Pediatric dentistry (pedodontics) is the general name of treatment methods for dental and oral health suitable for all stages of childhood. All methods preferred in pedodontics are preferred by adhering to physiological and psychological developments that vary depending on the age ranges of children; These treatment methods cover the period from the time when the deciduous teeth started to have erupted until the adolescence. The primary goal of pedodontics is to ensure that the deciduous teeth that last before permanent teeth are kept in a healthy mouth; If deciduous teeth are unhealthy or lost, it is important to take precautions in order not to risk the health of permanent teeth. In other words, pedodontics aims to maintain the health of deciduous teeth and to keep permanent teeth healthy in the mouth.
The Importance of Deciduous Teeth
Deciduous teeth, which begin to erupt within the first six months of infancy, accompany individuals in childhood until permanent teeth erupted take their place in the mouth. In this regard, deciduous teeth can be permanent, even if they are not permanent, either because of the duty they undertake during the development period and because they shape the existence and alignment of permanent teeth that will be erupted.
On the general acceptance, deciduous teeth erupt in the 5 to 6 months and the stay until the permanent teeth take their place in the mouth between 24 and 30 months. There are many skills gained during childhood; such as chewing and speaking. For all these functions to develop completely, a healthy mouth and teeth structure is required. The problems experienced in terms of oral health will also hinder the development and functioning of these capabilities. Physiological disorders that occur during childhood may cause psychological traumas in children who are about to be adults. Especially the problems experienced in terms of oral health and aesthetics have a determinative impact in terms of the aesthetic integrity of the face, which may be the reason psychological problems such as lack of self-confidence, shyness and anxiety children.
If deciduous teeth are broken, decayed, or lost for some reason, nutritional problems will arise; Developmental problems may be seen in cases where nutrition is inadequate which have a crucial effect on physiological development. Because malnutrition leads to an improper development process. One of the most important duties of deciduous teeth is guiding permanent teeth. Here, there is a social misunderstanding about the issue: the statement that ‘Deciduous teeth are not permanent and not cared about too much’ is a mistake and causes huge problems related to oral health,. However, deciduous teeth maintain the eruption of the permanent teeth and act as a guide for them to be kept in the mouth. By keeping the deciduous teeth in a healthy mouth, permanent teeth are positioned properly and the desired tooth alignment is provided. However, if the deciduous teeth are lost earlier than expected, the other teeth slide towards the gap created by the missing tooth and as a result, the tooth alignment is impaired. The permanent teeth coming from after deciduous teeth cannot be positioned properly under these conditions and the general alignment of the teeth is lost.
The Problem of Early Loss of Deciduous Teeth
In a research carried out at Ankara University, it was determined that 87% of five thousand patients who received orthodontic braces treatment had orthodontic problems due to early loss of deciduous teeth. As a result of this research, it clearly shows us the importance of deciduous teeth and proves that what extent permanent teeth are affected by the fate of the deciduous teeth. In a way, we can say that deciduous teeth are an important factor in determining the fate of permanent teeth.
Treatment Methods for Deciduous Teeth
Overall our clinical approach is primarily to explain the importance of deciduous teeth to parents and encourage them to take the necessary care to protect the existence of deciduous teeth. However, in case of decay in deciduous teeth or loss for any reason, it becomes essential to fill the cavity with a method called “placeholder” to prevent the alignment abnormality of the other teeth. In this way, the position of the other teeth and the future permanent teeth are maintained. Otherwise, braces may be required in the majority of children who have been exposed to such problems in the future. Another application is the so-called “fissure sealant” for preventing the formation of caries and plaque on the tooth surfaces.
Thanks to this method, both the deciduous teeth are protected and caries that may occur during the application of the permanent teeth are prevented.
Dental Care in Children
Children cannot provide efficient dental care in terms of both cognitive and hand ability. For this reason, it will be a necessary and healthy approach for parents to undertake dental care of their children, especially in the period up to 5 years old. It is useful to clean the mouth, as food residues will accumulate in the mouth during the transition period from breast milk to solid foods, especially during infancy.
In addition to helping children, the best thing to do is to teach them proper dental care and oral hygiene. Children with this care will be more elaborate individuals regarding dental care as well as individuals without bias in terms of dental treatments and dentist examination. It will be useful to introduce children with the dentist at the age of 1 to enlighten and educate them about improper applications. In particular, parents should be warned against baby bottle decays. Another proper approach that supports this dental care is to introduce children with a dentist at the age of 3-4 years. It is also important to bring children to routine dental visits at the age of 3-4 for preventive measures. In this process, parents are advised to brush their children’s teeth with automatic toothbrushes. Toothpaste produced for children is also important for dental care.
While the parents are guided by the dentist with the proper practices, the children will grow without prejudgment against any future dental treatment and have no fear of dentist. Again, the fissure sealant treatment will act as a shield against dental decays that may occur in childhood