Understanding Common Dental Problems in Kids
It is every parent’s responsibility to ensure their child has a healthy upbringing. A child’s health and comfort depend on their dental health. Children are exposed to a variety of infectious environments, especially when the milk teeth start growing. Dental problems in kids depend on a variety of aspects; these include the environment and parenting routines. Environment Is a pivotal contributor to the kind of dental infections a child is likely to contract. This is the main reason why pediatric dentists in different regions specialize in specific infections and conditions. For instance, childrens dentist Brentwood residents consult could be specialized in gum disease treatment. Dental problems in kids are classified into infections and conditions. This article explores the everyday infections and conditions in kids.
Common Dental Infections in Kids
Foreign disease-causing pathogens cause dental infections. Pathogens find their way into the child’s mouth and teeth by exposure to contaminated food items or generally poor dental hygiene. Some of the common dental infections in kids include;
- Pulpitis–Pulpitis refers to the inflammation of the dental pulp. It is caused by the presence of bacteria inside the dental pulp. Bacteria enter the dental pulp through untreated dental caries or cracks on the tooth. Pulpitis is characterized by red and swollen pulp and occasional pain stimulated by temperature changes. This implies that the child feels pain whenever they take a cold or hot substance. Extreme cases of pulpitis could lead to inflammation of the gum and the kid’s face. When untreated, it can cause permanent destruction of the pulp, necessitating tooth removal.
- Periodontal disease–Periodontal disease is a combination of two dental infections: gingivitis and periodontitis. This infection is caused by the presence of bacteria on the dental plaque. The bacteria penetrate the gingival epithelium causing inflammation and destruction of the periodontium. Gingivitis is characterized by localized gum swelling with bones supporting the teeth remaining intact. Children with gingivitis experience pain and bleeding of the gums when brushing their teeth. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is associated with loss of the bone structure supporting the teeth. The detachment of periodontal ligament due to bone loss results in weak jaws and teeth. In children and teenagers, periodontitis is classified as juvenile periodontitis. Periodontal disease causes unexplained fevers in children.
- Pericoronitis–Pericoronitis is one of the most common infections children of teeth-growing age encounter. This acute localized bacterial infection occurs due to trapped food particles under the gingival flaps of a partially erupted tooth. In teenagers, pericoronitis could also occur when food particles are trapped on gingival flaps of an impacted wisdom tooth. This infection is characterized by localized pain and discomfort when chewing. Extreme cases of pericoronitis lead to difficulty in opening the jaw and facial swelling.
Common Dental Conditions in Kids
Dental conditions refer to the state and shape of teeth. Unlike infections, dental conditions are caused by environmental and other factors occurring over a long period. In some cases, dental conditions could be genetic. Correcting dental conditions takes a longer time compared to treating dental infections. Having a good children’s dentist Brentwood residents trust and recommend will help you find an effective solution to certain conditions. Some common dental conditions in kids include;
- Tooth discoloring–Tooth discoloring is a common condition among kids below twelve years. Both environmental and habitual aspects cause this condition. It could be as a result of drinking water that the child is exposed to. Minerals contained in drinking water could cause discoloring of teeth over time. The minerals react with the enamel causing a yellowish pigment that becomes permanent when not taken care of. Habitual aspects such as irregular and inconsistent brushing of teeth could also lead to discoloring. When children consume pigmented foods and beverages for a long time without brushing their teeth, discoloring is likely to occur. The adverse impact of discoloring in kids lowers their self-esteem leading to poor social and academic performance.
- Tooth decay–Tooth decay is mainly caused by poor oral hygiene. It is a condition where the tooth enamel is gradually eroded, exposing the inner parts of the tooth. Tooth decay is stimulated by sugars and food particles attached to the enamel. This is one of the main reasons children’s consumptions of sugary products should be limited. At an advanced stage, tooth decay could lead to tooth sensitivity, a case of eroded enamel exposing nerve endings to stimulation by changes in temperature. Tooth sensitivity is associated with a sharp pain or reaction on teeth when one takes a cold or hot substance. Tooth decay could be a path for bacteria to the pulp; bacterial infection causes pulpitis. Tooth decay can be repaired by sealing off the decayed parts. In extreme cases, tooth removal is done to prevent the decay from reaching the roots.
- Teeth misalignment–Teeth misalignment, also called malocclusion, is another common dental condition that children are exposed to. Teeth misalignment can be classified into crowding, over-spacing, and overbite and underbite. Crowding is a condition where teeth are closely packed at a point on the jaw. Over-spacing is where teeth are widely spaced than average. Overbite and underbite are where teeth on either jaw grow outwards or inwards past the opposite jaw. Several factors cause malocclusion; these include accidents and oral habits such as thumb sucking. Prolonged use of suckling bottles can also cause malocclusion in kids. Malocclusion can be treated using braces or Invisalign treatment. Braces involve still wires and nuts used to exert slight pressure on teeth to redirect growth and spacing. Invisalign treatment uses plastic molds to achieve the same results as braces.
Although remedies to dental problems in kids are readily available, one should consult an expert before applying them. A well-trained and experienced children’s dentist can advise caregivers on the best treatment methods depending on the child’s condition. One of the main aspects to consider when selecting a dentist for a child is the equipment available. A dental institution with child-friendly equipment and staff reduces dental trauma, which many kids experience when visiting dentists. Recommendations about good children’s dentists are available on the internet and local print and digital media.