The most common question encountered by dentists in clinical practice pertaining to little children is, “Is it necessary to get the dental treatment done for such a young kid?” Little do they realize that their little ones have many dynamic changes going on every day in their mouths, which require special attention, lots of care and regular maintenance of hygiene. Also, parents always wish to know that why is it mandatory to maintain the primary dentition, when they are supposed to fall off naturally and make way for a new set of teeth. So here are a few points that can help parents in understanding and realizing the need for dental evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment for their children.
Dental treatment is in itself a fear-invoking phenomenon in children as well as adults, most of which can be attributed to a subjective fear where a feeling suggested by others creates a perception of immense pain and discomfort. Family members, friends or even newspaper advertisements can be instrumental in developing this fear. However, avoiding a dental check-up due to such fear can lead to consequences of dental decay progression. And most commonly, the child is taken to a dentist when he/she begins experiencing pain. Since the time when teeth appear in the child’s mouth, i.e. from 6-7 months, the risk of developing cavities in them arises. This is due to the development of various types of bacteria in the areas surrounding the tooth. Hence, it is always recommended to begin cleaning and brushing a child’s teeth right since the appearance of the first tooth itself.
Apart from tooth decay, other developmental changes also require evaluation. Proper alignment of teeth in a child’s mouth is essential for normal development and growth of the jaws. Some children have improperly aligned teeth during their growing years. The crooked alignment eventually gets self-corrected with the increase in the size of jaws. But in some cases, it can require the intervention of the dentist. Neglecting the improper tooth alignment issues in a child can further lead to dental as well as skeletal defects in a child.
In some children, certain developmental aberrations can also be observed. Deficiency of fluoride can be spotted by a dentist and prompt treatment can be rendered to improve the condition right from its start. Any delay due to neglect in observation of a fluoride deficiency can make the teeth weak and prone to dental decay. Early diagnosis and treatment of various oral diseases and conditions in children like defects in tooth mineralization is an important part of pediatric dentistry. Any signs of an oral manifestation of a systemic disease or disorder can also be diagnosed first by the dentist during dental evaluation itself.
A child’s mouth undergoes various changes continuously; whereas an adult’s oral conditions are comparatively stable. Hence, a visit to the dentist can aid in ensuring a proper growth and development of teeth for the child and make way for a perfectly healthy smile. A positive impact of oral care goes a long way in instilling awareness and a good attitude towards dental health and hygiene for children.