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Pedodontics, or pediatric dentistry, is a specialized branch of dentistry for the treatment of children.

Pedodontics or paediatric dentistry as it is known at a lot of places is one of the most chellenging aspects of dentistry as it sometimes involves taking care of patients who are below the age of reason and don’t necessarily always know what is best for them. Therefore we at smile ‘n’ shine take our children seriously and provide dental care by a team of pedodontists.

Pedodontics or Pediatric Dentistry refers to a branch of dentistry that specializes in dental care for children under the age of 16. Pediatric dentists require an extra two to three years of dental training that prepare them in meeting the unique dental needs of infant, children, and adolescent dental care. This also includes those with special health care needs.

Differentiating itself from regular dentistry, pediatric dentistry emphasizes the establishment of trust and confidence in children with their dentists. Consequently, one of the main components of pediatric training is child psychology. This manifests itself in special office designs, different communication style, and an emphasis on teaching preventative dental habits to children in an effort to make dental visits enjoyable.

For children, pedodontics place special importance in preventing tooth decay. Studies show that poor oral health care in children lead to decrease school performance and poor social relationships. Therefore, pediatric dentists give advice on how to make teeth strong, the importance of developing healthy eating habits, and other ways to prevent cavities from occurring.

Additionally, pediatric dentists work towards the maintenance of primary teeth (baby teeth) until they are naturally lost. This is due to the importance they serve in permitting children to chew properly and therefore maintain good nutrition, its role in speech development, and the way it aids permanent teeth by saving space for them.

The role of the pediatric dentists changes as children enter adolescence. Recognizing the growing importance of appearance and self-image in their clients, pediatric dentists work to ensure that adolescents' dental needs are met. Preventative dental health care is emphasized and when necessary, information is provided to adolescents about subjects such as wisdom teeth, tobacco use, sealants, and oral piercing.

Pedodontics not only aids in the dental health of children but serves as an educational tool for parents. It is recommended that a dental visit should occur between shortly after the presence of the first tooth in a child to that child's first birthday. This is because early mouth examinations aids in the detection of the early stages of tooth decay and can therefore be immediately treated. Additionally, parents are given a program of preventative home care (brushing, flossing, fluorides), a caries risk assessment, the latest facts on finger, thumb and pacifier habits, advice on preventing injuries to the mouth and teeth of their children, and information on growth and development.

Dental Care for Young Children: Summary of Best Practice Recommendations

When should parents begin to clean their baby’s teeth?“The sooner, the better!” The [American Academy of Pediatric Dentistrystates that parents should begin dental cleaning at birth, by cleaning their child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush and water. Unless it is advised by your child’s pediatric dentist, fluoridated toothpaste is not recommended until 2-3 years of age.

When should children first visit a dentist?"First visit by first birthday" According to the [American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry;] children should first visit the dentist when they receive their first tooth or by the child’s first birthday. Early dental care is important for dental prevention in the future. However, dental problems can begin early. A major dental concern for young children is Early Childhood Caries, also known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries.

How can I prevent tooth decay from a bottle or nursing? To prevent tooth decay in young children, the [American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry; recommends that children be encouraged to begin drinking from a cup as they approach their first birthday. At nap times or at night, children should not fall asleep with a bottle. It is recommended that nighttime breast-feeding be avoided after the first primary (baby) teeth begin to erupt. Drinking juice or other sugary drinks from a bottle should always be avoided. When such drinks are offered, they should be served in a cup.

Infant Oral Health

Dr Rajat Sethi of smile ‘n’ shine dental care center at Madhya Marg dlf city-2 says that even babies can have problems with dental decay when parents do not practice good feeding habits at home. Proper dental care begins even before a baby's first tooth appears. Remember that just because you can't see the teeth doesn't mean they aren't there. Teeth actually begin to form in the second trimester of pregnancy. At birth your baby has 20 primary teeth, some of which are fully developed in the jaw.

Running a damp washcloth over your baby's gums following feedings can prevent buildup of damaging bacteria. Once your child has a few teeth showing, you can brush them with a soft child's toothbrush or rub them with gauze at the end of the day.

