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Dental Care For The Kids
The latest definition of pediatric dentistry given by the ADA is as follows:-
“Pediatric dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs.”
This definition given by the ADA is very broad and covers many points. First, the clause “age-defined” emphasizes that, pediatric dentists have no limits on the type of treatments they offer and it is specifically done for babies and children through adolescence up to a specific age. The primary and comprehensive care portion means that there is no need for patient referrals. Parents can treat their children just like they do with a pediatrician. The definition also lays out that pediatric dentists will treat children right from infancy to their late teens.
Unfortunately, quite a considerable percentage of the child population of the United States suffers from serious dental diseases, which are potentially dangerous. Unlike other illnesses such as the flu or a cold, these will not go away unless they are properly treated. These serious diseases must be done with the utmost care so that the young patients are comfortable. If left untreated these diseases could lead to serious consequences such as mental problems. So the need for sedation arises when treating them. The AAPD takes the best precautions possible to ensure that no accident occurs that could result in the child being injured or even killed. To date, there has not been a single case of morbidity or mortality in the AAPD’s records.
Sedation dentistry is the term given to the method of providing sedation to the patient for undergoing essential dental surgery. It generally helps the patient lose consciousness and thereby track time. He may feel that the operation took only a few minutes while it may have lasted up to many hours. Many people suffer from the common phobia of visiting the dentist. Therefore, negligence in taking care of teeth leads to many diseases. These diseases are often of a very serious nature. The process of sedation dentistry helps to address these issues by lowering the patient’s fears. Treatments of very serious proportions and which could generally have taken many sessions are completed in a couple of sessions. Almost all dentists offer sedation dentistry these days but the level of experience varies from dentist to dentist.
The meaning of the word “sedation” as defined in the Oxford dictionary is to administer some drug to make him or her drowsy or sleep. It affects the central nervous system of the human body and produces a general calming and relaxing effect. The various types of sedative drugs are tranquilizers, sleeping pills and antidepressants. These can be managed in a variety of ways. In the past, IV sedation was used to sedate dental patients. Now with the growth of technology, oral and inhalation sedation is also available. These methods are very popular with the patients compared to the IV sedation. Sedation dentistry has given an option to many people who were afraid of suffering pain during the treatment.
When the sedative is administered, a person does not sleep, he just feels sleepy. Therefore, sedation dentistry should be called as sleep dentistry. In case of existence of some complex medical problems, sedation is not used. In its place, general anesthesia is used, which induces deeper sleep. Sedation puts patients in a sedated state thus making them feel or remember very little about the actual process.
Sedation dentistry is used in children although in limited doses. Most children have a phobia of the dentist. So this is used to calm and calm their inhibitions so that the dental surgery can be carried out. Also, it helps alleviate the fear so that it does not haunt them in their adulthood.
Often it becomes very necessary to be treated by a very experienced sedation dentist because some cases require a high dose to be given. A dentist having additional trained expertise should administer these doses as these are very sensitive cases and a slight mistake can result in death. The different methods of sedation administered are oral conscious sedation dentistry, inhalation conscious sedation dentistry, intravenous conscious sedation dentistry and intramuscular conscious sedation dentistry. Patients administered oral sedation are not allowed to drive a car for 24 hours after the appointment. It is generally given to the patient an hour before the appointment. Inhalation sedation uses nitrous oxide. This is the most common method used by nearly 35% of all American dentists. The advantage of this method is that the patient can resume his activities almost immediately after the treatment is done. IV sedation is not as readily available as the aforementioned types of sedation but it is one of the safest methods for complex treatments. Dentists using this method receive advanced training and certification from their state dental organizations. The last method is intramuscular sedation. This is a fairly effective method of sedation in cases of adults having mild dental anxiety. It is used more in case of shy children. This sedation takes effect after 20-30 minutes after it is administered.
Returning to pediatric dentistry, most parents or guardians are unsure when their child’s first dental visit should be. Some parents might even be advised by their family dentist not to take the child for a check-up until all the primary teeth are up. This can take 2-3 years on average or in some cases even 6 years. This type of delay can lead to adverse dental conditions that may not be in the best interests of the child. The AAPD asks parents and other caregivers to screen the child after the end of 12 months.
