Dr. Mahesh Ramakrishnan
Dr. Mahesh Ramakrishnan – Paediatric Dentist at Padma Dental Care speaks to S10 Health on the ideal preventive practices that health seekers should follow.
What is your speciality in the field of Paediatric Dentistry? And can you tell us your process of approaching an issue.
I specialise in paediatric dentistry and this covers new-borns and teenagers till 18 years. My concentration lies on working exclusively with children affected by cleft lip and palate from birth. Having a cleft palate/lip causes issues with feeding- breast milk comes out from nose, causing discomfort to the baby. We use a feeding plate which is fitted in the infants’ mouth to feed properly.We also have a specific root canal treatment for kids especially.At Padma, we also emphasise on Behaviour Management.
Could you elaborate on that please?
There are 2 approaches that we follow with the 2 groups of our patients- children with special needs (those with Down ’s syndrome, child heart disease etc.) and children with specific dental problems. We take extra care and caution with special needs children, by making them comfortable and using complete anaesthesia to begin treatments. They need more attention because they are not in a position to fully care for their oral hygiene. So we have exclusive treatment processes for them.
Counselling of parents is just as important where we explain the need to administer sleep dentistry from children upto 5-6 years, as they cannot keep their mouths open for long like an adult. The need to keep cavities away and oral hygiene is the other area of focus.
Children spend a significant amount of time in school. What should a school be equipped with to impart better dental care to kids?
The involvement of the school is very important here. They are the ones that reiterate and stress further on the necessity for dental care and hygiene. They must talk to the kids about prevention of cavities and cleanliness. And the teachers must have basic knowledge of how to deal with trauma and emergencies. If a child’s tooth is impacted because of injury, please come to the dentist immediately – do not waste time. If a tooth has fallen out, immerse it in liquid and carry it along to the doctor.
What is the important factor in dental care that most parents are disregarding?
While the education on dental care has increased I find the lower socio-economic strata of health seekers to be most affected. Most don’t understand the importance of a child’s milk teeth and they believe if it doesn’t fall before the age of 2, it must be pulled out. Do not attempt to do that. If the tooth is removed prematurely it affects the flow of saliva- leading to abdominal problems, acidity, respiratory trouble, sometimes skin disorders/infection.
Could you sum up your plans for Preventive Dentistry?
We are putting together a comprehensive list of Anticipatory Guidelines which we will be giving out soon. It will include information on Pre-natal counselling, Post-natal feeding habits for e.g. night time feeding of milk is a common reason for cavities in 2-3 year old children.Indian Academy of Paediatrics says there is no need for night feeding at all after 1 year and of course when to start brushing and its correct methods.