Helpful Tips to Prevent Cavities:
1. Ask your dentist about Fluoride supplements for your child
2. Do Not put your child to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, or any other sugary liquid to prevent baby bottle caries.
3. Pick healthy snack options like fruits and vegetables, instead of sweet and starchy ones like chips and cookies.
4. Avoid stocking your pantry with sweet and starchy snacks; only buy them for "special" occasions.
5. Give your child a balanced meal so their body does not crave any one food type; and save sugars and starch for meal times.
First Dental Visit
Your child's first dental visit should coincide with the first tooth erupting in their mouth. This gives us a chance to educate you on how to instill good oral hygiene habits from day one, which will prevent tooth and gum disease in the future. Introducing your child to the unfamiliar environment of a dental clinic at this early age helps keep any anxieties and fears at bay. Follow up visits every 6 months ensure that your child grows up accepting regular dental care as an important part of a healthy lifestyle. They also ensure that your child grows up being comfortable with strangers working in a private and sensitive area like their mouth.
Brushing and Flossing
You should start brushing your baby's gums with a soft cloth or tooth brush after every feed, and carry on to brush their teeth as soon as they erupt in the mouth. For the initial two years of their life you can continue to brush their teeth without any toothpaste, or with children's tooth paste, which has no fluoride in it. Once your child is comfortable with rinsing and spitting, you can start using fluoridated tooth paste. Start flossing your child's teeth with floss sticks (as they are easy to manipulate for those tiny hands), as soon as they have a full set of teeth. Introducing flossing at this tender age allows it to become a part of their daily routine just like brushing and bathing.
Most children go through a phase of pacifier and/or thumb sucking habit in the first 2 years of their life, which they gradually grow out of. If this habit persists beyond 5 years of age it should be strongly be discouraged by the parents as it will start to affect the normal course of development of your child's upper jaw bone and erupting adult teeth, which can only be corrected at a later stage with orthodontic treatment. This is also part of the reason why we recommend weaning your baby off of breast milk by the age of one.
Root Canal Treatment (RCT)
YES! We do root canal treatment on primary (baby) teeth. This is because it is very important to NOT extract baby teeth, and to keep them in the mouth until they are ready to fall out on their own. Premature extraction of baby teeth (without any space maintenance) can have disastrous effects on the eruption sequence and position of the adult teeth. Also, infections from baby teeth can affect the normal grown and development of the underlying adult teeth making them stained, pitted or weaker, i.e. less resistant to acid attack from bacteria and, therefore, more prone to decay. Root canal treatment (RCT) in baby teeth may vary. Depending on the extent of decay, we may choose to do a partial (pulpotomy) or a complete (pulpectomy) RCT.
Stainless Steel Crown (SSC)
A baby tooth that has had a considerable amount of tooth loss due to a large cavity and/or has been root canal treated will need to have SSC coverage to prevent any risks of fracture of the tooth.
These are fixed appliances which do exactly what the name suggests: they 'hold space'. There are occasions when we need to remove a baby tooth much earlier than its destined time to fall out of the mouth. In such cases, it is critical to use a space maintainer to hold the space open for the adult tooth, underlying the baby tooth that has been extracted, to come out. Non-placement, or untimely placement of space maintainers can prove to be disastrous as the teeth sitting behind the tooth that has been extracted usually shift forward at an angle that blocks out the underlying adult tooth from erupting into its natural position. This tooth then ends up either erupting wherever it finds some room, or not erupting at all (i.e. it remains impacted in bone). This in turn ensures future orthodontic treatment for the child.