Pedodontics (dental treatments for children)
1) DENTAL SEALING
What is dental sealing?
Dental sealing is not a real therapy. It’s a procedure to prevent dental caries. Teeth present grooves on their chewing surface. If the child is still not able to brush his/her teeth properly, food accumulates and become trapped into these grooves leading to caries development. Sealing consists in brushing the grooves carefully, eliminating all food traces, and covering them with a sort of “paint” that seals them. In such a way, food cannot enter the grooves anymore and teeth are protected from caries development.
When shall I have the teeth of my child sealed?
Usually sealing is performed on permanent molars, when they have erupted completely. Commonly first molars are sealed between 6 and 7 years of age, second molars between 11 and 12.
Other teeth different than molars may be sealed if the specialist, noting the child is predisposed to suffer from caries (caries-prone), will advise to do so.
Is it true that there is no need to treat caries on primary teeth, since they are destined to be changed?
That is not true. It depends on which tooth suffers from caries. Primary incisive teeth (the ones in the front of the arch) are the first that are changed, at about 6 years of age. Usually these teeth are not treated, because they are changed early. Primary molars are posterior. These ones, instead, must be treated since they are changed between 10 and 12 and, if they are lost too early, may cause the dislocation of permanent molars: a condition for which the child will quite probably have to wear a brace when he/she is older.
How are primary teeth treated?
According to the depth of the caries, devitalization and filling, or filling only will be necessary. Filling is performed with the same aesthetic filling materials used for adults and therefore will be white.
3) DENTAL SPACE MAINTAINERS
If a primary tooth must be extracted since caries have eroded it too much, a space maintainer may be placed to avoid the adjacent teeth to dislocate over time.
What if my child fell hitting a tooth, and what if it has fractured?
- If it is a permanent tooth, try to find the fragment and keep it immersed in some milk or in the child saliva to prevent dehydration.
- Get immediately to the dentist in order to assess the situation and, if possible, restore the fragment in its original position.
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