Author: sajith varghese

Author: sajith varghese

Baby teeth and caps/crowns?

Baby teeth and caps/crowns?

Let us see a list of FAQ’s that parents are concerned about when the dentist mentions “caps for baby teeth”

Q1: These are milk teeth. Are caps really required?

A: Even though baby teeth are there for a relatively shorter time, they are still around till your child turns 11-12yrs. Fillings alone may not be enough in certain cases. So yes, caps will be required.

Q2: What are these situations in which fillings alone may not be sufficient?

A: Here’s a ready list!

1. Generally teeth have multiple sides/surfaces. In cases where there are cavities on more than 1 surface, it may not be feasible to do fillings on each side. Caps will cover the entire tooth and all the surfaces and are therefore the better choice. No entry points for germs!

2. Following root canal treatment: Milk teeth in general are very brittle and prone to fracture and have to be capped!

3. Special cases: In certain situations, there may be mineral defeciencies in teeth. Rather than fillings( which may break away) caps are preferred.

Q3: What are the different options in crowns?

A: For children there are mainly 2 types of crowns: stainless steel and zirconia. Main difference between the two is zirconia is pearly white, tooth coloured and more esthetic.

For front teeth, there a different category of tooth coloured material is available.

Stainless steel vs. Zirconia crowns

Options for front teeth

Q4: By putting a cap on a milk tooth, am I delaying eruption of the permanent tooth?

A: Absolutely not! The cap will be in place till the tooth naturally falls off.

Q5: Any problems in biting?

A: Again, no! Maybe your child will take about a week to get used to the cap but its smooth sailing after that

Contact your nearest paediatric dentist in case of more queries.


Zirconia crowns

Zirconia crowns

Nowadays, more than the parents, the children themselves are concerned about their teeth and want tooth coloured fillings! In order to appease this growing demand for “aesthetic solutions”, zirconia crowns were introduced to replace the available stainless steel crowns which gave a “metallic” look and feel.

As compared to stainless steel, zirconia crowns are harder and can be used to cap the front as well as the back teeth.

These crowns are available in pre-designated sizes. So the dentist has to do minimal cutting of the tooth to remove the cavities, select the size of the crown and fix it! All in one appointment.

These caps will last till the baby tooth falls off to make way for the healthy permanent tooth.

Before and After

See your child smile widely again!


The Silver Bullet

The Silver Bullet

Wondering if this is about the latest action/thriller movie hitting the cinemas this weekend? No, it is not about a feared, underworld don either. It is about something less fearsome perhaps, silver diamine fluoride, fondly called the silver bullet.

Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a colourless liquid, tried and tested by dental surgeons in Japan, since the past 40 years, to “arrest” cavities. It is also highly effective for the treatment of hypersensitivity.

The silver content helps in combating the bacteria responsible for deepening cavities. Together with fluoride from toothpastes, it converts “active” lesions (those that have a tendency to worsen) to “inactive” caries lesions (those that remain static for a long time). It is so much more effective than simple fluoride formulations! It is easy to apply too.

The only disadvantage, possibly, is that it causes staining of the cavity and turns it black due to the deposition of silver. However, a tooth-coloured filling material can be placed on top once the cavity is rendered inactive!

So, in which cases do we prescribe SDF?

  1. Very young children with lots of cavities, who cannot cooperate for treatments of long duration.
  2. Adults, to deal with sensitivity due to caries/ fractures/ tooth erosions
  3. Children, prior to placing a filling material so that unnecessary deep cutting of tooth is avoided.

For more details, visit your paediatric dentist today!


Laughing gas

Laughing gas

For a lot of people, especially young children, a visit to the dentist is a nothing less than a nightmare. This is where nitrous oxide comes into the picture. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas as it is more popularly known, is a sweet-smelling gas known to cause instant “happy feelings” in the person inhaling it. So much so, in the 1900s, private parties in London were incomplete without laughing gas “booths.”

Consequently, it found a use in clinical settings with doctors using nitrous oxide to calm patients prior to operative procedures under general anesthesia. It was found to be especially effective in children. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is given through a small breathing mask which is placed over the child’s nose, allowing them to relax without putting them to sleep. Since it is inhaled and exhaled through the nasal mask, it doesn’t cause toxicity, unlike any other route of medication like oral or intravenous, wherein the chances of overdose are greater.

