Pediatric Dentistry Faq’s

What causes tooth decay in children?

Improper feeding practices in infants, increased intake of sticky and sugary foods, sweetened beverages, poor oral hygiene, decreased salivary flow etc. cause increased acid producing bacteria in the mouth which leads to cavitation. Regular removal of bacteria by proper brushing can help fight cavities.

How does tooth decay look like in children?

Tooth decay can be seen as white or brown spots near the gum line or any of the tooth surfaces in early stages. It can also present as dark brown or black holes or cavities in the tooth. Mild pain and sensitivity can be felt by the child. However, it can be symptomless sometimes making the child unaware of having a cavity.

Can you reverse tooth decay?

Tooth decay at early stages of demineralization can be reversed by application of topical fluoride, pit and fissure sealants etc. But once the decay has progressed beyond this, it cannot be reversed. Decay present in the cavity has to be removed and restored with a filling material. Advanced decay needs root canal therapy or pulp therapy.

What are the signs your child may need a root canal?

Some of the common signs your child may need a root canal is pain or swelling around the associated tooth and gums. Sometimes pus discharge can be seen and child may have a bad taste. Child may also have general malaise, fever and tender or swollen lymph nodes. However, advanced decayed conditions may present symptomless. Clinical evaluation and x rays reveal the stages of tooth decay and confirm the root canal therapy in children.

Is it necessary to do a root canal in baby tooth?

Baby teeth are as important as permanent teeth. It is utmost crucial to treat a decayed baby tooth. Root canal treatment is one of the most common treatments typically performed on decayed teeth.The consequences of not treating an infected baby tooth are infection spreading to other parts, difficulty in chewing and speaking, space loss in the jaw etc.

What is a root canal on baby tooth called?

Root canal treatment in baby tooth is called as Pulpectomy. Pulpectomy is performed to save an infected tooth from being extracted. It is a procedure of complete removal of pulp and infected tissue from crown and root portions. Once pulpectomy is done, entire root canal system is cleaned, shaped and filled with resorbable material. After this, crown portion is filled or restored with stainless steel or tooth colored crown.

What are pit and fissure sealants?

Pits and fissures are usually present on the back teeth. Sometimes, they are very deep making the child difficult to clean those areas. As a result decay may start in them due to entrapped food. In high caries risk children, dentist may seal the pits and fissures present on the teethby forming a barrier between surface of the teeth and bacteria using resin based sealant materialand prevent the teeth from decay.

Will my child have pain during and after pulpectomy?

Pulpectomy procedure is made as painless and safe as possible. Local anesthesia is given to make the treated tooth numb. So no pain is experienced by the child during pulpectomy. During this procedure, as whole of the infected pulp tissue is removed, minimal pain is experienced by the child after the procedure.

How long do pit and fissure sealants last?

Pit and fissure sealants generally last for many years and can be replaced if required. Sealant failure may occur if improper bonding has occurred due to contamination during sealant application or if decay was already present or has started under these pits and fissures.A regular checkup every 6-12 months is recommended by the dentists to monitor the sealant loss and tooth decay.

Is sedation dentistry really safe?

Yes, it is definitely safe when administered by a trained dentist.Nitrous oxide sedation is safest in both adults and children.

However, the use of any form of sedation in children presents added challenges to the clinician. During sedation, a child’s responses are more unpredictable than that of adults. Their proportionally smaller bodies are less tolerant to sedative agents and they may be easily over-sedated. The decision to sedate a child requires careful consideration by an experienced team.A trained member of the dental team must be responsible for and monitor the patient throughout this period.

Like any other procedures, it also has some contraindications like few medical conditions, unaccompanied patients, prolonged treatments, lack of proper equipment, inadequate personnel etc. 

Are there any side effects with nitrous oxide sedation technique?

Nausea and vomiting are the common side effects with the use of Nitrous oxide. This can be avoided to some extent by the use of rubber dam. Usually, caused by the fluctuating levels of concentration of nitrous oxide and so changes should be kept to minimum.

My child’s tooth has come out. What should I do?

Foremost thing you need to do is ‘Do not Panic’. Make child rinse his mouth with water and then apply cold compression to arrest bleeding and reduce swelling. Do not worry to find the lost tooth as in most cases dentist may not replant or attach a baby tooth in its position. If it is a permanent tooth, there are chances that your dentist may replant it. It is always better to store the knocked out tooth in milk and seek dental treatment as early as possible.

Are dental x-rays safe for children?

There is only little risk involved with dental x-rays. With the use of lead aprons and high speed films amount of radiation exposure is kept minimal.

What can I do to provide relief for my child during teething?

You can try some home remedies to soothe their gums. Clean your fingers and gently massage the gums. You can give some teething toys to chew on. You can make your child bite on a cold cloth to relieve pressure and swelling. Consult your pediatric dentist if your child suffers from severe teething disorders.