Growth and Development Part 1
Pediatric Dentists are experts at children’s growth and development. Believe it or not, most children will be visiting their dentist far more than their pediatrician or any other heath care provider. With such frequent dental visits, usually beginning between 12-18 months old, pediatric dentists can anticipate and address many development issues. A very common scenario that we run into is a young adult we are seeing for the first time complaining of “a tooth that never fell out”. Unfortunately, the permanent replacement tooth can change course within the bone and become impacted. Extreme impaction can result in the loss of the permanent tooth! When identified early, this developmental change can be corrected easily and the permanent tooth saved without braces.
These days, it is often the pediatric dentist who is recognizing nutritional changes and airway issues in children. We must remember that the mouth is the gateway to the body and changes within the body are often reflected in the mucosa or teeth of the mouth. Nutritional deficiencies, viruses and allergies often manifest within the mouth before affecting other parts of the body. We now know that food allergies, nutritional deficiencies, high fevers, and medicines can all change the composition of teeth! I often see patients with painful oral sores who are diagnosed a week later with a systemic virus or infection. Pediatric Dentists are experts at identifying and solving such issues. In my next Blog, I will discuss the importance of airway issues and the impact they can have on a child’s growth and development.
-Keaton Howe DDS MS