With the recent innovations in pediatric dentistry, gone are the days when children should be scared of their dental visits. Safety, comfort, efficiency, and conservative forms of treatment are now standards when treating children.
Children can now experience painless tooth removal and other treatments. No more loud saws and drills, stressed-out parents, and traumatized kids. And these advancements are not just for the usual checkups and tooth removals, too. From on-time cavity detection to single tooth anesthesia to digital x-rays and entertainment, here are some breathtaking technological advances in pediatric dentistry:
- On-Time Cavity Detection With Amazing Imaging And Diagnostic Tools
Baby teeth are essential. They not only pave the way for permanent teeth but also help with chewing and speech, and facial development. Additionally, healthy and beautiful smiles give kids confidence. Nevertheless, performing extensive dental work on kids isn’t ideal, hence the need to catch decay as early as possible.
Early cavity detection means more accessible, faster, less invasive, and affordable treatment. Also, early cavity detection helps the dentist preserve the baby tooth until it falls on its own. This helps keep the child’s oral development in check. In some cases, dentists avoid restorative treatment, and early cavity detection can help reserve the affected tooth with preventive care.
Currently, most dentists in clinics like Family Dental Health Center are using diagnostic tools that focus on transillumination to identify cavities on time in children. Transillumination is shining a light through a tooth to know what’s happening on the inside and between. Fortunately, the light doesn’t release radiation.
Transillumination makes the enamel appear transparent, while decay and cracks look dark. When this technology is used alongside x-rays, it’s hard to miss anything happening to the teeth. Unlike now, if a tooth was thought to have some problem, multiplex-rays were done before identifying the real problem, exposing the child to excessive radiation. Currently, only a simple test is required, and misdiagnosing healthy teeth is eradicated.
- Single Tooth Anesthesia
This is the first dental anesthesia controlled by a computer. Contrary to a typical dental syringe application of anesthesia, single tooth anesthesia (STA) is children-friendly technology that eliminates dental injections. Additionally, single tooth anesthesia has limited effects on the affected teeth and doesn’t affect the lips and face. This technology eliminates concerns of children biting their lips during and after the procedure because of numbness.
- Oral Injections And Techniques
Painless injection is another major pediatric dentistry technology that’s currently gaining popularity. When a small child requires dental treatment, being injected elicits unbearable fear. This isn’t the best feeling for kids and makes them dread visiting dentists.
Luckily, painless oral injections and techniques improve the child’s experience. Dentists rely on methods and tools that reduce the required anesthesia, eliminating pain and easing dental anxiety in children. Painless oral injection allows dentists to complete procedures as soon as possible with unbeatable patient compliance.
For children with exceptional dental phobia, who are young and require several treatments or have special health care requirements, dental sedation is used for effective and safe treatment. Professional dentists use the advanced monitoring tool to ensure the safety of the process. During this procedure, the patient feels nothing and doesn’t remember it. Also, the dentists can complete different treatments in a single visit. Before commencing with dentistry sedation, the dentist discusses the risks and benefits with the parent or guardian to ensure they are fully enlightened. For some parents, this procedure is the right one for their kids and embraces such pediatric dentistry advancement.
- New Material In Pediatric Dentistry
There’s a revolution in how dentists care for primary teeth due to the new materials in pediatric dentistry, from durable tooth-colored fillings to exceptional dressing for pulpotomies (a procedure involving the removal of pulp or soft tissue in the tooth after being infected and placing a dressing).
Currently, restorations are more aesthetic, biocompatible, and free of metal and mercury. When filling a tooth, most dentists bond the tooth-colored resin to the affected tooth, restoring most of its strength and ensuring it stays in place until it falls on its own at the right time. If the primary tooth’s pulp is infected, advanced medication can be as effective as older chemical treatments but safer.
StemSave helps collect and preserve valuable stem cells contained within the baby, wisdom, and permanent teeth. Through cryopreservation, such stem cells can be used to treat disease or injury in the future. Scientists are directing stem cells to grow into almost every human cell, such as heart, liver, cartilage, brain, and insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells.
Topical antiseptics prevent or slow down the growth of microorganisms after being applied to living tissues. Antiseptics are more effective than typical antibiotics. Contrary to antibiotics, antiseptics have various intracellular targets that reduce resistance development. Nevertheless, antiseptic should be limited to infected skin, wounds, and mucosa.
Antiseptics are believed to slow cavity progression in adults, and dentists advise combining topical fluorides and antimicrobials for more comprehensive protection against cavities in children.
- Kid-Sized Dentistry
Among the recent and future technologies in pediatric dentistry is kid-sized dentistry. Previously, dentists used adult-sized tools on children. Also, children were taken to general dentists instead of a pediatric clinic.
A great example of efforts to improve medicine and dentistry for children is the Image Gently Campaign. The group advocates for the safety and comfort of pediatric patients when undergoing imaging procedures. This includes using the most high-tech performing x-rays and the fastest image receptors when necessary, using protection such as thyroid collars, and decreasing exposure time for kids.
Most dentists follow these guidelines when treating children using Pedo Sensors—small, kid-sized sensors placed in a child’s mouth instead of bitewings. Such sensors make the treatment more effortless, comfortable, and fast.
Alongside sensors, a high-tech hand-held x-ray machine is used to reduce exposure time and discharge less radiation than typical x-ray machines. The process is twice as fast as traditional x-rays, and images are more transparent.
If a child requires cone-beam CT, high-tech machines that provide three-dimensional images are used. Such machines expose children to less radiation and eliminate retakes.