Putting your baby to sleep with a bottle in his or her mouth may be convenient in the short term - but it can be harmful to the baby's teeth. When the sugars from juice or milk remain on a baby's teeth for hours, they may eat away at the enamel, creating a condition known as bottle mouth. Pocked, pitted, or discolored front teeth are signs of bottle mouth. Severe cases result in cavities and the need to pull all the front teeth until the permanent ones grow in. Parents and child care providers should also help young children develop set times for drinking during the day as well because sucking on a bottle throughout the day can be equally damaging to young teeth.

According to Dr Sethi your child's first visit to the dentist take place by his or her first birthday. At this visit, your child's dentist will explain proper brushing and flossing techniques (you need to floss once your baby has two teeth that touch) and conduct a modified exam while your baby sits on your lap. Such visits can help in the early detection of potential problems. Your child also will become accustomed to visiting the dentist, which means he or she will have less fear as he or she grows older.

When all of your child's primary teeth have come in (usually around age 2 1/2) your dentist may start applying topical fluoride during your child's visits. Fluoride hardens the tooth enamel, helping to ward off the most common childhood oral disease, dental caries, or cavities. Bacteria and food that are left on the teeth after eating cause cavities. When these are not brushed away, acid collects on a tooth, softening its enamel until a hole - or cavity - forms. Regular use of fluoride toughens the enamel, making it more difficult for acid to penetrate.

If the water supply is not fluoridated, or if your family uses purified water, ask your dentist for fluoride supplements. Even though most toothpaste contains fluoride, toothpaste alone will not fully protect a child's mouth. Be careful, however, since too much fluoride can cause tooth discoloration. Check with your dentist before supplementing.

Discoloration can also occur as a result of prolonged use of antibiotics, as some children's medications contain a large amount of sugar. Parents should encourage children to brush after they take their medicine, particularly if the prescription will be long-term.

Brushing at least twice a day and routine flossing will help maintain a healthy mouth. Children as young as age 2 or 3 can begin to use toothpaste when brushing, as long as they are supervised. Children should not ingest large amounts of toothpaste - a pea-sized amount for toddlers is just right. Parents should always make sure the child spits the toothpaste out, instead of swallowing.

As your child's permanent teeth grow in, his or her dentist can help seal out decay by applying a thin wash of resin to the back teeth, where most chewing occurs. Known as a sealant, this protective coating keeps bacteria from settling in the hard-to-reach crevices of the molars.

Although dental research has resulted in increasingly sophisticated preventative techniques, including fillings and sealants that seep fluoride, a dentist's care is only part of the equation. Follow-up at home plays an equally important role. For example, the sealants on a child's teeth do not mean that he or she can eat sweets uncontrollably or slack off on the daily brushing and flossing - parents must work with children to teach good oral health habits.

If you are prone to tooth decay or gum disease, your child may be at higher risk as well. Therefore, sometimes even the most diligent brushing and flossing will not prevent a cavity. Be sure to call your dentist if your child complains of pain in his or her teeth. The pain could be a sign of a cavity that needs to be treated.

New materials have given the pediatric dentist more filling and repair options than ever before. Silver remains the substance of choice for the majority of fillings in permanent teeth. Other materials, such as composite resins, also are gaining popularity. Composite resins bond to the teeth so the filling won't pop out, and they can be used to rebuild teeth damaged through injury or conditions such as cleft palate.

Tooth-colored resins are also more attractive. But in cases of fracture, extensive decay, or malformation of baby teeth, dentists often opt for stainless steel crowns. Crowns maintain the tooth while preventing the decay from spreading.

As your child grows older, you may be concerned about his or her bite and the straightness of his or her teeth. Orthodontic treatment begins earlier now than it once did. What once was a symbol of preteen anguish - a mouth filled with metal wires and braces - has become a relic of the past. Kids as young as age 7 are now sporting corrective appliances. Efficient, plastic-based materials have replaced old-fashioned metal contraptions. Dentists now understand that manipulation of teeth at a younger age can be easier and more effective in the long run. Younger children's teeth can be positioned with relatively minor orthodontia, thus preventing major orthodontia later on.

As your child grows, plan on routine dental check-ups anywhere from once every 3 months to once a year, depending on his or her dentist's recommendations. Limiting intake of sugary foods and regular brushing and flossing all contribute to your child's dental health. Your partnership with your child's dentist will help keep your child's teeth healthy and his or her smile beautiful.