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  Children’s odontology

All parents want their children to have healthy teeth and lovely smiles.  One of the main ways to achieve this is by visiting the dentist regularly.  The children’s dentist specialises in preventing and correcting the possible irregularities in the child’s mouth during infancy.

Why is it necessary to treat milk teeth if they are going to fall out? 
Teeth, as we know, are used to masticate food correctly, and this action provides the correct stimulus necessary for the good development of the facial bones.  Teeth enable the child to learn how to pronounce sounds correctly, and together with the facial muscles help him swallow and breathe properly.  They also reserve space for the permanent teeth and guide their breakthrough.
Extensive tooth decay produces infections, pain and discomfort to the child and therefore may result in sleep disturbances, problems eating certain foods etc.  It is essential to ensure that the child’s psychological development is adequate, not allowing his teeth’s aspect to create insecurity and make it hard for him to fit in at school.

When should we first take our child to a dentist? 
The child’s pediatrician will observe the dental and facial development during the periodical visits, and if nothing important is observed, the child should have his first dentists’ appointment when he is four years old.
Parents should always make the child feel secure and calm before new and unknown situations. 

How do we prepare our child for his visit to the dentist?
Above all, avoid making negative comments about the dentist, and never let the child know what is going to take place during the appointment.  Simply explain that the dentist will look at their teeth with a mirror to count how many teeth they have.  More explanations than these are unnecessary, and will only make the child anxious.
Once the dentist has checked the child’s mouth and teeth, he will let the child know if he requires any treatment, using the appropriate language for each age group and using the child’s imagination to make the treatment sound like fun and this way get him to participate and come to the appointments without problems.

What procedures should we take to care for our children’s teeth until they go to the dentist?
Use a damp washcloth to wipe your infant’s gums after each meal as soon as he gets his milk teeth, which usually happens when they are six months old.  Begin using a soft toothbrush instead of a washcloth to clean your child’s teeth progressively, brushing their teeth for them until they are three years old.  After this the child should brush his teeth under his parents supervision until he is fully capable of doing it on his own ( between the ages of six to eight years).
It is not enough to make the child brush his teeth, they should be made to understand that taking care of his teeth is his responsibility and this might be the first discipline we install in our children during their development.
Do not be lax in this are. Children should brush their teeth at least twice a day, before going to school and before going to sleep.  It would even better if they brush their teeth after every meal.  We should not make the mistake of allowing them to get away with not brushing their teeth because they are tired, or as a treat for being good.

My child is five years old, and one of his teeth is moving.  Is this normal?
Usually children start subsitituting their milk teeth for the permanent teeth at the age of six, but this does not mean that the process cannot start earlier or later, without any cause or important consequence.  Therefore, if a tooth starts to move in a natural and physiological way, is not decayed and has not received a hard knock, the movement is completely normal.  Do not worry if your child’s teeth start moving before or after his brother’s or school mates, but if in doubt, speak to your child’s dentist.

My child’s teeth are crooked, but I have heard that they cannot wear braces until all the milk teeth have been replaced.
This is incorrect and many times children come to the dentist when treatments are more complicated and sometimes the results are less than desired.
During  the children’s growth the position of their teeth should be checked, especially the way their facial bones are developing.  The jawbone’s development should be correct to ensure that the upper and lower teeth are correctly aligned and the bite is correct.  The ideal age to check if the child needs braces is the age of six.

Are there bad habits that could affect our children’s facial or dental development ?
Definitely.  Allowing a child to use a pacifier after age two can provoke irregularities for the development of the mouth, teeth and facial bones, even affecting their smile.  The same problems arise if they suck their thumb, a habit that can also generate a deviation of the septum if the child rests his hand on his nose while doing it.  Breathing through the mouth is also a frequent habit which the pediatrician should know about and control.

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