Counseling caretakers regarding feeding practices and daily tooth cleaning forinfants should include information on Early Childhood Caries (ECC). ECC isa particularly virulent form of caries that can develop when an infant is provideda bottle of formula, milk, or sugared liquids for at-will feedings and/or at sleeptimes. Sugared liquids remain in the mouth for hours creating an acid environmentthat enhances enamel demineralization.
The maxillary incisors are the first teeth affected, usually by 18 to 20 monthsof age. Because children who experience ECC have a greater probability ofsubsequent caries development in both the primary and permanent dentitions, aggressivepreventive and therapeutic measures often are necessary. Interim therapeuticrestoration (ITR) and stainless steel crowns (SSC) should be considered as treatmentoptions. Without early caries detection and therapeutic intervention, extractionsmay be indicated. Sedation or general anesthesia are often necessary adjunctsin guiding the behaviors of young children who require dental treatment.