You would take your little one to a paediatrician when they are down with a cold, stomach bug or the flu. Similarly you should consider the paediatrician of the teeth for your little one when they have tooth issues.
A paediatric dentist is the paediatrician for your child’s teeth. According to international guidelines children should visit a dentist at 6 months of age or by their first birthday. This allows parents to learn about the needed oral care for their child. For starters, infants also need their mouths cleaned after each feed. This allows for the habit of mouth cleaning to develop early on, allowing future oral care to be smooth. Small circular motions around the child’s teeth is a preferred tooth brushing technique; also learning to rinse after toothbrushing is a skill a child tooth specialist can help you with.
Around 6 months is also when your child gets their first tooth. Using cool teethers, providing gum massage care and other natural soothing techniques can allay your child’s teething pains. Having a dentist on speed dial will help you during this phase of your child’s life. Milk teeth start erupting once solid “whole” foods are started. As milk teeth erupt they transform the way the child looks. These growth guiding teeth allow space to be maintained up until the permanent teeth are ready to erupt. Milk teeth also help with speech. Dentists specialise in treatments to prevent decay by providing guides to re-mineralising agents (calcium-containing toothpastes) to help teeth maintain their strength; help with delayed tooth eruption with diet changes and correct wrong oral habits with exercises.
By age 3 children have their entire set of milk teeth. A visit at this age is essential if not done earlier. This is because it allows dentists to alert parents for any chance of crooked teeth, underlying mouth breathing habits or possible dental decay. Apart from this, kids also need professional teeth cleaning to remove stains and prevent possible bad breath due to tartar/plaque deposits.
Apart from teething and oral care, dentists can help breastfeeding mums too. While breast feeding if the mother faces a painful latch, cracked nipples or mastitis; a tongue or lip tie could be the cause of this. Some babies are born with a tight/short band of tissue tugging under their lips or/and tongue. This prevents them from breastfeeding correctly. Treating these conditions with exercises, correct feeding positions and minor surgical procedures can help the mother and child to feed painlessly.
Troubles seen during the milk teeth phase when treated early can improve growth patterns and enhance the child’s quality of life. Visiting a child specialist will get you a holistic oral health assessment and your child will find the dental visit to be a happy experience, taking the dental fear out of the equation.
Dr. Ipshita Suyash
BDS,MDSPaediatric dentist, myofunctional & tongue tie expert
Dr. Ipshita Suyash (MDS) is a Holistic paediatric and preventive dentist. She’s not the regular drill fill dentist; as she provides a holistic approach to child’s health. Her expertise in myofunctional therapy and tethered tissue release help kids eat, sleep and breathe better.