The term dental surgery medically denotes a surgery done on the teeth or in advanced cases, the jaw bones. Like in adults, it is not uncommon to have performed dental surgery on children. Though unfortunate, there have been several recorded incidents where adolescents and in some cases even infants have had to undergo dental surgery.
In recent times, March 2012, there has been a particular case in Seattle, where doctors had to perform dental surgery on a two and half year old child, who had cavities in eleven out of twenty primary teeth! This is shocking news indeed and as such it is very important to take oral care from a tender age. Let’s have a look at some of the common dental surgery for children:
Dental Surgery For Kids
Just as is seen in the permanent teeth, similarly, there can be decays present in the milk teeth, which if unattended will spread to the pulp or roots. One of the main functions of the primary tooth is to maintain space for the permanent teeth. So if a primary tooth is untimely lost, it can even have severe impact such as excess crowding of tooth or even the non-eruption of the permanent teeth.
In such cases dentists prefer to perform a root canal treatment. There are two kinds of treatment for the primary teeth: Vital-pulp therapy, in which there is removal of pulp from the crown but not from the roots; and Non-Vital pulp therapy, in which there is removal of pulp from the crown as well as the root.
As the name suggests, a dental crown is an artificial cap that is placed over a decaying tooth, to assist it to recover and regain strength, or even if there are cases of dental implants. In children particularly, dentists use a crown in cases of: when a filling cannot be done on a decayed tooth or protect a tooth from further decay if the child is unable to cope up with general oral hygiene.
They even prefer a crown if they realize that the child will be unable to bear the doses of a high sedative or anaesthesia. This crown can be made of several materials such as stainless steel, porcelain, ceramic, metal and even resin. In paediatric dental care a stainless steel crown is recommended – firstly because though it covers the primary teeth, it comes off naturally when the permanent teeth starts to erupt; and second because of its cost-effective nature.
Though not a very favoured practice in children, there have been cases of tooth extraction in children too. This process comprises of the removal of the decaying teeth from the bone socket itself. It is a painful procedure and doctors usually give an anesthesia or ointment before the surgery.
Bleeding usually follows tooth extraction for which doctors give gauze to moderate it. Moreover, after an extraction it is important to wash the child’s mouth several times with water and salt. Alternatively ice packs can be run over the jaws and gums to lessen the pain.
Removing The Wisdom Teeth
Having nothing to do with age, the wisdom teeth which are actually molar teeth needs to be removed even in children as it is usually accompanied by pain. Moreover, it is possible that only a part of the teeth has surfaced which will only lead to growth of bacteria, or even that because of its’ angle it is crowding other tooth.
In all such cases the dentist will most likely remove the wisdom teeth. However, it must be remembered that removal is dependent on timing, and only a dentist can judge the best time for removal.
As the name suggests tooth whitening is done even on children due to excessive tooth discolouration. Whitening is usually not done on children below six years old, and some dentists advocate whitening on partially erupted permanent teeth.
There are two types of whitening: Vital, that is a tooth with a living nerve and Non-vital, that is a tooth without a living nerve. The most popularly used chemical for whitening is peroxide.