What is paediatric dentistry ?
Paediatric dentistry deals with paedodontics a branch of dental medicine dealing with the oral health of children from birth up to adolescence. Ideally, a child should visit the dentist within six months of the first growth of tooth. Advance oral health checkups will assist in the speedy detection of tooth decay. As an age-defined speciality, it provides an insight into preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants, children and adolescents. Paediatric dentistry embraces several techniques that are modified to the distinctive requirements of children. Behavioural guidance and caring for the disabled patient all form a part of the speciality.
The significance of the primary teeth
Also known as deciduous teeth primary teeth develop during the second trimester of the pregnancy just beneath the gums. Between six months and one year, teeth begin to appear above the gums. A set of 20 deciduous baby teeth including four molars on each arch appear by preschool.
Functions of primary teeth
- Development of speech: Speaking is one of the most important aspects of the cognitive development. Primary teeth are positioned appropriately to initiate correct pronunciations.
- Eating: Dietary deficiencies and malnutrition can be a result of underdeveloped or severely decayed primary teeth. Good chewing habits are promoted with good primary teeth.
- Permanent teeth health: Primary teeth are a healthy beginning to permanent teeth.
Primary teeth life-cycle
- Every 6 months: emergence of 4 teeth
- First eruption: lower teeth
- Eruption is generally in pairs
- Girls develop teeth faster than boys
- Features of the primary teeth: milk white in colour, small in size, full eruptions are noticed by 3 years of age
Dr. Renju Anil recommends a dental visit for the child as early as one year of age. She also examines paediatric patients for signs of thumb sucking, sucking on fingers and pacifiers which make the child feel secure but can be a hindrance to the growth of the childs permanent teeth.