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Pedodontics (Pediatric Dentistry)

Paedodontics (Pediatric Dentistry), is a field of dentistry which begins with preventive dentistry applications, followed by the treatment of milk and permanent teeth of all kinds, teeth traumas and treatment. Pediatric treatment requires special attention. Knowing the child psychology well, familiarizing them to the dentist chair without scaring them, informing them about oral hygiene and assuring that they live with healthy teeth and gums throughout their lives are essential to Pediatric Dentistry. If the child becomes afraid of the dentist for the first time, this bad experience can affect them for the rest of their lives and this can carry onto adulthood, thus causing them to be afraid of going to the dentist. First experience is always very important. For this reason, parents are asked to bring their children to their appointments. Children who have never been to a dentist can watch and observe as their parents get their treatments, thus relieving them of anxiety and fear.

The Significance of Milk Teeth in Children

Primary function of milk teeth is facilitating a proper diet. Besides, proper speech ability development depends on the presence of milk teeth. Parents ignore the importance of milk teeth because of the fact that they are temporary. This leads to negligence of their oral hygiene, causing tooth decay. It should not be forgotten that untreated milk tooth decay causes pain, bad odor, trouble with mastication, malnutrition and unesthetic image. Untreated teeth malformations may lead to crowding, jawbone anomalies and general health conditions in the future.

• There are 20 milk teeth.
• It is normal for milk teeth to have space between them in order to provide space for permanent teeth.
• Tooth decay can occur on milk teeth. It is essential to treat tooth decay.
• If the milk teeth are inflamed, root canal treatment should be employed. The tooth has to be extracted if the tooth is nonresponsive to root canal treatment.
• If the milk teeth are extracted before their time, permanent teeth won't have enough space to fit in.

All the necessary treatments for children are applied by the paedodontists. Maintaining good oral and dental hygiene is possible by keeping a regular schedule of appointments every 6 months. During these follow-ups, all kinds of problems affecting oral and dental hygiene can be found. The key point here is early diagnosis and treatment. Early diagnosis will have a positive impact on the child's physical and emotional development.

First examination on a child patient begins with communication between the dental professional and the child along with their parents. After the initial meeting, patient's medical and dental history is taken. Afterwards, clinical and radiographical examination is performed. Following the examination, the patient and their family are informed about the diagnosis and treatment plan. Pedodontists implement various methods in order to protect milk and permanent teeth from several dental conditions such as tooth decay and periodontal diseases. These methods include; teaching the concept of oral hygiene, get the child to adopt the habit of brushing, systemic and topical flouride applications, application of fissure sealants.

Flouride Applications

Considered as the most effective form of treatment in preventive dentistry, flouride applications can be employed on healthy individuals, patients who are prone to tooth decay, for sensitivity and erosion treatment and on patients who need special care because of their systemic conditions. Treatment's frequency and doses may vary according to the patient's age and risk of tooth decay.

Fissure Sealants

Recesses and grooves on molar teeth's biting surfaces create regions for food to stick and stay in. Tooth decay starts in these regions which are hard to clean up.

The fissure sealant provides a surface that's easy to brush and also forms a shield which keeps food and bacteria from getting into the grooves in the teeth and causing tooth decay. Following the clinical applications, it is reported that tooth decay is decreased by 70%-80%.

Space Maintainers

Milk teeth have a vital role in your child's facial and jawbone development. Some of the milk teeth have to stay in the mouth until the age of 12. However, all milk teeth is replaced by permanent teeth at this age. It is quite difficult for milk teeth to survive upto this age if they were not protected properly. Even the loss of milk teeth may cause serious orthodontic conditions in the future. Various treatments are applied for preserving the milk teeth. Filling and root canal treatments can be applied to milk teeth just like adults. Nevertheless, the space left by prematurely lost milk teeth due to trauma or decay has to be preserved with space maintainers. When the milk teeth is lost prematurely, two conditions can be observed until the permanent teeth erupts; the teeth surrounding the extraction area may be crooked or fill the area by turning. This can lead to teeth eruption from a different spot or stay buried. Teeth in front of the extraction area may extend to this space. Space maintainers can be manufactured from metal or plastic. Fixed or removable space maintainers are prepared according to the number of prematurely lost milk teeth and their localization. After the impression is taken by the dentist, the technician prepares the space maintainer in the lab. Afterwards, the prepared space maintainer is attuned to the patient by the dentist. Patient uses the space maintainer under dental professional supervision and the maintainer is removed when the milk teeth begins erupting.