Pediatric dentistry

Pediatric dentistry

At Oris Dental Clinic our pediatric dentistry service was created in line with two guiding principles. First, the children are only treated by specialist pediatric dentists, rather than general dental practitioners, in order to ensure the dental care they receive is of the very highest quality. And second, we have used behavioral techniques to create a pleasant environment for our youngest patients, in order to ensure the experience of visiting the dentist is a positive one.

Oris’s pediatric dentists are specially trained in this field of dentistry and, as specialists, they are experts in the prevention and treatment of oral and dental problems in children, such as tooth reconstruction.

The dental health of adults largely depends on the maintenance of good dental health from a young age.

Below, we look at some of the most frequent queries we receive in relation to children’s dental health.

How should I look after my baby’s teeth?

Before explaining how to look after your child’s teeth, we should first point out that hormonal changes during pregnancy increase the risk of gum disease for pregnant women. For this reason, it is recommended that pregnant women brush their teeth meticulously at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush, and use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Whenever possible, they should also perform daily interdental cleaning with dental floss. The aim is to prevent disease, because having an X-ray while pregnant carries a risk and should therefore be avoided. Lastly, we recommend that you tell your dentist if you are pregnant, or if there are any changes to the medication you are taking.

Now that we’ve made that clear, let’s talk about dental health in babies. Many parents think that their baby’s teeth don’t need much care because they are milk teeth, and in a few years they will be replaced by “real teeth”. But that’s not true: dental health in babies begins when they are born. In fact, even before your baby has teeth, it is highly recommended that you clean their gums and tongue after every meal, using a piece of gauze to remove any remnants of milk or food.

At what age do the first teeth appear?

At around 6 months, the baby’s two lower central incisors will start to come through. All 20 of the milk teeth will have come through by around 30-36 months, and the child will keep these teeth until the age of 6.

Without a doubt, the natural process of teething is uncomfortable and unpleasant for the baby. The most common symptoms are increased drooling, which can cause mild diarrhea; irritability; sleeping problems; rejection of food; and a tendency to chew on hard objects. Contrary to popular belief, teething does not cause fever: therefore, if your baby has a high temperature, you should take them to the pediatrician in order to determine the cause.

If you see that your baby is in a lot of discomfort due to teething, you can give them a cold object to chew, or use one of the analgesic products available at your local pharmacy. In any case, you must prevent the baby’s gums from being scratched or cut.

When do the adult teeth appear?

Between the ages of 6 and 8, the four upper and lower incisors appear, along with the first molars. Between the ages of 10 and 12, the premolars, canine teeth and the rest of the molars appear. Lastly, around the age of 18, the wisdom teeth appear.

However, every child has their own biological clock. If the adult teeth appear up to a year and a half earlier or later, this is considered normal. Outside of those margins, it is considered premature or late eruption. At our clinic we schedule regular visits and, where necessary, checks via X-ray in order to assess your child’s progress.

What should I do if my child is hit in the tooth?

First of all, if your child suffers a severe blow to the mouth, we recommend that you bring them to the pediatric dentist as a matter of urgency. The child must be examined and X-rays taken in order to determine the exact scope of the injury and whether the teeth have been affected.

If a milk tooth is affected, it may turn black. We will monitor its progress and carry out regular checks in order to prevent any subsequent complications (necrosis, abscess, cellulitis, etc.). The adult tooth that comes through after it may also suffer side-effects, such as yellow-brown patches, issues with the root, or a change in position. But don’t worry: these side-effects can be detected and treated when the tooth comes through.

Treatments available for milk teeth

If the tooth is broken, it will be necessary to reconstruct it using a white composite material. If the nerve is affected, a procedure called a pulpotomy can be performed, and the broken fragment subsequently reconstructed.

However, if the tooth is knocked out completely (a process known as avulsion), we will insert a prosthesis in order to restore dental function and improve the child’s aesthetic appearance. Although some very young children cannot tolerate a prosthesis, the majority of them can. Under no circumstances will we reimplant a milk tooth.

Lastly, if the tooth is loose, it will need to be checked regularly, and it may be necessary to extract it. Under no circumstances will we splint a milk tooth.

Treatments available for adult teeth

If your child has broken one of their adult teeth, we can perform a cosmetic reconstruction. However, if the X-rays reveal that the injury has affected the nerve of the tooth, we will have to consider endodontic treatment as well as cosmetic reconstruction.

If the tooth is loose, we will have to apply a splint immediately, within 24 hours of the injury occurring. For this reason, it is vital to act as quickly as possible in the event that your child suffers a severe blow to the mouth.

If the tooth has been knocked out, it is very important that you preserve the tooth in a moist environment: e.g. in a glass filled with saline solution or milk, or even in the child’s mouth. However, you must never wrap it in napkins or paper towels. You must also try not to touch the root area. You can try to place the tooth back in its socket, provided you rinse it beforehand with milk or saline solution. After you have done this, you must visit the pediatric dentist as a matter of urgency, so that the tooth can be reimplanted or splinted. You can contact Oris Dental Clinic via Whatsapp or by calling 93.409.06.47. The clinic is located in the neighborhood of Les Corts in Barcelona.