Some points to note:

  1. Laughing gas can be used in very anxious children and adults to calm them down before the dental procedure.
  2. With laughing gas, treatment time is reduced and the dental surgeon can focus better on the tooth getting treated.
  3. Recovery is immediate, with zero side effects, and it is non-addictive.
  4. Since it is a mild sedative and numbing agent, the child won’t remember the discomfort of the procedure. In fact, it brings about a feeling of euphoria, making the children ask for the gas again at the next dental visit.

Help us give your child a better dental experience and ensure your child leaves the dental office with a smile!


Eating for a long time – Good or Bad?

Eating for a long time – Good or Bad?

Some children eat fast. Some children store the food like a fixed deposit in their mouth and chew slowly, for hours together! The mother gets exhausted trying to feed the child- so either the child is plopped in front of the TV or some cartoon is played on the mobile phone, just to encourage the child to eat!

We have all been through that. But is it good? Or rather, how harmful is this “food-pocketing” behavior, especially in kids? Here are some small daily care tips:

  1. Food should be eaten within 20 minutes. Kept longer, it significantly increases the risk of cavities, especially in the lower teeth.
  2. Ensure your child washes their mouth immediately after eating.
  3. Monitor the level of sugary/ sticky foods in a day. If your child has a sweet tooth, give it as a dessert at the end of a solid meal, like lunch, as a reward for eating fast!
  4. In between meal snacks should be avoided…these are the main culprits. Or rather, replace with fresh fruits/ nuts. They self -cleanse the tooth and avoid those sticky deposits

As we keep emphasizing, prevention is better than cure. So the first line of care for those pearly whites, starts at home!


Importance of an exclusive Paediatric dental practice

Importance of an exclusive Paediatric dental practice

Somebody once said:

….and I’m sure you all agree!

Similarly, in a health perspective, you cannot actually control the occurence of disease in a child. Children are exposed to different environments. Children fall sick. It’s a given thing.

But we can change the way they perceive doctors. Doctors are not all about sharp needles and nasty medicines..! It is important that children have a pleasant experience so that they may be influenced to have a positive attitude towards health, throughout their lives. That is how paediatricians evolved. That is also how, paediatric dental surgeons evolved.

  1. In dentistry, especially, the child has to be extra cooperative, as they have to sit on the chair and allow somebody to work inside their mouth. Prescribing pills or syrups is only secondary. Therefore, it is a MUST that the environment be child-friendly. Because, otherwise, one bad experience and the child is going to be traumatized for life about dental treatment!
  2. Children are very easily impressionable. They learn a lot by observing their peers. So, if some other child is going happily for his/her dental treatment, they also will be motivated to. This is the other advantage of an exclusive paediatric practice.
  3. A child’s mouth is significantly smaller than an adult’s mouth. Paediatric dental surgeons are trained specifically to work inside such restricted spaces..!
  4. Many oral diseases can be caught early or steps be taken to prevent it altogether. Therefore, just like how a paediatrician is needed for your child’s general health, it is imperative that parents develop a relationship with their nearest paediatric dental practice at the earliest, so that we may take care of your child’s oral health needs.

Children and Colours in the Paediatric Practice

Children and Colours in the Paediatric Practice

Have you noticed how all play schools, paediatric therapy centres, hospitals and clinics are brightly coloured?

As parents you must have also noticed your child being drawn to “happy” colours and lights. Basically, children love colour!

  1. Sight starts developing around the sixth month post birth and continues to develop till age 10. Bright colours are easy to distinguish and that is why babies are drawn to it.
  2. Research has shown that the colour of the environment affects the mood and consequently the behavior of the child. That is why primary colours like green, blue, yellow are preferred. The have a calming effect. This is true for adults also. Try changing to bright clothing if you are depressed or anxious about something!
  3. Children have a very wide imagination, especially at the ages of 5-7, when the brain is at maximum capacity. Also, they can be distracted easily by paintings and cartoons at this age. We make maximum use of this fact to manage the behavior of the child at the dental clinic

That is why, colours are so important in any paediatric practice. Gone are the days of the starched, boring white coat, which only instilled fear in the child! Printed or coloured aprons are preferred by paediatric surgeons as they “click” with children.

