1)How is a pediatric dentist different from a family dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has three years of specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence (Birth - 18 yrs of age), including those with special health needs.
2)When should you first take your child to a pediatric dentist?
In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears or no later than his/her first birthday.
3)How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.
4)Are baby teeth really that important to my child? Won't they fall anyway?
Primary, or "baby" or "milk," teeth last until 12-14 years of age. They are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children chew naturally and speak clearly, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt and prevent misalignment. Early extraction of milk teeth will cause crowding and eruption problems in the permanent teeth. Decayed front teeth may lead to a self-conscious child with poor self-esteem. The emphasis on healthy baby teeth is also to protect the permanent teeth from defects which could occur from the infectious baby teeth.
5)Are dental X-rays safe for children?
Dental X-rays represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem. The amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. We take immense care to minimize the exposure of child patients to radiation.
6)When should my child start tooth brushing?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests brushing by the parent twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush with a smear of toothpaste as soon as first tooth erupts. Parents should ensure your child does not swallow any excess toothpaste.
7)What are the different preventive measures to help my child from facing dental problems?
Apart from providing a healthy diet and scheduling regular dental check-ups, we instill knowledge about preventive dentistry to all of our patients and their families.
Our preventive methods include:
6 monthly dental check-ups
Brushing and flossing
8)What are dental sealants?
A sealant is a thin flowable plastic material that forms a protective barrier blocking plaque from entering the fissures and grooves of newly erupted molar teeth, thereby decreasing the chances of cavity. It makes the chewing surfaces smooth making brushing more effortless and thereby preventing any accumulation of food or plaque.
9)What is fluoride treatment?
Fluoride can help in remineralization and strengthening of the weak areas of the tooth which are sites for cavity formation thereby preventing tooth decay. It is elementary to use of topical fluoride applications as most drinking water in India does not contain fluoride. Topical fluoride applications like toothpastes, mouthwashes, gels and varnishes are recommended worldwide. We recommend Fluoride Gels and Varnishes as an anticavity measure that is extremely safe and highly effective.
10)Does a mouth guard protect teeth during sport events?
Mouth guards, are made of soft plastic and are customized to fit the shape of the jaws. They act as shock absorbers. They protect the child from any sports related injury to the teeth, lips, cheeks and gums.
11)What is nitrous oxide sedation and is it safe?
Nitrous oxide i.e. “Laughing Gas” sedation is an extremely safe and effective method used over 5 decades to help apprehensive or anxious patients relax during their dental treatment. This procedure can be performed only on children who can comprehend to instructions. It requires the child to breathe the Laughing/Sweet gas though a mask placed over the child's nose. Patients remain alert, awake and can talk to dentists and staff during their treatment.
12)I am scared. Is General Anesthesia safe?
General Anesthesia is the only treatment option for children requiring major dental treatment, those in the pre-cooperative age i.e. below 4 years and special children. Dental disease doesn't stop progressing without necessary intervention. Unfortunately, waiting till the child grows up isn't an appropriate alternative. As a parent, fear is natural when your child enters an operating room. Although there is some risk associated with general anesthesia, it is safe when all care is taken and administered by an appropriately trained anesthesiologist.
13)What is Pediatric Sleep Disordered Breathing?
Pediatric SDB usually starts with mouth breathing or noisy breathing or snoring. It is usually the first sign that something is wrong. They may be falling sick often, frequent allergies, tonsils, adenoids, they may have tongue and lip ties, open mouth breathing and underdeveloped maxillofacial growth. Kids generally show an increased effort to breathe. They can have behavior and learning issues. They can be a moody child. They may exhibit bullying behaviors in school, ADHD like symptoms, bedwetting, stunted or delayed growth, insulin resistance and obesity.
14)What is the role of a pediatric dentist in airway disorders like recurrent tonsils and adenoids, mouth breathing, frequent throat infections?
