Also milk teeth must be well cared for and controlled by the dentist, because they serve as “placeholders” for the second teeth and support a normal further face and dentition development.
A healthy milk set of teeth usually leads to a healthy permanent set of teeth, disturbances of the muscle balance, the chewing function and jaw joint complaints occur more rarely. As soon as the milk teeth flash through, the dentist should look at them twice a year to prevent tooth decay and damage. How best to prepare your child for his or her first visit to the dentist and what usually happens in the process, has been summarised by the Viennese paediatric dentist, DDr. Karin Assadian, in an interview with gesund.at.
When should parents take their child to the dentist?
It is important that you arrive with your child on time, i.e. the children’s dental recommendation is from the first milk tooth. The main thing here is to clarify the behaviour patterns of the parents. Children who continuously suck on a bottle of juice get tooth damage due to its sugar content and the acid resulting from bacterial metabolism. Also the frequent drinking of “healthy” fruit juices leads to the direct effect of the acid content of the drinks to the regular “dissolving” of the teeth which have just come out. Children should therefore get used to drinking water as early as possible.
How can parents prepare their child for the first visit to the dentist?
The best thing is when the child comes to us impartially and the parents only tell the child that they are taking him to the pediatric dentist today. A good sentence, for example, is: “The dentist will count your teeth.”
It is important that parents do not transfer their own fears and feelings to the child beforehand. Statements like: “Don’t be afraid anyway, it’s completely harmless and won’t hurt” should be avoided at all costs. The child only remembers “hurting”. The word “harmless” in the sentence is overheard. The less fuss you make about this, the better.
What happens during the first visit to the dentist?
During the first visit to the dentist, an x-ray of the tooth contacts – for the children “a photo of the teeth” – is taken, which provides a good view of the state of health of the teeth. The child is then accompanied to the treatment room. We give him time until he is ready to lie down in the dental chair.
As soon as he sees the TV program on the ceiling above the chair, the ice is usually broken and we can begin the examination. I like to tell the child that I let the teeth “glitter” and “sparkle” in the light and then I count the teeth and can determine the state of health of the teeth and make an orthodontic diagnosis. Then I get a little reward.
What happens if a milk tooth is affected by tooth decay?
The treatment doesn’t take place on the day I discover the tooth decay. It is important to prepare the child in advance for the treatment. We do this in a prophylaxis session in which the child is introduced to the dental treatment in a playful way.
What the actual caries treatment looks like depends on how far caries has already developed. In most cases, small fillings are made from filling materials with a high ceramic content. In the case of advanced caries infestation, root canal treatment and crowning may also be necessary for milk teeth, or the affected tooth may have to be removed. Where there is a gap between the teeth, placeholders are often used to prevent tooth migration.
They also work with child hypnosis. How exactly does this work?
By using child hypnosis, the child is distracted from the actual treatment. Everything I do is based on a story. For example, if the teeth are numbed, I don’t use the word “syringe”, but I tell the child that I feed the teeth with a “straw”. The pain during anaesthesia is not caused by the needle being inserted, but by the pressure in the tissue.
We use special devices with which this pressure can be very slowly and delicately dosed via an electronic pressure control so that the anaesthesia is completely painless. We constantly talk to the child. The stories we tell may sound a bit confusing to parents, but they do so deliberately.
How can the dentist take away the fear of the drill?
Hypnosis is certainly a good way to divert attention away from treatment. For children with very strong anxiety, the use of nitrous oxide also helps to overcome the initial uncertainty and make the children more hypnotic. They get a lot of oxygen and just a little laughing gas through their nose. The children are responsive for the entire duration of the treatment. Often they even start to laugh, become very funny and get nothing from the actual examination itself. The effect of laughing gas decreases immediately after the treatment.