Pedodontics (Pediatric / Pediatric Dentistry), by definition, is a branch of dentistry that deals with the oral and dental health problems of babies, children and individuals who require special attention. Pedodontics is the only age-related branch of dentistry.
Pedodontics is limited by age, but pedodontists can perform all dental treatments such as periodontal treatment, filling and tooth extraction according to the treatment needs of children. Pedodontists are the dentists that children first encounter. During the period from infancy to young adulthood, all oral-dental health problems and preventive treatments are performed by pedodontists. Pedodontists also require special attention; They have the knowledge and experience to solve the oral-dental health problems of the disabled and children with chronic diseases.
Just like pediatricians, pediatric dentists (pedodontists) also deal with the solution of oral and dental health problems in children. In addition to solving oral-dental health problems in children, pedodontists; In addition to their dentistry training, they received specialty training on preventive dentistry practices, communicating with children, positive behavior guidance and other techniques for overcoming fear of dentist.
First meeting with the pedodontist
The ideal time for this is six months after the baby’s first teeth come out. Because; Problems with teeth can start at a very early age. In this period, it will be possible to prevent the problems that may arise by getting information about the baby’s nutrition, dental care and sucking habits.
A child’s first dentist visit is usually in the form of an introduction. In the first examination, no treatment is given, only oral-dental examination is performed, information about oral hygiene and nutrition is given. In our opinion, the first step of the pedodontic triangle consisting of ‘Pedodontist-Child-Family’ is taken in this session. Then, by using the latest technologies, auxiliary dental examinations such as x-rays and caries activity tests are performed to determine the current status and needs of the child in terms of dentistry, and the family and child are informed about the procedures to be performed in the next session.
Generally, many dentists concentrate only on their patients’ complaints and teeth when they sit in the dental chair. However, for us pedodontists, the most important criterion is not the teeth, but the child himself. Because we know that; A child who does not fear the dentist will easily have their teeth treated. For this reason, if the child has a fear of dentists in the first few sessions, we only do conversations and exercises to overcome this fear of the child without any treatment. We generally do not prefer families to enter the treatment room with their children, except for very young children. Because most of the time, families reflect their fears and anxieties on their children and negatively affect the positive behavior of the child in the treatment room. Our experience and previous studies show that when children are alone in the treatment room, they positively affect their cooperation with the dentist. Do not forget that; The better the pedodontist-child relationship, the more successful the treatments will be.
Pedodontists have received special training on how to calm and relax children before and during dental treatment. In addition, the current clinical environments, styles and auxiliary staff of pedodontists are completely tailored to the needs of children. Therefore, children feel much more comfortable and safe in the clinics of pedodontists. Before dental procedures, the pedodontist explains the procedures to be performed with the ‘Tell-Show-Apply’ technique to the child one by one, while introducing the instruments, they identify them with other objects and ensure that the child is not afraid of them. During the treatment, continuous communication between the child and the pedodontist continues, the child’s positive behaviors are immediately rewarded by the pedodontist by using positive sentences, which increases the motivation of the child positively. If the child shows compliance problems during the treatment, it is tried to continue the treatment by using other cooperation methods such as voice control and desensitization. If neither method works, then sedation or general anesthesia may be considered.
Dental caries/quality of life in children
Oral and dental health problems are a common health problem in children in both developed and underdeveloped countries. Poor oral hygiene in children due to diet or tooth brushing habits; It can slow growth and development. Recent studies show that children with dental caries in their mouths in early childhood may have a structure prone to dental caries in the future. Early diagnosis and preventive treatment methods; It seems to be the most effective solution for the healthy growth of children. Also, the studies carried out
It is stated that it can cause very important psychological and physiological problems such as attention deficit, failure in classes, irregular sleep, loss of appetite/difficulty in eating and communication with the environment in children with cavities in the early childhood.
Children suffering from pain due to dental caries; They cannot chew or swallow cold/hot or hard foods. Due to this malnutrition, serious infections can be seen in the head/neck and jaw region due to weight loss in children and the progression of dental caries. Such infections, which can be seen in children with continued growth and development, threaten other vital organs of children (eg heart, kidney, liver, etc.) as a focal infection focus.
It is not possible to expect a child who has insufficient breakfast in the morning due to tooth decay in his mouth to concentrate enough on his lessons at school, or to understand the lessons of a child who cannot get enough sleep at night due to toothache. All these negativities may prevent the child from losing his will to learn or communicating with his environment.
Generally, the approach of families in our country, especially since school-age children have both milk and permanent teeth in their mouths; anyway, it’s like the milk tooth will fall out. However, milk molars usually stay in the mouth until the age of 11-12 and play a very important role in nutrition. The health of children’s teeth plays an important role in their being a successful and healthy individual.
In order to avoid all these negativities, regular dentist/pedodontist (pediatric dentist) control is the first and most important step in the prevention or early diagnosis of dental caries. In addition, thanks to a balanced diet and regular tooth brushing habits, it is now very easy for children to have caries-free teeth for a lifetime.