No paediatric dental practice has monotonous or muted colours. They are always bright and cheerful, just like how we want your child to feel after every appointment!


Handling of child in the Paediatric dental clinic

Handling of child in the Paediatric dental clinic

Children have varying attitudes and temperaments. No two children are the same. In fact, the same child on different days may behave differently!

Managing different behaviours, at the same time instilling a positive dental attitude is one of the greatest challenges of paediatric dentistry and paediatric dental surgeons are specifically trained in child psychology to manage child behaviour at different ages! So, let us take a small peek into the various techniques we use to our advantage:

  1. Audio-visual distraction: Children, especially of the age group of 5-7 years are easily distracted! So a TV screen with brightly colored cartoons or educational videos/ soothing music is a great way to keep the kids occupied while we work in their mouth.
  2. Modelling- Children learn a lot from their siblings/peers. Generally while treating siblings, we treat the older, more mature one first while the younger one looks on. Works like magic!

Of course, establishing communication is key. Paediatric dentists generally use soothing voices/ simple words to explain the procedure to the child. No other technique compares to this! Once we gain the child’s trust, we can work wonders!

At the same time, slightly changing to a more authoritative tone is also done in case the child is not behaving properly. Worked for our parents, right?

What can be done if your child is simply too young or too anxious or has special health care needs?

  1. We can use medications like nitrous oxide(laughing gas) delivered through a nose mask to keep your child relaxed throughout the procedure.
  2. If the child is very fearful and does not allow us to even place the nose mask, we resort to giving medicines either orally (through the mouth) or I.V, in the presence of a certified anaesthetist.
  3. If multiple treatments are required and we simply cannot manage in the clinic settings, it is better to go for treatment under general anaesthesia where the child is completely unconscious.
  4. These methods have an added advantage that they cause a bit of amnesia… so the child does not remember the details of the procedure and give an overall “feel-good” factor.

Many parents defer treatment as they feel their child is too young and finally approach us, when the pain becomes unbearable. This is not a wise thing to do, as the age of the child does not matter. It is the way we handle them, that does.

Visit your nearest clinic today and gift your child the smile they deserve!


Common Causes Of Tooth Decay

Common Causes Of Tooth Decay

Tooth Decay is one among the world’s most common health problem seen in children and adults. If tooth decay is not treated they might affect deeper layers of your tooth structure which leads to severe pain, infection and finally tooth loss. Major causes for tooth decay develops by eating sugary, sticky food and beverages. The more sugar consumed, the more acid attacks the tooth leading to decay. Plaque formation is another major factor of tooth decay. When sugar combines with plaque, it weakens the tooth layer causing decay. Each time we consume sugary snacks our tooth is more prone to decay.

Second factor is poor oral hygiene. It allows plaque formation which attacks the enamel of tooth eventually causing hole in your teeth.

Dry mouth is another cause for tooth decay. Food tends to stick to your teeth can increase risk for cavities. As decay progresses we start getting pain which is the common symptom for decay, hole or pits can be noticed in the affected tooth. Most serious symptom is swelling and pus in and around the tooth.

To prevent decay, first step is to maintain good Oral hygiene. Limit your intake of sugary food and drinks. Rinse your mouth with mouthwash which helps in removing food that is lodged in between your teeth. Visit your dentist twice a year for routine examination.


Space Maintainers And Their Types

Space Maintainers And Their Types

In the last post, we learnt about the need for space “maintainers”. There are different designs of space maintainers and the decision to choose a particular design is based on:

  1. the number of teeth missing,
  2. the number of teeth present in the mouth and
  3. the number of years remaining for the permanent teeth to erupt.

If only a single tooth is missing, we can go for a fairly simple design called a “band and loop”. This is very stable and easy to maintain.

If multiple teeth from both sides are missing, we may have to give a slightly sturdier design so that space in both sides of the mouth may be maintained

Generally constructed with stainless steel wire, these space maintainers may be made of acrylic also. Teeth can be set in the base so that your child may be able to chew properly. Removable varieties are available, although majority parents and practitioners prefer fixed type. Children are very unpredictable, right?

Space maintainers can also transform your child’s smile and boost their confidence! If there is no other option but to extract, space maintenance is MANDATORY. After all, a stitch in time saves nine..