The growth and position of jaws alter the airway. We can’t go without air for very long! It takes about 3 minutes or so without air to start a cascade of events. Pediatric Airway Orthodontics plays a very important role to prevent jaw malocclusions at a very early stage in life which can be corrected by simple non interventional measures. Airway Orthodontics focuses on correcting the underlying causes of crooked teeth and unlock the natural growth potential of the jaws and teeth maintaining a wide airway. Corrections can be made early as 3 yrs of age. A simple process like breast feeding at infancy helps in the development of the face, jaws and airway that can save you from multiple problems the child can go through in life because of underdeveloped jaw growth.
15)What is Mouth breathing?
Mouth breathing is when we breathe through our mouth instead of our nose. It can be caused by a number of conditions including enlarged tonsils or adenoids, narrow and backwardly placed jaws, incorrect tongue postures, allergies, food sensitivities, asthma, deviated septum and many more. Anything that makes it difficult or impossible to breathe through the nose will cause mouth breathing, and this can become a habit if it’s not addressed.
16)How will I know if my child is mouth breathing?
If you ask anyone if they are breathing through their mouth they will instinctively tell you no they are breathing through the nose. So you can use a mirror place it below the nostrils and you will see fogging. In this way you can also see of one nostril is blocked or no? Another way is to take a piece of paper tape and apply it to the mouth so they are forced to breathe through the nose for a minimum of 3 minutes. You can also try this with filling a little water in the mouth and holding it without gulping it down. This can tell us if mouthbreathing is a habit or they can actually not breathe through their nose. It will tell us about the nasal patency. These tests don't give us any information on how they are breathing during their sleep. Only way to know that is see a video of them sleeping in the deep sleep.
17)How mouth breathing affects your child's health?
Mouth Breathing in children is a lot more serious than we used to think. It may happen when eating, sleeping or watching TV. It’s common to think that your child will grow out of this habit but it is important for parents to look for signs of mouth breathing in your child as they may not be able to communicate their symptoms like adults. Here are some common signs and symptoms to note your child could be mouth breathing: noisy breathing or snoring more than three nights, restless sleep, changes sleep positions too often, Frequent headaches, bad breath even after brushing, yellow front teeth, cavities, gummy smile, proclined upper jaw, forward neck and shoulder posture, children misidentifed as ADHD, teeth grinding, etc.
18)How does Thumb Sucking, Lip Biting/sucking affect the child?
Children who suck their thumbs may have an emotional dependence but they may also exhibit one or more of the following symptoms: allergies, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, chronic ear infections, restless sleep, noisy breathing, snoring and bruxism (teeth grinding). These kids will often also breathe from their mouth rather than their nose. Thumb sucking can also lead to dental problems which include narrow upper jaw, posterior crossbite, flaring out of upper front teeth, and space between the upper and lower front teeth. Normally, the tongue should sit in the roof of the mouth at rest. However, in a thumb sucker the tongue sits lower in the mouth which adversely affects the growth of the lower jaw. It doesn’t grow as far forward as it normally should, leading to jaw misalignment.
19)Why does my child grind his teeth?
Bruxism commonly known as clenching or grinding is common in children. It is commonly associated with worms, vitamin deficiency or sleep-disordered breathing. During deep sleep, clenching the teeth is a mechanism to “wake up” the body and free the airways. Therefore, just wearing oral appliances may protect the teeth, but clenching can continue unless the real cause is addressed.
20)Is Bottle feeding advisable?
Breastfeeding is one of the first decisions a mother makes for her baby. Breastfeeding is considered crucial not just in terms of weight gain for the infant but also developing the right tongue function for a correct jaw and airway development. Mothers start looking out for help when they have been exhausted from the breastfeeding journey or start supplementing bottles under the notion that they have insufficient milk production which in turn affects the jaw growth by failure to diagnose tongue and lip ties. In case you are having troubles with feeding its best to visit a lactation consultant or a pediatric dentist with thorough knowledge and training in tongue ties which could be one of the hindrances with breast feeding. Bottle feeding interferes with jaw growth that can lead to crooked teeth and mouthbreathing in children.