The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that between 60 and 90 per cent of children are affected by dental caries.
Marcela Barreto, Dentist at DentalZorg Dubai, says caries are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood and while unusual, even someone as young as two may need intervention, including a root canal.
What are the most common reasons for caries in kids?
“The bacteria in the plaque will feast on sugars and fermentable carbohydrates and use them to multiply, grow and metabolise it into acids that demineralise tooth structures.
“Baby teeth have thinner enamel when compared to permanent teeth, meaning that caries can grow deeper and faster on them.”
To prevent it, doctors recommend brushing and flossing on the daily alongside a well-balanced diet.
How often should a child brush? And when should they start?
US-based Johns Hopkins University lists the following symptoms that point to tooth decay in children:
- White spots begin to form on the teeth in areas affected. These spots mean that the enamel is starting to break down. They may lead to early sensitivity in the teeth.
- An early cavity appears on the tooth. It has a light brown colour.
- The cavity becomes deeper. It turns a darker shade of brown to black.
The website adds: The symptoms of tooth decay and cavities vary from child to child. Cavities don’t always cause symptoms. Sometimes children don’t know they have one until their dentist finds it. But your child may feel:
- Pain in the area around the tooth
- Sensitivity to certain foods, such as sweets and hot or cold drinks
Barreto says, “Root canals are sometimes needed for younger children. A baby tooth can be deeply damaged, beyond being restorable by filling only. This can happen either by deep caries or fractures and accidents. In these cases, a root canal can be required to help the baby teeth, giving the teeth enough time to fall out on their own.
Root canals are sometimes needed for younger children. A baby tooth can be deeply damaged, beyond being restorable by filling only. This can happen either by deep caries or fractures and accidents.
– Marcela Barreto
What does a root canal do?
How long does a root canal for a baby take?
Patients may need some time between visits so the area can heal before the canals are filled. “Then the root canal is cleaned, shaped, disinfected and filled. X-rays may be needed during and after the treatment to check if the roots are properly filled,” she says.
Talking to a child about a root canal
Step 2: Explain in an age-appropriate manner: “Talk to your kid about the procedure and why it is needed, helping your child to understand what will happen. Explain that there will be a medicine that prevents pain,” she adds.
What are the medicines my child will be given?
What’s the aftercare like?
She recommends regular visits to the dentist to keep an eye on things.
How often should a child visit the dentist?
Your teeth may tell you about your mum’s pregnancy
The university’s press release states that senior author Erin C. Dunn, ScD, MPHD developed a hypothesis that the width of one variety in particular, called the neonatal line (NNL), might serve as an indicator of whether an infant’s mother experienced high levels of psychological stress during pregnancy (when teeth are already forming) and in the early period following birth. Several clear patterns emerged. Children whose mothers had lifetime histories of severe depression or other psychiatric problems, as well as mothers who experienced depression or anxiety at 32 weeks of pregnancy, were more likely than other kids to have thicker NNLs. Meanwhile, children of mothers who received significant social support shortly after pregnancy tended to have thinner NNLs.
Marcela Barreto, Dentist at DentalZorg Dubai, explains: “The cortisol (stress) hormone released during pregnancy might cause mental disorders in the future for the kid and also interfere with creating the baby’s teeth enamel, that’s the reason it’s possibly detected. This subject should be more investigated before we can have any conclusions.”
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