Pedodontics or pediatric dentistry is the art and science and that branch of dental science, which deals with comprehensive, interceptive oral health in children from childhood to adolescent age, particularly, and complete health in general. Pediatric dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides both primary and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special care needs.
Aims and objectives of pediatric dentistry are as follows:
- Health of a child as a whole
- More specifically concerned with oral health
- Early diagnosis and prompt treatment
- Restoring the mouth to good health
- To observe and control the necessary developing dentition of child patient
- Relief of pain
- Increase the knowledge regarding dental care
- Install a positive attitude and behavior
- Restore the lost tooth structure
- Management of special patients
The first visit of the child to the dental clinic should occur within 6 months of the eruption of the first milk tooth. Here are some of the pediatric dental procedures:
Pit and fissure sealants: These are materials introduced into the pits and fissures of caries susceptible teeth, thus forming a micromechanically bonded, protective layer cutting access of caries-producing bacteria from their source of nutrients.
- Deep, retentive pits and fissures
- Stained pits and fissures
- Questionable enamel caries in pits and fissures
- Self-cleansing pits and fissures
- Tooth not fully erupted
- Dentinal caries
Some orthodontic conditions are easier to correct and can prevent more severe conditions when they are detected and treated at an early age. Pediatric orthodontic procedures are designed to help correct existing issues and guide future growth and development to ensure a child’s smile is healthy and designed to last a lifetime.
Indications for orthodontic treatment:
- Protrusion of teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting, lip biting
- Thumb/finger sucking habit, tongue thrusting habit
- Crowding of teeth
- Spacing between teeth
- Irregularly placed teeth
Advantages of pediatric orthodontics (early intervention) are as follows:
- Addressing and correcting issues that could be causing issues with the growth and development of child’s permanent teeth, such as thumb sucking or tongue pushing
- Improving child’s oral health care routines and habits
- Guiding permanent teeth into a more favorable position
- Reducing possible damage to teeth that may be protruding
- Reducing or even preventing future and more invasive orthodontic or dental treatments
- Increasing your child’s self-confidence and self-esteem
Various restorative options used in pediatric dentistry are a silver amalgam, gallium alloy, glass-ionomer cement, composite material and strip crowns.
Some of the pediatric endodontic procedures are as follows:
- Indirect pulp capping: It is a procedure wherein a small amount of carious dentin is retained in deep areas of the cavity to avoid exposure of pulp, followed by placement of a suitable medicament that seals off the carious dentin and encourages pulp recovery.
- Direct pulp capping: Placement of a medicament or a non-medicated material on pulp that has been exposed in course of excavating caries or a result of trauma.
- Pulpotomy: Complete removal of the coronal portion of the dental pulp, followed by placement of a suitable medicament that promotes healing and preserves vitality of tooth.
- Pulpectomy: Complete removal of necrotic pulp from root canals of primary teeth and filling them with an inert resorbable material so as to maintain the tooth in the dental arch.