Pedodontics (Pediatric Dentistry) is a department that aims to protect the milk and permanent teeth of 0-13 age group children in a healthy way, and to eliminate the problems caused by caries, trauma, hereditary and similar factors in these teeth.
In this period, pedodontics perform all kinds of preventive and therapeutic treatments and preventive applications according to the oral health needs of babies, children and young people.
Importance of Milk Teeth
Milk teeth are 20 in total. The primary task of milk teeth is to ensure that the child is nourished. In addition, the proper development of speech depends on the presence of milk teeth. Milk teeth protect the area they cover for the permanent tooth that will replace them and guide it while erupting permanent teeth. When the deciduous tooth is extracted early, this natural placeholding function disappears.
The primary goal of pediatric dentistry is to take precautions to prevent dental problems from occurring and to direct children to a future without caries. The procedures performed for this purpose are called Preventive Dentistry Applications.
Great importance is attached to educating the child and his family about oral and dental health and nutrition within the protective practices aimed at preventing tooth decay. Protective dentistry applications include superficial fluoride and fissure sealants.
In early milk tooth losses, appliances called placeholders are used to protect the place of the permanent tooth that will come from the bottom. Placeholders are appliances that prevent the neighboring teeth from moving into the extraction cavity, thus preventing the permanent tooth from being impacted or coming out of a different place, thus preventing future orthodontic disorders.
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Since the structure of milk teeth is less calcified than permanent teeth, they decay more quickly in the face of decay factors. The decay progresses more quickly. Therefore, when caries are detected in children, they should be treated immediately. Since the materials are very developed today, the decay is cleaned and filled with suitable materials. With the diagnosis of caries at the initial stage, the procedure will be both fast and painless, and the child patient will not have fear of a dentist.
After the baby is 6 months old, the first milk teeth start to erupt in the mouth. When the baby reaches the age of 6-7, the first permanent tooth begins to erupt. The period between 6-12 years of age of the child is called the mixed dentition period. During this period, there are both milk and permanent teeth in the mouth, and tooth changes are experienced according to the falling period. Generally, after the age of 12, all deciduous teeth in the mouth have fallen off and permanent teeth (except the 3rd molar) have erupted. The permanent teeth that will come from the bottom of the milk teeth must remain in the mouth until the eruption time. If there is a loss of milk teeth before its time, the remaining teeth in the mouth slide into the space and prevent the permanent teeth that will come from below. In this case, the individual’s teeth alignment deteriorates, and aesthetic and functional disorders can be seen. It causes more complicated orthodontic treatments in the future. For these reasons, it is very important to take care of the milk teeth and keep them in the mouth.
The chewing surface of the teeth is an area with deep indentations and is very susceptible to food accumulation. The first permanent molars last at the age of 6. Generally, the teeth have the highest rate of decay since the child cannot perform oral care effectively and is structurally prone to decay. If left untreated, root canal treatment or even extraction is performed at an early age. Especially in order to protect these teeth (can be applied to all other teeth), it is necessary to apply the fissure sealant, which is an easy to apply, painless procedure from the first time the tooth erupts. It is both a preventive application and a recommended preventive treatment as it will be a painless procedure for the child to meet the physician.
The most important task of the family is to keep the tooth surfaces clean when the baby starts erupting. During infancy, teeth can be wiped with a clean cheesecloth. When the child is 2.5-3 years old, they should be encouraged to brush with a small toothbrush suitable for their mouth and a small amount of child paste. It should also limit sugary food intake and shift sugary food intake to main meals. Especially, oral care before going to bed at night is very important in preventing caries. It is beneficial to meet the dentist at an early age.