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Kids Dentistry

Pediatric Dentistry is the branch of dentistry dealing with children from birth through adolescence. This discipline focuses intimately on pediatric/adolescent growth and development, disease causality and prevention, child psychology and management, and all aspects of the highly-specialized Pediatric restorative techniques and modalities.

When should i take my child to the dentist for the first time?

Your child’s first visit should be made early in life ideally after the first Birthday. The Dentist will check for decay and other problems and also teach your child the proper brushing technique. Visiting early will help your child build a lifetime of good dental habits.

Do I need to clean my baby’s mouth if there are no teeth yet?

Begin cleaning the baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth. After every feed, wipe the baby’s gums with a clean, damp washcloth to remove plaque.

Can babies get cavities?

Yes. Tooth decay is possible as teeth are present in the mouth from the age of six months. Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when baby is fed on, bottle milk having sugar, especially if this milk remains around the child’s teeth during sleep. The teeth will be affected by acids and decay can result.

When should thumbsucking stop?

Children should normally stop thumbsucking by the time the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt (above 7 years of age). Usually, children stop between the ages of two and four years. If the habit persists the Dentist should be consulted.

Can a child lose a primary (milk) tooth too early?

If the primary (milk) teeth are lost too early, nearby teeth can tip or move into the vacant space. When the permanent teeth are ready to come into the mouth, there may not be enough room. This may cause teeth to erupt irregularly and out of position. The Dentist may recommend Space Maintainer to maintain the space for permanent teeth.

How often should my child visit the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a dental check-up at least twice each year for most children. Your dentist will decide how often your child should be seen, as some children need more frequent visits due to increased risk of tooth decay, unusual growth patterns or poor oral hygiene. As a rule, a child should have a complete examination, cleaning and fluoride treatment every six months starting from three years of age.

Sealants

  • Sealants/Fluoride treatments for kids as prevention of decay are better than cure
  • One of the most common places where tooth decay develops is on the chewing surfaces of back teeth, the premolars and molars.
  • There are pits and fissures on the top surfaces of molars and premolars which if deep are tough to clean because tooth brush bristles can not reach deep into the grooves and pits
  • Dental Sealent is a material that is applied on to the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars, this acts as barrier protecting enamel by sealing out plaque and preventing food retention.
  • Dental Sealents are easy to apply, takes only few minutes per tooth and is a painless procedure.
  • These are usually clear or white in color and cannot be seen when a person smiles or talk.
  • Dental Sealents hold up well under the force of everyday chewing, can last for few years before reapplication is needed.
  • The likelihood of developing tooth decay on the chewing surfaces begins shortly after teeth come into the mouth, so children and teenagers are obvious candidates for sealents.
  • The ideal age groups for sealents being

  • When the child is 3-4 years of age milk molars should be sealed.
  • When the child is 6-7 years of age the first permanent molars should be sealed.
  • When the child is 11-12 years of age premolars and second permanent molars should be sealed.
  • Adults who have deep groves can also benefit from sealents as risk of cavities is greatly reduced.

Dietary Advice for Children

Always consult healthy eating pyramid.

    1) Pregnancy

  • Follow healthy eating pyramid in conjunction with health care professionals advice.
  • Take prenatal supplements as prescribed.
  • Limit the intake of cariogenic foods for example those containing high amounts of sucrose.

    2) Birth 1 Year

  • Avoid dipping pacifiers into sweetened food.
  • Avoid excessive consumption of juice/sugars contained in drinks.
  • Encourage weening at 6 months.

    3) 1-2 years

  • Continue the avoidance of the bottle to bed.
  • Establish a routine eating plan.
  • Avoid and discourage slowly eaten sugar containing foods. Its very important to note that decay in children and adults is related to the frequency and form and amount of sugar intake, so avoid.

    4) 2 - 5 years

  • Promote nutritious non cariogenic/non decay causing foods for snacks.
  • Encourage majority of snacks to be consumed at regular mealtimes.

If you require further assistance your dentist will carry out a dietary analysis with you and your child.

    Tips on weening child

  • If child is already in the habit of bringing a bottle of juice to bed, gradually dilute the juice step by step with water until eventually only water remains.
  • Its very important to never allow the child to eat in bed. Sugary sticky foods will be retained on the teeth. At night saliva levels drop dramatically which reduces its antimicrobial function. Always children should be fed and than put to bed.

Always ensure children's medicine is sugar free

    Oral Hygiene for Children

  • Use a flouride containing toothpaste at least 500ppmf - On the tooth paste packet.
  • Use a small child sized toothbrush when child has sufficient manual dexterity.
  • Always supervise children 2-7 years ensuring only a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste is used as to ensure swallowing is avoided.
  • Brush for at least 2-3 minutes.
  • Start with the surface of the teeth nearest the cheek and lips - Use circular motions with the tooth brush ensuring to contact both the gums.
  • On the biting surfaces brush back and forth (never brush back and forth on the surfaces nearest the cheek and lips this will cause the gums to receed.
  • On the surfaces nearest the tongue, flick the toothbrush in an outwards motion.Do this for both upper and lower teeth?
  • For children over 2 years it is advised to brush teeth with a toothbrush and tap water. If a child is at high risk for developing dental decal - Ask your dentist.

Never use mouthwash if child is below 7 years.