Here the pediatric dentist generally records the medical and dental history of the family and the child. During the first visit the parents are asked to stay back in the clinic. The main purpose of this visit is to find out the child’s risk of developing oral or dental diseases. The pediatric dentist also determines the correct rate of development of teeth, that is, how many teeth at a particular age.
Caries is an infectious disease that affects babies. Improper nutritional patterns can lead to this disease. This type of dentures affects the child, the parents and the pediatric dentist to a great extent. Early recognition and intervention can lead to successful treatment or at least control the spread of the disease. The factors essential for the spread of the caries disease are: –
1. Teeth must be present.
2. Bacteria must be present
3. There must be food for the bacteria to pay
4. Caries take time to develop
The teeth begin to erupt generally before the end of 6 months. At 12 months some teeth start to grow. All upper and lower incisors have already erupted by the end of 12 months. The bacteria that is the cause of tooth decay is Streptococcus Mutans. It does not appear until after the eruption of teeth in the baby. The Streptococcus mutans in itself does not adhere to the teeth but requires other bacteria to form a colony. The food that acts as the food for the bacteria is generally milk, juice or any other sweet food. It must be a prolonged time for the bacteria to effect demineralization of the teeth and take its toll. The bedtime bottle of milk is usually the most dangerous.
If it is diagnosed early, then remineralization can be done but if it has already reached an advanced stage, then extraction may be the best option. The pediatric dentist advises the best procedure to follow for the parents. Very young children may need sedation for the treatment.
People generally have a high degree of trust in the dentists they went to for treatment. So when they have to look for a new dentist for whatever reasons like after moving to a new area or just for some other reasons, they join in a soup. Their judgment is impaired by the pain experiences and they tend to make wrong decisions.
Moving to a new area or simply finding a new dentist, these tips would help you a lot. If you are moving to a new area, then ask your old dentist if he can refer you to someone. Some good sources to ask for new dentists even if you stay in your old area are friends, family members, church members, co-workers and your pharmacist. A good way to get detailed information about all the dentists in your area or the area of your interest is to go online. Websites usually provide comprehensive information about doctors and medical professionals. A call to the nearest dental school clinic may also yield results.
Now that you’ve found some dentists in the area, the next step is to check them out. One of the most important things to figure out is the distance of the clinic from your home. It should be at an accessible area, not being too far away. The clinic could also be located near your office. Find out if it would be easy to get appointments that fit your needs. Look around for the cleanliness of the clinic and the instruments. The instruments must be properly sterilized, otherwise there is a risk of contacting diseases. The dentist must wear a glove, mask and gown. The interaction between the dentist and his staff should be cordial and peaceful. Now talk to the doctor about your dental history. Explain to him any problems and treatments in your past. Notice the way he explains the preventive measures and treatments to you. Would you be comfortable sharing all the worries? Explain all matters relating to fees, payment and insurance. These must be done before the treatment. Ask if he provides emergency, after-hours treatment. This is a good idea if you have rigid work hours that extend long into the evening. Find out about his education and degrees and ask him what continuing education he has taken to keep up with the latest changes in dental technology.
Another thing to find out about the dentist’s schedule is whether he is taking new patients. Because some doctors rarely take new patients due to their busy schedules. Does he treat patients with special cases such as physical disability, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, autism and special needs children? There are some dentists who treat only these cases, so it might be better to look for such a dentist if the patient suffers from any of them. The techniques that the dentist offers as a means of reassurance to counter dental phobia, whether he supervises children as well as adults, whether there is a payment for missed or broken appointments, must be looked into. It is always better to find out the different types of payment plans that the dentist might offer. Most clinics offer interest-free payment plans these days. If you have dental insurance, ask the dentist if they accept it. If they do, will they file the claims or will you have to do it? Also will he accept partial payment from you or will you have to pay the full amount and be reimbursed by the insurance company later.
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