A lifetime of healthy teeth and oral hygiene begins at a very young age. Maintaining your child’s teeth at all stages of their life is crucial, especially during the baby teeth stage Kids are impressionable and learn from their parents. How a parent responds to dental health and procedures will greatly impact on how children treat their teeth for life.
Fun & Gentle Dentistry
At Hawthorn East Dental, we go above and beyond to make kids’ first dental visits fun! From riding on brightly coloured dental chairs to watching cartoons on ceiling-mount TVs, it’s always a comfortable and welcoming experience. And of course everyone gets a sticker, a special balloon and a showbag full of goodies!
We want to create an enjoyable experience for our young kids. During their very first visit, it might be as simple as a ride with mummy or daddy on the dental chair, to get familiarized with the surroundings. If they don’t like to show their teeth, don’t stress, it will come naturally. If they do, then it’s a bonus. It’s always a gentle approach to get them used to seeing the dentist. With time, those routine dental visits will create great habits throughout life.
We recommend that a child should have their first dental visit by their 1st birthday. This allows your child’s oral development and growth to be monitored. After all, prevention is the best medicine!
At Hawthorn East Dental, we have a friendly and caring team with over a decade of experience treating mummy’s little helpers!
Why are checkups important at such young age?
As well as making sure your children’s teeth and gums are healthy, we would monitor oral growth and development. We also look out for any aberrant habits and their management, and talk about preventative home care and diet counseling.
Things to look for
Decay, crowding and trauma are the most common problems that can occur in deciduous (baby) teeth.
Decay in baby teeth can be influenced by things like:
- Diet and consumption habits
High sugar and acid diet and sticky foods, including juices and biscuits can dramatically increase decay risk. As well as what we eat, the times we eat can often increase chance of getting decay. A good example of this is going to sleep with a bottle or eating late at night. The frequency of consumption can also affect tooth decay, where the teeth are constantly saturated with food particles or plaque.
- Oral hygiene
Good oral hygiene includes brushing at least twice a day and getting to all the teeth. Floss is also very important and it’s recommended for kids as soon as they are happy to try it.
- Deep fissures (grooves) in back teeth
Deep fissures in both adult and baby teeth should be sealed up with fissure sealants to prevent possible decay. These grooves trap food particles and plaque and are extremely difficult to brush. Fissure sealant is a layer of special protective material placed over the top of grooves. The treatment is quick and easy with no discomfort.
- Soft teeth – hypomineralisation or fluorosis
It’s not a myth that some of us have softer teeth. In the cases of hypomineralized teeth or teeth with fluorosis, the surfaces of the teeth are very soft and weak. These teeth are prone to decay and greater care must be taken.
- General health
Kids are generally fit and healthy, but did you know that mouth breathers are more likely to have teeth problems. Breathing through the mouth dries it out, and lack of saliva leads to higher likelihood of getting holes. This is due to the diminishing acid buffer effect of saliva. In some studies, it’s shown that long term breathing via the mouth may lead to malocclusion (bad bite).
Medication for chronic conditions such as asthma, including Ventolin, can have an impact on your child’s teeth. Long-term use also diminishes the acid buffering effect of saliva, thereby increasing risk of getting decay.
During a routine checkup, one of the things we check for is overall crowding or spacing and how the jaws align. This is important to assess whether early orthodontic treatment is required and whether there are aberrant habits at play.
If a baby tooth is removed due to decay or infection, with the permanent tooth still far away from eruption, we might need to construct a space maintainer. The space maintainer, as the name suggests, maintains the space where the baby tooth should’ve been to allow room for the replacement adult tooth. A gap left unoccupied, can lead to movement and crowding of the adult teeth.
A child might also present with “a double tooth”, whereby the baby tooth is retained while the adult replacement is coming through behind it. Sometimes, we are able to monitor the situation and take a wait and see approach. However, other times, we will need to “help” the baby tooth to come out, thereby not impinging on the adult tooth development.
Kids will always be kids. Whether it’s at school sports or on the playground, accidents do happen.
A knock can loosen up an already wobbly baby tooth or it can dislodge a newly formed adult tooth. Don’t panic, but it’s important for us to assess it as soon after the accident occurs. It can be matter of reassurance with a quick examination and x-ray. Even if it’s a dislodged adult tooth, things are still manageable. If a tooth comes out completely, even if you’re not sure whether it’s a baby or adult tooth, put it straight into a small container with milk covering all of it. Make an appointment asap and bring the container with you.
Dental trauma is very common, hence why we always recommend custom-made Mouthguard protection for any sport.