Pediatric Orthodontics is the branch of Orthodontics which focuses on achieving a healthy environment with regards to the positioning of and developing dental structures as well as oral hygiene for babies, children, and teenagers. These specialists focus on therapeutic and preventative measures related to the principles of teeth formation and growth for infants and children. The importance of psychology in this discipline is of the highest importance as children need to co-operate, participate, and understand the treatment that is being administered. Taking this into account the Pediatric Orthodontist plays a fundamental role in the oral health of the future adult.
Oral health starts at home, and for this reason the Pediatric Orthodontist needs to give advice and recommendations to the parents in order for them to follow the correct oral hygiene for their children, like correct methods for brushing teeth, using toothpaste that contains fluorine, the correct use of dental floss, a well-balanced diet, how to avoid certain habits that effect their dental health, etc.
The first visit to Pediatric Orthodontist
The ideal time for the first visit to the Pediatric Orthodontist is within the first few months after birth, this way parents can be educated and guided towards some of the common issues that affect the dental structure of their children such as cavities, dental erosion, trauma, nutritive and nonnutritive suction habits. From this first visit, and depending on the indications given by the Orthodontist, parents should continue their visits every six months or on an annual basis, in order to control the maxillary growth and the correct occlusion and development of teeth; with this they are able to detect and treat timeously misalignments/malocclusions such as open, crossed or over bites.
The coming out of milk teeth
These teeth which are normally formed within the fifth week of gestation, usually appear in the mouth of the child after six months from birth and form the first dental structure which is generally completed around two and a half years of age.
When a milk tooth is preparing to emerge the gums generally start to inflame, this can cause certain aggravations in the baby such as: irritability, increase in salivation, refusal to eat, disturbed sleep. For those babies that show signs of pain related to the outset of milk teeth there are a number of effective methods that can help control the irritation, some of these are: massaging the gums with a wet gauze, silicone thimbles for babies, teethers or cold fruit.
Oral Hygene in children
From the eruption of the first tooth they must be brushed with a small toothbrush that has smooth bristles and a small quantity of toothpaste that contains fluorine (1000ppm). The quantities of toothpaste should be applied as follows: babies from 0-2 years should have the quantity that is less than half a grain of rice, 2-4 years the size of a grain of raw rice, and those older than 4 years should have the size of a pea. The quantity of fluorine depends on the age and the risk of cavities of the child.
The brushing technique needs a certain ability and for this, kids should always be aided by an adult until 7 years, and then supervised until adolescence. It is recommended that teeth are brushed at least 3 times a day with the most important being before bed.
The most common dental ailments
Cavities are a dental illness/ailment, that is caused when the bacteria found in the mouth produces acid and attacks the surface of the teeth, causing damage to the enamel, dentine, and/or the nerves.
Dental Cavities are also more common in children, 3 out of 10 kids younger than 6 years of age have cavities and 70% of children younger than 3 years have never visited an Orthodontic Pediatrician, this highlights the importance of having a revision sooner than later as cavities can affect the general health of children, which can alter their behavior and effect their quality of life.
Falls and accidents are quite common in infants and children and can be a very unpleasant experience for both youngsters and their parents. There are different types of dental injuries, some of which can affect the formation of the teeth structure on a permanent basis. The best process to follow, should any injuries occur, is to immediately contact your dentist to examine the extent of the damage and to apply the necessary treatment.