Child dentistry, or pedodontics, deals with the oral health of pediatric children.
But what dental treatments might a child need? Contrary to popular belief, even milk teeth can become decayed, so much so that 22% of children under the age of 4 have at least one cavity.
The data is worrying if we consider that milk teeth are frequently affected by rampant caries, that is caries that advance very quickly; if not diagnosed and treated they can cause the destruction of the entire crown of the tooth in less than a year. In this situation there can be difficult consequences for the dentist to manage both because of the difficulty of treatment for the pain caused by caries and the relative fear of the dentist, and because the loss of the milk tooth can compromise the eruption of the permanent teeth. necessitating orthodontic treatment with appliances or surgery.
Caries in pediatric age is linked to the balance between oral hygiene and nutrition; an excellent habit is to brush your teeth every evening from childhood with low-fluoride toothpastes. As for the diet, the frequent intake of sugars during the day and before the night is the most important causal factor to be corrected; candies, sugary drinks and the pacifier soaked in honey or other sweeteners will have to be minimized.
The loss of the milk tooth can compromise the eruption of permanent teeth, making orthodontic treatment with braces or surgery necessary
It is very important to gradually introduce children from 3-4 years of age to the figure of the dentist, before there is a need, for example by having them attend a check-up by a parent or an older sibling. In this way, thanks to the play and joke attitude on the part of the pediatric dentist (the specialist in pediatric dentistry) it will be possible to create a positive imprinting, ie the child will associate the dentist with a positive figure and avoid the so-called “white coat syndrome. “which would make any kind of treatment impossible. It must be remembered that often the fear of the dentist is induced by the parents, therefore the collaboration of the parents will also be crucial for the success of the dentist-child relationship. Paradoxically, with this gradual approach, treating a child will be easier than treating most adults.
A preventive strategy of confirmed usefulness is the sealing of the occlusal sulci; on the chewing surface of the posterior teeth there are deep grooves which represent areas that are more difficult to clean and therefore more prone to caries. By sealing the grooves, a veil of white filling material is placed over the occlusal grooves in order to reduce the accumulation of plaque in these areas and the consequent risk of caries.