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The European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry is an organization of individuals whose primary concern is in the area(s) of practice, education and/or research specifically related to the specialty of Paediatric Dentistry. It purpose shall be the advancement of the specialty of Paediatric Dentistry for the benefit of the oral health of children.
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THE FIRST DENTAL PROBLEMS OF THE INFANTS


Question: When do the teeth of the infant start to develop?

The primary teeth of the baby start to form in the first trimester and the permanent teeth in the second trimester of pregnancy.  That is why any disturbances in the pregnant women’s health might cause damage not only to the primary, but also to the permanent teeth of the baby.  Some medicines (i.g. tetracycline) might also influence the color and the formation of the teeth.  Therefore you have to be very careful with the medicine you take during pregnancy and you must always consult a physician.

 
Question: When is the time for my baby to have  the first visit to the Paediatric Dentist?

Paediatric Dentists are specially trained dentists capable of taking care of children's oral health, effectively.  A paediatric dentist is responsible for the oral health of a baby, like a pediatrician is responsible for its health in general.  The first visit to the paediatric dentist  should take place as soon as the first tooth comes through.  During this first visit, the paediatric dentist will organize and give you a complete preventive dental program to follow; he/she will also examine the dental development of your child, will give you advice concerning its nutrition, and will inform you on how to avoid possible problems.

The second visit should take place when your child is 2,5 - 3 years old and approximately when all primary teeth have erupted.  The purpose of this visit is to check if all teeth have developed and erupted properly.  Teeth will be checked for toorh decay and if any preventive dental program has been followed and finally to design a program made for your child.

The third visit should take place at 3,5-4 years of age.  At this visit the paediatric dentist will examine if the development of the child’s teeth and jaws are normal, and if any tooth decay has occurred.   The preventive program will be adjusted again according to the needs of your child.  The first fluoride treatment  will take place at this time.  Your paediatric dentist  should examine your child 1-2 times per year in order to check the development of teeth and tooth decay, to adjust the preventive program and to give fluoride treatment as needed.



Question: When do the first teeth appear in the mouth?

The first tooth appears during the first 6-8 months and by the age of three, 20 teeth should appear in the child’ s mouth.  Both the earlier and the delayed appearance of teeth is usually hereditary and is not necessarily related to any problems.  If your baby, however, does not have any teeth by the 12th month of its life, you should  consult your paediatric dentist.



Question: What are the  symptoms related to teething and what can I do to help my baby?

The usual symptoms that appear when the primary teeth start erupting  are:

·   Red and swollen gums

·   Increased quantity of saliva ( salivation )

·   Anxiety and grumbling

·   A change in nutritional habits

·   Lack of appetite

·   Difficulty in sleep

In general the symptoms that are related to the appearance of the child’s first teeth are mild.  If you observe fever, rashes, vomiting or diarrhea, you must visit your pediatrician, because something else, not related to the teeth, is happening.

In order to relieve your baby from all these discomforts  you must clean its mouth 2-3 times/day with a wet gauze and give it cold objects -that are manufactured especially for this purpose- or a cold clean cloth to bite.

 

Question: Should the child use a pacifier?

Babies have an intense instinct of  sucking, which on one hand satisfies the need of feeding, on the other hand it replaces the connection with their mother.  Because of this it offers  them great pleasure.  In order to satisfy this need the child uses its fingers or other objects.  The pacifier  is an important and very common  means for  satisfying the sucking  need of the child.  It can function  preventively against the habit of finger sucking. Efforts to avoid the use of a pacifier  lead to finger sucking which is a simple replacement of the pacifier habit and  causes serious consequences on the development of the jaws.  In general, the use of a soother is preferred over the use of fingers because it can be stopped easier, at a younger age and generally causes less damages.

 
 

Question: When should the use of a pacifier  be stopped?

The use of the pacifier or the habit of finger sucking  should stop before the age of 4.  The reason being that if there are any deformities  of the jaws they will be selfcorrected with time.  However, if these habits are extended beyond this age as  it is seen with finger - sucking, it is  possible that the deformities  will be permanent and difficult to correct.  In such cases the most suitable person to consult  is your paediatric dentist, who will advise you about the ways of treating and breaking  these habits.



Question: What should the right pacifier be like?

The pacifier must be of such a size that the baby will not be able to put it entirely in its mouth.

The nipple must be soft with a thin and flexible neck.  It is preferable for  the shape of the nipple to be symmetrical, so the baby can place it in its mouth the right way.

The shield of the pacifier  must be concave so to touch the area around the mouth firmly and gently and to have ventilation holes allowing  air to circulate  to help prevent rashes,.

In general a pacifier   should be constructed in such a way that    the child will not be able to take it apart.  

Finally, it is totally forbidden to tie the pacifier with a ribbon around babies’ necks: danger of strangulation.


 

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