Children’s Dentistry FAQ
Why is children’s oral health care important?
Children’s oral health care is extremely important and understanding the basics of children’s dental and oral healthcare needs is the first step in helping your child establish a lifetime of healthy oral habits at an early age. One of the best ways to educate children about dental health and maintaining good oral hygiene is to encourage regular visits to the dentist and hygienist.
Why are baby teeth really that important to my child?
Primary or “baby,” teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?
We recommend your child should see a dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday. In our experience this allows your child to get familiar with the routine of visiting the dentist so subsequent visits do not becoming daunting.
What will happen at the child’s first examination?
Before any examination commences it is important to gain the child’s confidence in the dentist and nurse in order to make them feel comfort. As part of the examination you and your child will be asked about brushing and eating habits in order to identify any issues with the child’s diet that may result in decay.
Are parents allowed to come in to the surgery during treatments? Parents are welcome at the initial consultation and subsequent examinations, and we encourage them to be there to hear advice given at the appointment. However, we have found that children are more responsive to dental treatments and less emotional, when parents and/or carers are not in the surgery. We ask you to wait in the reception area and our nurse will call you if there is any need.
How safe are dental X-rays?
There is very little risk in dental X-rays. We are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. We limit the exposure of x- rays to children in this practice, as we have other equipment, which can actually detect decay earlier than it can show up on an x ray.
How often does my child need to see the dentist?
A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your dentist can tell you when and how often your child will need to be seen.
When can my child start seeing the hygienist?
It is our policy to reinforce the message of good oral hygiene to all children and we encourage children from ages 6 and above to see our hygienist regularly. Experience shows this is best way to help motivate and instill regular good dental hygiene habits. Visits to the hygienist should based on the child’s oral health condition at the check up visit.
How do I make my child’s diet safe for his teeth?
Make sure your child has a balanced diet which include one serving each of :
- fruits and vegetables
- breads and cereals,
- milk and dairy products,
- meat, fish or eggs.
Limiting the servings of sugars and starches in between meals will also aid in protecting your child’s teeth from decay.
Finishing a meal with a small piece of cheddar will help prevent decay.
How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?
Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth.
What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?
A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.
Are thumb sucking and dummy habits harmful for a child’s teeth?
Thumb and dummy sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your dentist.
Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?
Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced by the time a child is 2-3 years of age. Prior to that, parents should clean the child’s teeth with water and a soft brush. Parents should supervise and make sure the child uses no more than a pea-sized amount on the brush. Children should spit out and not swallow excess paste after brushing.
What should I do if my child has a toothache?
First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child paracetamol liquid for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible. What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?
The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then find the tooth and hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the dentist.