A guide about dental treatments for children

 

What is Pulp Therapy or Root Canal Treatment?

The ‘dental pulp’ is the inner central core of the tooth. It contains nerves, blood vessels, tissue and cells. Decay, if left untreated, progresses towards the dental pulp and infects it, causing it to disease and degenerate. Trauma to the teeth due to a child falling can cause similar damage to the dental pulp.

The purpose of pulp therapy in Pediatric Dentistry is to treat the affected tooth and restore it back to its healthy and functional state. Pulp therapy is often referred to as a “nerve treatment” or ” root canal treatment”.

As the name suggests, Root Canal Treatment is cleaning and disinfecting the canals within the roots of the teeth, thereby removing the infected, degenerated pulp tissue. Once the canals are cleaned, the empty canal spaces within the root are filled and a crown placed over the tooth.

 

Is it necessary in young children?

If a milk (or deciduous) tooth is left untreated, the child can experience severe pain and develop a swelling in the gums or on the face. The infection will travel to the new permanent tooth that is growing below the roots of the infected deciduous tooth, thereby damaging it.

Broken and decayed teeth also means that the child will be unable to chew food properly resulting in general health related problems. Further, loss of a deciduous tooth will result in loss of space for the permanent teeth, leading to crowding and irregularly placed permanent teeth.

 

What are braces (Orthodontic Treatment), when should my child get them?

Developing malocclusions (or bad bites) can be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. Often, early steps can be taken to reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment at a later age.

Stage I – Early Treatment: This period of treatment encompasses ages 2 to 6 years. It deals with space maintenance when there is premature loss of milk teeth.

Stage II – Mixed Dentition: This period covers the ages of 6 to 11 years. At this young age, we are concerned with correction of harmful habits such as finger or thumb sucking, lip biting, tongue thrusting, mouth breathing, underdeveloped jaw structures, excessive crowding and improper jaw relationships.  This is an excellent stage to start treatment, when indicated, as your child’s hard and soft tissues are usually very responsive (due to growth spurts) to orthodontic or orthopedic forces.

Stage III – Permanent Dentition: This period covers the age of 12 years and above and deals with the permanent teeth and the development of the final bite relationship.

 

What is a Mouth Guard?

When children participate in recreational activities and organized sports, injuries can occur. A properly fitted mouth guard (or mouth protector) is an important piece of athletic gear that can help protect your child’s smile, and should be used during any contact sport that could result in a blow to the face or mouth.

Mouth guards help prevent broken teeth, and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. A properly fitted mouth guard will stay in place while your child is wearing it, making it easy for them to talk and breathe.

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