Other Issues Affecting Infants

Teething – Can cause systemic distress

Increased temperature, GI irritation, diarrhea, dehydration, increased salivation.

Treatment:

  • Maintain/increase fluid consumption, analgesics, palliative care, teething rings.
  • Avoid topical meds (Ambesol).

Non-nutritive Habits

  • Arise from psychological needs and physiologic need for nutrition.
  • Non-nutritive oral habits (e.g., digit and pacifier habits, bruxism, abnormal tongue thrusts) may apply forces to teeth and dentoalveolar structures that result in occlusionand facial developmental changes.
  • Early dental visits provide an opportunity to encourage parents to help their children stop habits by age three years or younger, before malocclusion or skeletal dysplasiaoccurs.

It is important to discuss the need to wean from the habits before malocclusion or skeletal dysplasia occurs. For school-aged children, counseling regarding habits is appropriate. It occurs in 70-90% of children.

Digit habits are harder to break than pacifier habits. Both conventional pacifiers and orthodontic pacifiers have the same effect on orofacial structures.

Habits of sufficient frequency, intensity, and duration can contribute to:

  • Reduced overbite, increased overjet.
  • Protrusion of maxillary incisors.
  • Anterior open bite.
  • Narrowing of the maxillary arch width, widening of mandibular arch.
Figure 13.
Image: Damage caused by pacifier overuse.
Damage caused by pacifier overuse.

Injury Prevention

An age-appropriate injury prevention counseling for parents/caregivers should be put in place for potential orofacial trauma accidents.

Discussions with parents would include play objects, pacifiers, car seats, and chewing of electric cords. Little ones love to put things into their mouths.