Pediatric dentistry provides dental services for children. A pediatric dentist provides a versatile range of dental procedures to meet the oral health needs of children and educates parents on the importance of good oral habits.
Timely pediatric care detects and blocks oral problems in their initial or growing stage and prevents them from developing into severe oral health issues in the future. Correct pediatric care at the right time provides a wholesome environment for the healthy development of teeth and jaws.
What are the services available under pediatric dentistry?
Every child has unique dental needs and requires individual attention from a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentistry provides a wide range of services to provide comprehensive oral care for children and meet their individual needs. They are:
1. Preventative services under pediatric dentistry
Preventative services are provided under pediatric dentistry to prevent the onset of oral diseases by diagnosing cavities, caries, gum disease in their initial stages and nipping them in the bud.
- Professional dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar deposits from hard-to-reach areas between teeth. Regular dental cleanings prevent the development of cavities and gum disease. It is recommended to have your child's teeth professionally cleaned at least twice every year.
- Radiograph examinations using digital and panoramic X-rays to determine the child's bite, jaw development, presence of impacted teeth, overcrowding, and more.
- Dental sealants are used to coat the surface of molars and premolars to close the vulnerable areas (grooves, pits, and fissures) present on their surfaces. 75% of tooth decay starts from these vulnerable, hard-to-clean areas. Dental sealants provide a protective coating to the chewing surface of teeth and prevent the development of cavities.
- Fluoride treatment for strengthening the tooth enamel. The tooth enamel gets worn down with time and becomes vulnerable to decay. Fluoride gel is painted on the surface of teeth to remineralize the enamel and protect it from decays and bacterial infestation. It is done for both deciduous and permanent teeth.
2. Educational services under pediatric dentistry
Educational services are provided to parents to promote good oral habits. Parents are educated on:
- Correct brushing and flossing techniques for optimal oral health.
- Habit counseling to determine the presence of harmful oral habits like thumb-sucking, prolonged use of pacifiers, tongue thrusting, and more. These habits need to be nipped in the bud or else they cause serious orthodontic problems in the future.
- Emergency dental care in case of injury and dental trauma.
- Nutrition and importance of a balanced diet to promote both good oral and overall health.
3. Restorative services under pediatric dentistry
Baby teeth are prone to more damage than permanent teeth. They get inflicted with decay and damage easily and require restoration. Restorative procedures available under pediatric dentistry are:
- Stainless steel crowns to cover a damaged, decayed, or worn out baby teeth. They protect damaged baby teeth from further damage and prevent the need for premature extraction. Stainless steel crowns are permanently cemented in place and fall out with the baby teeth when the permanent teeth start erupting.
- Tooth fillings to treat teeth inflicted with decay, chips, cracks, and discoloration. The decay is drilled out and the cavity is filled with a tooth filling made from a malleable material like porcelain, ceramic, amalgam or an alloy of metals like gold and silver.
4. Orthodontic services under pediatric dentistry
Orthodontic visits for kids should be scheduled as soon as they turn six years old. During this time, the child is still growing and has developed the correct number of permanent to enable the dentist to determine the presence and risk of orthodontic issues.
Orthodontic services for kids involve the following:
- Guiding permanent teeth and jaws into their ideal position using space maintainers, lingual bars and palatal expanders.
- When children lose their baby teeth prematurely, space maintainers maintain the gap left by the premature loss of a baby tooth and prevent the adjacent teeth from drifting into the gap. They are removed when the permanent tooth is about to erupt through the gums.
- Some children have small dental arches that cannot accommodate all permanent teeth. As a result, they suffer from crossbite and overcrowding. Palatal expanders widen the upper dental arch in children and create more room for permanent teeth.
- Lingual bars widen the lower dental arch in children and create more room for permanent teeth.
- Braces are orthodontic devices used to treat mild to severe orthodontic issues in children and teenagers. They use brackets, bonded to the topical or back surface of teeth, and wires, connected to the brackets, to apply force on teeth and gradually push them into their ideal position.
- While orthodontic devices like braces and aligners push teeth into their ideal position, retainers hold these teeth in their new position and prevent them from shifting back to their old, crooked position. Retainers are worn during the night and can be removed during the day.
- When the force applied by braces is not enough to shift the teeth into their ideal position, headgear is used. It is an appliance that is fastened to the braces and is strapped around the head. The headgear helps in pulling the teeth into position by increasing the amount of force applied. It is worn at night while sleeping.
At Murray Dental Care of Cupertino, our entire team of dentists and hygienists is committed to providing supreme quality dental care to our patients and their families. If you are inclined towards taking the first steps to improve your dental health and hygiene, call us at (408) 253-5277 to book an appointment.