Dental caries is known to affect 5 to 20% of children aged 12 to 36 months, usually occurring in the maxillary incisors (the first teeth to erupt).
Furthermore, dental trauma is common in this age group, occurring in approximately one-third of all children.
These two factors, still commonly observed in pediatric dental practice, account for cases of extensive coronal destruction requiring oral rehabilitation, even in children under the age of 3, which often poses a challenge to the pediatric dentist.
In children, the etiological factors of dental caries are the same as in the general population. However, in younger children, there is the additional factor that teeth are undergoing eruption (which facilitates plaque buildup due to lack of functional occlusion with the antagonist teeth), made worse by poor or nonexistent oral hygiene.
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In very young patients, rehabilitative treatment is challenging due to difficulties inherent to the age of the child, which limit cooperation; to the extent of dental destruction; and to family members' motivations, especially in patients with early loss of deciduous teeth.
Therefore, pediatric dentists should be able to plan and implement individualized approaches on a case-by-case basis.
° RGO - Revista Gaúcha de Odontologia
° Natalino LOURENÇO NETO, Cristiane Almeida Baldini CARDOSO, Ruy César Camargo ABDO, Salete Moura Bonifácio da SILVA