your child’s oral health. Here are some helpful guidelines:
· Request referrals from your pediatrician, close friends and family, and neighbors. They might have had beneficial interactions with some providers in the past.
· Lookup local pediatric dental offices online and read reviews of them.
· Verify the credentials and experience of the pediatric dentists employed by those establishments.
· Find out if the clinic has a warm, welcoming atmosphere with features like play areas, eye-catching decor, and staff who are accustomed to working with children.
· Make sure they offer a wide range of services, from preventive dentistry to trauma and emergency care
· Confirm whether they accept dental insurance and offer flexible payment methods.
Pediatric dental care might be a tedious process, but it is much easier and more enjoyable if you know what to expect and how to prepare. Knowing that there is well-established healthcare support for various dental procedures will significantly reduce children’s fear and anxiety,thus boosting their overall comfort. In addition,being attentive to their oral care routine will help them avoid dental emergencies and keep them healthy and strong for the years to come.
Related article: Healthy Snacks for Strong Teeth: A Parent’s Guide