Healthy Mouth Healthy Body

Concerns Unique To Children

  • Space Maintainers

There are situations where your child might lose baby teeth before the permanent tooth erupts. Space maintainers are designed to “keep space” for the permanent teeth that will eventually erupt. Space maintainers are made up of stainless steel and they are fitted in a way to ensure that there is enough space for the permanent tooth to erupt. When multiple permanent teeth begin to erupt there might not be the right amount of space for them and therefore space maintainers are required to hold open space left by the missing tooth. Space maintainers are removable and can be cemented onto the teeth on either side of the mouth.

There are three types of space maintainers:

  1. Band and Loop – Made from stainless steel, the band and loop maintainer is held tightly by a crown on the tooth next to the empty space. A wire loop is attached to the band or crown which sticks out and keeps space in the area of missing tooth and where the permanent tooth will erupt in the future.
  2. Low Wire – Low wire space maintainers also known as lingual arch is used when tooth at the back of the mouth is missing, especially in the lower jaw.
  3. Distal Shoe Appliance – This type of space maintainer is used when a child loses the baby tooth right in front of the molar tooth that has not developed completely. The space maintainer is inserted in the gum.

In some cases, dentists might find it hard to install space maintainers as children might not cooperate during the process, especially those who have breathing issues or those who are very young. Installing the space maintainers is really important because it can break or might not be fitted perfectly creating further complications.

  • Fissure Sealants

Cavities can lead to lot of dental problems especially to children and therefore parents need to establish good oral habits from a very early stage. Fissure sealant is a better way to protect your child’s teeth from cavity as they act as barriers to cavity-prone areas.The sealant is applied to the chewing area of the tooth and sometimes even in the deeper pits and grooves. The entire process is quick and easy and not discomforting at all. The sealant works like a covering protecting the tooth surface from decay. Many of the teeth at the back of the mouth have fissures that are deep and therefore they are difficult to clean through regular brushing. Food particles and bacteria stick in the fissures and eventually lead to tooth decay. Fissure sealants seal up the grooves and fissures preventing food particles and bacteria to penetrate deeper and create tooth problems. Fissure sealants do not interrupt normal eating process and can be reapplied whenever required.

Fissure Sealants Process

  • The most important thing is to check the fissures before the sealant is applied. The dental professional then cleans the tooth surface and prepares a special solution which is applied to the tooth surface. The coating is applied in a systematic way and no injections and drillings are required which makes the entire sealing procedure pain-free.

When Should You Do It?

Generally, permanent back molars are sealed when the child is around 6 years and above in age. Subsequently, other molars are also sealed as and when they erupt minimizing the chances of tooth decay.

Is Special Care Needed?

Fissure sealants do not need special care, but sealing the teeth does not mean that it does not require brushing. Individuals should brush their teeth regularly with a good toothbrush using a flouride-based toothpaste. IDA recommends you to visit your dentist regularly to keep track of other permanent teeth that need care and attention.

  • Dental Emergencies

Accidents can occur anywhere, any time and therefore you might not be able to predict it, but you can certainly save the teeth of your child in the right way. It is recommended that you vist your dentist when your child requires immediate dental checkup or attention.

  • Bitten Lip or Tongue

Bitten lips or tongue can lead to more bleeding and therefore it is important to clean the lips and tongue gently with water and use a cold compress like a cold wet towel and press it firmly against the wounded area to reduce or avoid swelling.

  • Objects Caught in Between the Teeth

Dental floss is generally recommended to remove the objects caught in between the teeth. It is recommended that you do not use metal, plastic or sharp tools to remove food particles.

  • Knocked Out Tooth

If your child’s tooth has been knocked out you need to visit the dentist immediately. However, if you can find the knocked out tooth you need to find it and rinse it with water (no soap water). Trying placing the tooth back in the socket and hold it in its place with a clean towel/gauze within 15- 20 minutes and call your dentist immediately.

  • Loose Tooth

Loose tooth needs immediate medical attention and therefore you need to consult a dentist before your child swallows the tooth accidentally.

  • Toothache

Toothache issue is quite common and many children complain about the pain in the tooth. The first thing to do is rinse the mouth with warm water and check if there is anything stuck in between the teeth. Use a cold compress to ease the pain. Do not provide your child any topical pain reliever as that can damage the gums. Visit the dentist to inspect the tooth.

  • Broken Jaw

Broken jaw issues need to be taken very seriously and it is important to visit a dentist that can take a look at the broken jaw of your child. To start with you can use a cold compress to reduce swelling. In most cases, it is a result of head injury which can be dangerous and life-threaten.

  • Milk Bottle Syndrome

Milk bottle syndrome also known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Baby Bottle Syndrome or Early Childhood Caries is a condition where baby teeth of an infant child decay rapidly due to intake of liquids containing sugar. The upper front teeth are constantly exposed to sugary liquids that lead to decay. In most case, parents are told that they must wait until the child gets older because the child is too young to get the right treatment. However, all this is false and you need to make sure that your child has baby teeth that are important to chew food and have a healthy smile.

Tooth decay needs immediate attention. Generally, babies fall asleep while they are nursing through a bottle or breast-feeding. The sugary liquid remains around the front teeth. The bacteria in the mouth turn sugars into acid which can cause tooth decay. Common sources of liquid high in sugar are bottle containing infant formula, milk or juice, a pacifier dipped in honey or breast milk.

How to Prevent Milk Bottle Syndrome?

- Brush your child’s teeth daily.

- Never let your child fall asleep with a bottled filled with milk, juice or infant formula.

- Do not allow your child to sip milk or juice bottle for too long.

- Provide your child with plain water when thirsty.

- Give your child flouride needed to prevent tooth decay.

- Consult your dentist and make regular dental appointments.