Category: Teeth Maintenance

Category: Teeth Maintenance

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.

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.

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..

Space “Maintainers”- What, Why, How, When?

Space “Maintainers”- What, Why, How, When?

Earlier, dentistry used to be synonymous with “extraction” of badly decayed teeth. Especially in children. The idea was that milk teeth are going to be replaced anyway, so why not just remove it. But what if I told you that the thinking has changed now? The permanent teeth especially in the back of the mouth do not erupt till 10-12 years of age and keeping an empty space in those areas till that age is not good.

So, what happens if the milk tooth has to be removed pretty early on?

  1. The permanent tooth developing underneath is not ready to come out… So, the back teeth may “tilt” into this space
  2. Once the back teeth tilt, space available for the other teeth reduces
  3. At age 10, the permanent teeth are crowded/ stuck and arranged wherever there is a little space- Braces will definitely be required to align

What can be done, then?

  1. Space maintainers are given immediately after extraction of the milk teeth.
  2. These will be in place till the permanent teeth are ready to erupt and prevent loss of space.
  3. The probability/ duration of orthodontic treatment reduces at a later age.

What are the uses of a full mouth X-ray?

Often, we advise the parent to take a full mouth X-Ray called an OPG or Orthopantomogram.

More often, we get this question in return- “Doctor, but why this? Why can’t we go for the small film?”

So let us have a look at the innumerable uses of OPG:

1. OPGs are extremely useful, especially in children. This is because we can see the status of both the milk teeth and permanent teeth in the child’s mouth. So, we can see if all the teeth are erupting in the right track or there is some delay.

2. If there is some delay in development, we can easily see the cause for it. It may be some infection or tooth may be rotated or there might be some obstruction blocking it.

3.In a child who is very anxious, these are the best because the film is outside the mouth unlike the other type where we have to hold film inside the poor child’s mouth!

4. Not just the teeth, it is possible to see the status of the bones of the jaw and the nose also. Basically any fracture/ breathing problems can be evaluated.

5. Lastly, and the most common reason- cavities! If your child has multiple teeth with “holes”, it is better to take a full mouth X-Ray and see all the teeth in one single film.

For further clarifications, contact your Dentist today.

How useful are X-rays to see a fractured tooth?

We always get this question. “Aren’t X-rays harmful?” or “Does it have any side effects on the brain?”

Well, to answer this question, it is important to know what “natural background radiation” is. This is basically the radiation we receive on a daily basis from the environment.

And the doses from intraoral and full mouth radiographs are lower, less than one day of natural background radiation.

Does that answer the question?

Also, consider the benefits of taking a small X-Ray especially when there is a broken tooth involved. We can:

1. Give emergency treatment :

  1. Visualize the extent of fracture, and that helps us in planning the treatment.
  2. If the tooth pieces are loose, we can also use X ray to confirm we have repositioned the tooth in the correct manner

2. Monitor the tooth:

  1.  See if there is any developing infection
  2. Check if the tooth root is formed nicely or not. In young children with newly erupted teeth, the root may not be formed completely. In such a case, we use a calcium rich material called MTA to seal the root.

3. Monitor the treatment:

Monitor the treatment given to see if the filling is in the correct place and the body is accepting the treatment.

Clearly there are more benefits and is a must, especially in cases of traumatic injuries!

Safety of Dental X-ray in Children

Safety of Dental X-ray in Children

All types of dental x-rays used in modern dentistry are now in digital mode. Normal x-ray radiation is about 1/10th of what is used in regular conventional x-rays.

So it is very safe to expose dental x-rays for children. Protective layer like lead apron and thyroid collar makes it even safer.

Commonly used x-ray is small x-rays called IOPA and the large x-ray is called OPG (Orthopantomograph).

Bite wing is a type of x-ray used to detect cavity in between the teeth.  


Even in normal children, complete evaluation of teeth and surrounding structure is mandatory at the age of six years to evaluate progress of teeth eruption, falling of teeth, pressure of permanent tooth inside the oral cavity, any future alignment issues, cavity problems, any extra teeth apart from the regular 32 teeth, absence of permanent toothy, any different type of growth or swelling inside the bone should be a evaluated.

This is a mandatory protocol in western countries like US, UK and Australia.



In the present buzzy life, the importance of parents role in developing good oral health of the children is often neglected or minimal quality is time is being spent for educating and motivating the kids for good oral hygiene. Changes in the dietary pattern have already made an adverse effect in the oral health of upcoming generation. Frequent exposures to the sugar containing food, either packed or homemade is becoming unavoidable. So parent’s role in the child oral health is mandatory.

Educational points for parents

Child teeth start developing at the first six months. So a good healthy diet is necessary for proper growth.

Next the first permanent tooth erupts at the age of 6, which is the ideal age for a check up to your paediatric dentist? Making a visit once to paediatric dentist marks the milestone in the good oral care of child.

During 6-12 years, the milk teeth will fall and the permanent tooth will start erupting so this is a crucial age for monitoring the dental chart for teeth eruption. Visiting your paediatric dentist 6 months once will ensure the proper oral health care.

Here are some simple tips to guide your children oral health.                           


Be an example

Instead of asking children to brush twice, make them accompany with parents while they brush in day and night time. This has a significant memory impact on the children. They tend to follow it for rest of their life time.

Tell, show, do

It is a simple technique as the name implies. Tell them how to brush, show them brushing and do along with them. Flossing can be done after the age of 12.

Digital media

In todays world everything is available in the digital media such as animated brushing technique and flossing technique etc. A visual experience makes them get more involved.


 Making the children aware of the adverse effects of poor oral heath such as early childhood caries, gum diseases will make them realize the maintenance of good oral health.

Paediatric dental visit

A consultation from your paediatric dentist will always give you the knowledge of proper brushing & flossing technique. Every child teeth has a story to tell. Paediatric dentist will make a complete check up on your child’s oral health.

Cost versus benefit ratio of preventive versus therapeutic care in pediatric dentistry stands at 1:40. So every one rupee spent at preventive assessment helps a long way in avoiding therapeutic care at the cost of forty rupees.

So, it is our Kidz ‘n’ Teenz duty to bring awareness to the public.

Space Maintainers

Space Maintainers

A primary tooth is sometimes lost prematurely because of injury or tooth decay. If that happens before the permanent tooth is fully developed and ready to emerge; the nearby teeth can shift or “tip” into the space formerly occupied by the primary tooth. When the permanent tooth tries to grow into the spot, there may not be enough room. The new teeth may be unerupt or emerge lopsided, leading to crooked teeth.

A space maintainer holds the space left by a primary tooth until the permanent teeth is ready to emerge. Generally it is the device that is permanently cemented in the mouth. The paediatric dentist will later remove the spacer once the permanent tooth is in its proper position.

Different types of space maintainers are used for children are:

1. Band and loop space maintainers

2. Lingual arch space maintainers for lower teeth

3. Nance arch holding appliance etc.,

The type of space maintainers for that particular tooth or teeth is at the discretion of the pediatric dentist to decide.