There are also other new products such as DryShield that help with kid-sizing dentistry. This product comes with tiny mouthpieces and bites blocks suitable for children. Exam tools are smaller to fit small patients. This technology helps provide better care for kids and makes the experience more comfortable.
Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol sugar. Streptococcus mutants don’t metabolize this type of sugar. Xylitol restrains biofilm attachment while interfering with intracellular metabolism. This type of sugar is found in various forms such as lozenges, gum, sprays, pastes, mints, rinses, and baking alternatives for sugar and other sweeteners. According to some studies, a Xylitol dose of six to 10g daily significantly reduces Mutans streptococci (MS) levels.
However, when taken at a high dosage, Xylitol can cause gastrointestinal distress. While The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) advises using Xylitol chewing gum to inhibit cavity, they also recommend further research.
- Topical Fluorides
Usually, professionally applied topical fluorides are used strictly in dental clinics and are supplied in the form of gels, solutions, foams, varnishes, or prophylactic. Topical fluorides are applied in various methods: 5000-ppm fluoride gels, 1100-ppm dentifrice, 223-ppm fluoride rinse, and 23, 000-pm varnish.
Fluoride is used to enhance remineralization and restrict demineralization. Fluoride ions are added to the remineralizing dentin to change carbonated apatite into fluorapatitelike form. The fluorapatitelike form is acid-tolerant, making the hard tissue more acid-resistant. Also, fluoride restricts bacterial intracellular enzymes.
- Digital CAM Restoration
Currently, both adults and children are successfully treated by the CAM system. Primary molars and broken permanent first molars are successfully restored by CAD/CAM technology. Direct placement of composite restorations of preformed stainless-steel crowns in children with dental issues is preferred by most dentists for various reasons. Direct composite restoration placement comes with the longevity of the restoration, faster procedure, and higher aesthetics.
Preparing the tooth for the procedure, taking the optical impression, milling the restoration, and cementing can be done in 20 minutes with CAD/CAM technique. Generally, the pediatric restorations mill is done in two minutes due to the small size.
The fabrication of metallic space maintaining appliances like the band and the loop is also impacted by digital technology. Fixed metallic space maintainers are obtained without classical impression or cast by using digital technology. The whole process involves a digital impression taken by an intraoral scanner.
The information is then processed by specialized software, and then a transparent 3D resin that can be checked in the patient’s mouth for better adaptation is printed. The results are sent to the lab to pack and obtain the analogous metal appliances.
Afterward, the last metallic space maintainer is fixed intraorally with resin cement.
- Resin Infiltration
With resin infiltration, pediatric dentists can treat early-stage cavities and unwanted white spots on teeth. As a result, a healthy tooth structure is preserved. This procedure is painless and doesn’t involve drilling.
- Digital Dental Scanner
Currently, digital scanners are used to produce custom-fitted restorative dental crowns and perform accurate orthodontic scans like those required for Invisalign or braces. Digital dental scanners are fast, offering shorter and quick visits and procedures.
- Digitally-Based Surgical Guides
Surgical tooth extraction is common in dentistry. Nevertheless, most procedures pose high difficulty levels related to poor visualization and lack of proper tools, among other factors. Fortunately, with the help of 3D imaging and printing, and computer planning, a new surgical was developed to enable dentists overcome complications related to tooth extraction.
The surgical guide is developed for every patient with either one or several teeth requiring surgical extraction. Surgical extraction using a digital surgical guide minimizes postoperative bleeding, pain, and tissue laceration.
- Digital Occlusion
The T-Scan system is an occlusal scanning system developed to measure and record the biting force. This system is used in prosthodontics, orthodontics, implant dentistry, and on patients with bruxism. The 3rd generation version includes scanning electronics, intraoral sensors, and intuitive software. It comes with a mouth-shaped sensor to fit into sensor support. The sensor is inserted into the sensor handle connected to the USB port and can easily move among the operatories.
The T-Scan software is used to record and store occlusal data of a specific patient in a database. It also provides occlusal analysis features allowing dentists to figure out the first and last contact, occlusal balance contacts at any time, and view several scans to compare bites.
- Digital Entertainment
Most teeth treatments are painful, more so if the patient is young. To alleviate pain and anxiety in children with teeth issues, most pediatric dentists are incorporating digital entertainment in terms of iPads in the play area, Wi-Fi, or TVs. Digital entertainment makes visits to the dentists enjoyable and is a comforting distraction.
Shift Towards Prevention
Unlike in the past, dentists are now well informed. They can also access improved techniques and materials. Thanks to recent trends in pediatric dentistry, there has been a shift toward preventive care thanks to recent trends in pediatric dentistry.
It’s always right to perform a less invasive tooth treatment to ensure the tooth is as intact as possible. With technologies like dental sealants, fluoride varnish, digital x-rays, and habit-breaking appliances, dental problems can be prevented or intervened as soon as possible. Fortunately, most pediatric dentistry focuses on preventing teeth damage instead of repairing the damage. With regular and proper oral hygiene, children can experience fewer cavities and challenges while having an overall experience.
Pediatric dentistry has experienced a revolution in terms of technology. Unlike when children experienced painful, invasive dental procedures, currently, the procedure is quick and painless, thanks to advanced science. Now, children can experience painless and less invasive treatments and enjoy their beautiful smiles.
However, it’s advisable to ensure your child eats a healthy balanced diet and practices proper oral health to avoid cavities and other teeth issues. Also, avoid feeding your young one sugary food as they are the root cause of dental problems.