At Dawood & Tanner, the care of Paediatric teeth begins as soon as your child has developed baby teeth. We strongly believe in providing the guidance and caring treatments that parents want for their children’s dental development.
The early years
Breast and bottle-feeding should be stopped around one year old. Prolonged and especially night-time feeding can cause holes in the first (deciduous) teeth.
Soya infant formulae can cause cavities and should only be used under medical supervision. Drinks containing free sugars, including natural fruit juices, should be avoided between meals and should never be put in a feeding bottle.
In the first year it is best to encourage water or milk only. It is better to reduce exposure to 'sugary foods' in the first two years and try to keep sugars to meal times only. Never put your child to bed with a bottle or a beaker.
Teeth should be brushed with a smear of toothpaste as soon as they show in the mouth, helping to familiarize the baby with the brush and paste, and the act of tooth - brushing.
Your child's diet
Your diet can affect your teeth and mouth in many different ways, so it is especially important to monitor your child's diet from early on. Teaching the correct eating habits at an early age has benefits that are taken through to adulthood. Sugar in the diet is the most important cause of tooth decay - without sugar in the diet it is virtually impossible for tooth decay to take place. Too much sugar is also extremely bad for general health, and is implicated in obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Many authorities believe that a child’s taste for sugar is developed as an infant. Dentists’ children have always had less tooth decay; this is most probably due to a low-sugar diet. Sweet snacks have no useful role in a balanced diet and ideally would be eliminated - however this is usually not possible in today's society! The frequency of sugar consumption is far more important than the amount of sugar actually consumed. - frequent sugar intake will inevitably cause tooth decay, whereas large amounts of sugar consumed occasionally are probably safe, although not healthy.
Tooth brushing for the young child
Brushing should start as soon as the first baby tooth erupts. Brushing should be carried out twice a day, and this should be supervised by an adult until at least 7 years old.
Children under 3 years should use no more than a smear of toothpaste and must not eat or lick toothpaste from the tube, as children will have a tendency to swallow toothpaste, which would then mean that they had an excessive flouride intake - this can cause "flourosis" of the adult teeth, causing the teeth to have white patches or flecks.
Rinsing with lots of water after brushing is not necessary and removes residual toothpaste in the mouth, which has a useful, direct effect on the tooth surface, making it harder and more resistant to decay - spitting out excess toothpaste is preferable. Regular 6 monthly maintenance appointments with the hygienist or therapist will help maintain ideal brushing techniques.
The hygienist or therapist may give disclosing tablets to you for your child to use to show up areas that are being missed.
Comforters, Dummies and Thumb sucking.
Children often stop thumb sucking by 3 to 4 years old. If thumb or dummy sucking continues beyond this age it can cause problems with the growth of the teeth and the shape of the upper jaw, occasionally necessitating complex orthodontic management later on. If you have any concerns or want help with stopping the habit, please ask for advice.
Restoring the deciduous dentition
Tooth decay leads to the break down of the tooth tissue causing a cavity requiring a restoration - usually a form of tooth-coloured filling. Where there has been extensive decay, the nerve running through the tooth may become inflamed or die, requiring a 'pulp' treatment.
Where treatment to the nerve has been carried out, or when there has been extensive loss of structure, a 'paediatric' crown is sometimes placed. This allows the tooth to be retained for a few more years by making it stronger and reducing the risk of decay from occurring on other surfaces. Importantly it also holds open the correct amount of space for the permanent tooth to erupt into, and maintains a working bite around the arch.
Where multiple cavities are present, there is an option to have treatment carried out under sedation or general anaesthesia - see below.
Extractions and oral and maxillofacial surgery
If decay has progressed to such an extent that the tooth or teeth cannot be saved and extraction is necessary, we will liaise with your child's general medical or general dental practitioner and orthodontist to ensure that appropriate treatment is carried out with a considered view to the child's future growth and facial development - it is particularly helpful to have a specialist orthodontist in-house.
If extractions are complex we will liaise with our maxillofacial surgery specialist to arrange suitable treatment.
Relative analgesia and general anaesthesia
We endeavour to make our young patients relaxed and happy to receive treatment, and this is always our goal. We offer kind and gentle treatment under local anaesthetic alone, or when necessary, supplemented with relative analgesia as provided by our fully trained specialist paediatric dentist and assistant. However if after best efforts treatment cannot be carried out without a general anaesthetic, our paediatric dentist has admitting rights to the Harley Street Clinic where a Consultant Anaesthetist will assist with the care of your child.
Treatment under relative analgesia or general anaesthesia tends to be used where multiple or prolonged treatments are needed by an extremely anxious child.