How can I prevent my child from getting caries?

At Oris Dental Clinic (located in the neighborhood of Les Corts in Barcelona), we know that despite a reduction in the prevalence of caries in Spain, almost 100% of children have had one by the age of 12. But why do we get caries? The main reason is that when we eat, bacterial plaque produces acids that can damage the enamel of our teeth. The resultant cavities are known as caries, and they can grow larger and even lead to the loss of the tooth.

The consequences of caries for my child

One of the most serious consequences of caries in milk teeth is that the child will not be able to chew their food correctly, and will therefore be unable to fully absorb the nutrients during this stage of their physical growth.

Additionally, caries can generate oral infections (abscesses), with the risk that bacteria may enter the bloodstream and cause bacterial endocarditis, rheumatic fever or kidney problems. Caries can also cause the following problems in children:

  • Lack of space for adult teeth.
  • Tooth pain.
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold food and drink.
  • Gum inflammation (gingivitis).
  • Gum disease (pyorrhea).

How can I prevent caries?

The main causes of caries are a lack of oral hygiene and excessive sugar consumption between meals and before going to bed. This helps to generate bacterial plaque, which is a white substance formed from multiple populations of bacteria that attaches itself to the teeth. If this plaque becomes calcified, it is known as tartar. Consequently, it is essential that your children clean their teeth after meals and avoid excessive sugar consumption between meals and before going to bed.

Below, we offer a series of recommendations based on a healthy diet and the use of products containing fluoride, which will help to prevent your children from developing caries.

 A healthy diet to prevent caries

  • Bad habits: Avoid the bad habit of dipping the baby’s dummy in sugar or honey or leaving the feeding bottle in the cot all night, even if it contains breast milk, as this can cause so-called “bottle caries”. If your baby needs to play with a bottle in order to fall asleep, fill the bottle with water.
  • Breastfeed: Breast milk is the ideal nutrition for the first months of the baby’s life and is therefore the most recommended feeding option, where possible. Breast milk is rich in lactose, which is less harmful to teeth than baby formula, which contains sucrose.
  • Avoid excessive consumption of carbohydrates: This is the most important diet-related factor for preventing caries. Above all, avoid sugary foods that cling to the teeth, such as candy, cookies, crisps and sugary drinks.
  • Avoid the consumption of sugary foods between meals and before going to bed. While we sleep, our body’s defense mechanisms (e.g. saliva, movement of the tongue and lips) are lowered, making us more vulnerable to caries.
  • Frequency of sugar intake is more important than the amount. If your child craves something sweet, we recommend that they consume it during a meal and brush their teeth afterwards.
  • Replace candy with fruit, a sandwich, or nuts/dried fruit. Instead of forbidding candy, you should teach your child that it is an occasional treat. They should learn how to have a balanced diet with a varied source of nutrients.

Fluoride helps us to prevent caries

  • Fluoridated toothpaste: This can help to fight caries, but it should be complemented with mouthwash and the application of professional topical treatments. These products are available in different flavors, to encourage their use by children. In terms of quantity, for children aged 3 and over we can use an amount the size of a grain of rice; and for children aged 9 and over we can use an amount the size of a pea.
  • Rinse with fluoride: There are mouthwashes for daily use that contain 0.05% fluoride, and mouthwashes for weekly use that contain 0.2% fluoride. The latter products are the ones used in school campaigns. The ideal time for using mouthwash is before going to bed. Their effectiveness is reliant on correct brushing beforehand, and avoiding the consumption of milk (calcium cancels out the effects of fluoride) or other food after brushing.
  • Fluoride tablets: These must only be taken if they are prescribed by a pediatrician. The dosage must be adjusted in line with the child’s age. They are suitable for children up to the age of 6, which is when the formation and calcification of the adult teeth is completed.
  • Professional topical treatments: Highly concentrated fluoride treatments are available in gel form, and applied using molds specially adapted to the size of the child’s mouth. These treatments are applied by the dentist at the clinic, and are suitable for children aged from 6-16. One treatment is applied every six months.

 Can milk teeth have fillings?

If your child has caries, we will need to fill the tooth, otherwise the caries could lead to an infection that will harm the child’s health in the long term. In order to aid the detection of caries, it is necessary to visit the dentist every six months. You can schedule an appointment at Oris Dental Clinic by sending us a message on WhatsApp or by calling 93 409 06 47.

Lastly, if it is too late to save a milk tooth, it must be extracted. Afterwards, in the space that is left, it is vital that we insert a device known as a space maintainer, in order to maintain space for the adult tooth that will come through in the future.

In summary, we recommend that you prevent your children from developing caries by being conscientious about brushing, diet, the use of fluoridated products and dental sealants, and by having regular check-ups at the clinic. It is important to foster good habits at an early age, as children are able to learn and assimilate them more quickly.