Meet The Expert : Dentist Dr. Sam

How to get a carefree dental health of your child.

Let’s get to know our expert!

Dr.Samadnya or Dr.Sam as she likes to be called, starts by telling that she was exposed to dentistry at a very young age as both of her parents were dentists which she found extremely fascinating. Getting a dental treatment done at a young age attracted her to dentistry which created the path of dentistry for Dr Samadnya.

Dr.Sam finished her BDS and worked for a few doctors during that time with her father being one of them. She then moved on to finish her MDS in Bangalore in 2016. After that, she worked as a consultant for many clinics before she joined Clove Dental in Gurgaon. Later, she felt that she received enough growth from the corporate sector and it was time to be her boss which led to the start of her clinic, The Smile Architect. Post that she no longer had to face the pressure of being told what to do and finally received the freedom to move on with her own decisions and could finally give her patients what she thought was best for them! She wanted to make people comfortable, friendly and trustworthy about dentists so that people will understand that it is just another normal treatment.

Dr.Samadnya answers a few of the most asked questions regarding pediatrics dentistry and shares with us what’s best for your child:

1. When should a baby first visit a dentist? Is there a certain age that you would recommend as a dentist?

The answer to this question differs with the time taken for the first tooth to grow in babies. Some are born with it, some get it within a month and some get it after 6 to 7 months of their birth. In any of these cases, the parents should start with the maintenance process. The baby can get his/her first dentist visit 6 months after the first few teeth start to grow to make sure it is healthy and grows well. 

Adding on to the point mentioned above, Take proper precautions at a young age to make sure it doesn’t grow worse later. 

2. Are x-rays safe for a child? Till what age do you think a child should wait before getting an x-ray?

If there is an X-Ray and surgery that is recommended by a doctor then it is best to get it done because they are not going to prescribe an x-ray and surgery unless it is really necessary.

Earlier, there were no digital x-rays and the radiations were relatively higher. Nowadays doctors use RVG ( Radio Visual Graph ) which has around 80% less exposure than the previous versions making it safe for the child. Also, the time taken for the x-ray is very less compared to the older versions and hence that minimises the radiation if at all there is any.

3.       Should I worry about my baby’s dental health if the milk teeth are going to fall out anyway?

The problem facing by many adults is due to the lack of proper care as a child. Every body part has a function and the same holds for the milk teeth as well. They help in providing good jaw structure by creating space for new teeth to grow. If the milk teeth aren’t taken proper care of then the tooth might fall out prematurely which can spoil the structure of the teeth that is yet to come. Premature fall of the milk teeth might fail to create good space for the new teeth which results in bad alignment of the permanent teeth. With regular checkups, the dentist can check for misalignments or problems and prescribe simple ways that can help your kid come over their problems.

4. How often should I brush my child’s teeth?

Twice. Every day.

The cleaning process should start even before the first tooth appears in the baby’s mouth. The ideal way would be to wrap a piece of clean cotton cloth around your finger and dip it in warm water and gently rub it over your baby’s jaw and mouth palates. This cleans the food residue in the baby’s mouth and prevents bacteria growth and bad odour. Once the tooth starts pushing through your baby’s gum line, it is necessary to brush the teeth twice every day.

This not only helps in cleaning the teeth but also helps in inculcating habits in the child. Teaching them to brush twice a day helps them develop the habit at a very young age.

5. What should I do if my child gets a toothache frequently? Is there anything I can do at home till I take my child to the dentist?

If your child gets toothache frequently then it is advisable not to do anything at home without understanding the cause of the pain. Applying clove oil might be good for the teeth but bad for the gums as it creates a burning sensation over the cavity or wound. If at all there is any delay to consult a dentist, then the recommended course of action would be giving your child a painkiller to ease the pain. Frequent toothaches are a problem and treating them without the consultation of a dentist may result in other side effects.

6. What can we do as parents to prevent tooth decay for our kids?

Regular dentist visits and proper supervision help a lot in preventing tooth decay for children. Parents must be aware of what their child is eating and regular mouth checks must be done to look for any changes in the structure of the teeth. Parents must also check for any minor discoloration of the teeth as it might be a start for decay and must visit the dentist before it gets worse. Most of the problems can be treated very easily when consulted with a specialist at the earliest and the same holds for teeth as well.

Another way to prevent tooth decay is minimising sugary and sticky foods and making sure your child inculcates the habit of rinsing their mouth after eating as it helps in getting rid of food that might be stuck in the child’s mouth.

7. When can I start using toothpaste for my kid and how much should I use?

Regular brushing with toothpaste can be started as soon as the child gets his/her first set of teeth. As long as the child learns not to swallow the toothpaste, it is important to use fluoride-free toothpaste as it can make your child sick. Any flavour that your child likes can be used to help them get into the habit of brushing more often. It is recommended that you use a kid’s toothbrush and use toothpaste almost the size of a rice grain.

8. Should I floss my child’s teeth? If yes, then how often and if no, then till what age should they wait before they can floss their teeth?

Ideally, flossing can be done once the child has all of their milk teeth present. Parents can start with it earlier if their child complains about the food getting stuck between their teeth as that area has to be cleaned. Starting with flossing early can help a lot in keeping their teeth clean. Parents must do regular mouth checks to look for areas where food might get stuck and must floss that area to prevent tooth decay.

9. How does adult dentistry differ from paediatric dentistry?

Paediatric dentistry differs from adult dentistry mainly due to the difference in the structure of the teeth. Although basic concepts remain the same, the way to solve the problem might differ with children as compared to adults. As an example to the above statement, if there is a cavity in the adult tooth, the dentist tries to preserve the tooth as much as possible. Whereas this can change when it comes to children as their teeth aren’t permanent. The dentist might remove the tooth if there is a cavity and will install a space maintainer to prevent the teeth from moving in. Such differences are bound to be there but the parent should consult a paediatric dentist rather than an adult dentist to make sure that the child is comfortable and can get his best treatment.

10.  How can one overcome the fear associated with dentists both in kids and adults?

The fear that one builds against dentists or any doctor for that matter starts as a child and hence, it is important to create a warm experience for the child for them to be more comfortable. The fear can either be subjective, which is a result of some bad experience with the doctor in their past or objective, where the patient has heard the bad experience of someone else and is afraid to go through that. In both cases, the doctor must give them a good experience for them to understand that it is not a thing to worry about.

Parents must keep in mind that using dentist visits as a punishment or a threat is not going to help your child as it just helps build up the fear among children and this is just going to worsen as they grow up.