“Your teeth are bleeding. Go wash your mouth…now!”
“You have a toothache, dear? Have this painkiller twice everyday!”
Unfortunately, this is the sort of casual way in which pediatric dental and gum problems are treated in India. Not surprisingly, close to 16% of all kids in the age range of 6-9 suffer from advanced cases of dental caries and cavities. What most parents do not understand is that, trying to treat such oral complaints at home is often futile (and might even prove counterproductive, thanks to the side effects of strong OTC medications). Here are a few common dental problems which necessitate a visit to a reliable local dentist:
Foul mouth odor – If television ads were anything to go by, buying certain brands of toothpastes would be a surefire way of getting rid of bad breaths. Sadly, things are not that easy – and a lot of causes, right from digestive irregularities and diabetes, to acute sinusitis, can lead to foul mouth odor. Don’t rely on mouth-freshners to get rid of the problem, and bring your child to any good dental clinic in Kolkata instead. A thorough checkup is required before determining the right course of treatment.
Bad Bites – According to leading dentists in India, teeth malocclusion is an extremely common, and often ignored, complaint in kids and teens. The problem arises from abnormal spacing between the teeth (either widely spaced teeth, or crowded teeth) and/or malformation of the jaw. High-impact collisions can also cause dental trauma, leading to malocclusion and bad bites. Dental x-rays and scans would reveal the exact nature of the problem, following which the restoration procedure can start.
Teeth oversensitivity – Kids love sweets and chocolates and fizzy drinks (at least most of them do!). If you give in to the sweet tooth demands of your li’l one, you’ll be doing him/her a serious disfavor in the long-run. These types of food gradually wear down the tooth enamel surface, as a result of which the interior of the teeth become exposed. In certain cases, the protective cover over the nerve endings can also get damaged. Initial symptoms of such problems include difficulties in eating hot or cold food, and uncomfortable sensations in the teeth due to fluctuations in the temperature. A quick visit to a dental hospital is highly recommended.
Prolonged thumbsucking – There is nothing wrong with infants peacefully sucking on their thumbs. However, if the habit persists when your son/daughter is 5-6 years old and permanent teeth have started to appear in his/her mouth – that can lead to complications. Experts from dental hospitals across the world agree that such persistent thumbsucking can cause abnormal formation of teeth, incorrect spacing, and other issues hampering a kid’s overall oral hygiene. Dentists generally prescribe protective coverings/caps on the thumbs of children, which help in gradually doing away with the habit. The tried-n-tested method of putting ‘neem’ on the fingers of children works well too.
Bruxism – Many children are in the habit of grinding their teeth. The reason for this tendency can be psychological (study pressures, tensions, etc.), or a general discomfort in certain sections of the mouth. If left untreated for long, bruxism can cause irreparable damages to the permanent teeth of your child – and complete dental replacement becomes the only treatment option. However, if you do get in touch with expert pediatric dentists in time, the problem can be systematically removed – generally with the help of dental implants and/or nightguards.
Bleeding gums – It might come as a surprise – but blood discharge due to a high-impact fall or collision is the least serious type of gum-bleeding in a kid. Many children in India do not follow proper oral hygiene norms (and their parents are blissfully unaware of that) – and this leads to the onset of gingivitis. This is yet another problem that cannot be treated at home, and negligence can lead to the teeth roots getting affected too. Unless you contact a dental practitioner at an early stage, loss of tooth and/or permanent neural damages become distinct possibilities.
Dental decay – Tooth decay does not happen overnight. It is a continuous process, and unfortunately, the symptoms might not be evident until the problem reaches a fairly advanced stage. If you allow your kid to gorge on sugary and/or starchy food (anything that has high carbohydrate content), there is every chance that some of these edibles would remain deposited on/between the teeth. These leftovers react with oral bacteria to usher in the problem of dental caries. That, in turn, can bring about a host of oral medical complications. Ideally, you should take your kid for regular dental check-ups at any good Kolkata clinic, and find out the correct techniques of brushing and flossing. Following a balanced diet, and in particular, staying away from overconsumption sweets and candies, is of essence too.
Mouth ulcers – Canker sores are a common pediatric dentistry problem, and they can be acutely painful. Thankfully though, most of such sores get healed on their own within a couple of weeks (maximum). However, some canker sores can develop into full-blown mouth ulcers – which pose serious threats to dental and gum health. Antimicrobial mouthwashes are, in most cases, prescribed by dentists, for gradually removing such ulcers. In case there are pus discharges from the mouth sores, some preliminary scans and other tests might also be required.
Plaque formation – Dental plaque refers to the coating that forms over the surface of the teeth, due to improper/inadequate brushing and flossing. Formation of plaque is the primary cause of dental caries, arguably the biggest pediatric oral problem in India. As the parent, the onus is on you to prevent your kid from having too much of sweet food, to ensure that (s)he brushes his/her teeth properly after every meal, and to take him/her for regular dental checkups. Dental surgeons can scrape off the plaque from the tooth surface, minimizing the risk of cavity attacks.
Over-retained primary teeth – The natural process of eruption of permanent teeth can get disrupted, if the primary teeth (baby teeth) remain in their place for longer-than-normal periods. In these cases, there is no space for the permanent teeth to grow properly – and cases of impacted tooth can be a direct result. Detailed clinical tests are required to find out the nature and condition of the primary as well as the permanent teeth. Depending on the reports, doctors decide on how to ensure problem-free appearance of teeth.
Delayed formation of teeth – If your child’s first set of teeth do not appear by the time (s)he is 8-9 months old, you have reason to worry. Stay away from the misinformed ‘do-at-home’ dental treatment methods, and visit a reliable oral treatment clinic as soon as possible. Multiple medical conditions (including genetic ones) can be the underlying cause for abnormal delays in the appearance of teeth. If you do not bother to seek medical help in time, the absent tooth/teeth might never appear. You won’t like your li’l darling to have missing teeth, would you?
Appearance of wisdom teeth – One of the most troublesome teenage dental issues revolve around that painful thing called wisdom tooth. It generally makes its presence felt between the ages of 18 and 24, and often leads to infections – affecting the tooth roots and tissues. To save your child the trouble, you need to book an appointment at a clinic for the removal of wisdom tooth.
In cases of tooth fractures, cracks or chipped teeth too, your child might have to undergo a dental restoration procedure. Gum swelling, intermittent toothaches (a telltale sign of dental caries) and stained teeth are also pretty common among kids. Parents should ideally book appointments at a reliable dental clinic in Kolkata for their kids, at regular intervals – to ensure that the latter’s oral hygiene has not been compromised in any way. Pediatric dentistry, after all, is not something you can afford to take lightly.