We believe that every child has the potential for good, strong healthy teeth and a beautiful smile which will last them throughout their life. Looking after teeth from the earliest age is very important and we encourage you to bring your children along with you right from the start. This helps to show children that coming to the dentist is nothing to be worried about and that you value a healthy smile and encourage sensible eating and drinking habits.
During your child's visit we will endeavour to ensure he/she is happy and positive about their visit. Sometimes, depending on their age, we will carry out their check up away from the dental chair, sometimes seated on a parent's knee or in their arms. We will encourage them to touch and feel the dental surgery environment in a safe and fun way, in order to familiarise them with the strange sights and sounds. Where possible we will
- count the teeth and check their position
- check the teeth are healthy
- check dietry factors
- check toothbrushing techniques and habits
- place fissure sealants where appropriate. This is a white paint placed painlessly into the groove of a back tooth which helps to significantly reduce the risk of decay.
- refer for braces where appropriate
- provide parents/guardians with advice or treatment plans where required.
When should I bring my child for a check up?
Between age two and three is probably the earliest, although we encourage you to bring the children along to your own check-ups from as early as possible. Research has shown children who see their parents attending are less anxious when it comes to their own check-up. They are also easily influenced by the parents attitudes to coming to the dentist and will pick up very quickly if you show signs yourself of being anxious. Try to talk positively about the dentist, emphasising all the benefits of a healthy diet and good tooth brushing. Bring them for regular check-ups every 6 months.
What can I do to help prevent decay?
Decay is caused by bacteria (found in plaque) using sugar in your diet to dissolve a susceptible tooth surface, causing a cavity and toothache. Prevention is aimed at reducing the frequency of sugar intake and reducing the number of bacteria by good brushing.
- Limit sweets and chocolate to one day of the week only and brush afterwards. Sticky chewy sweets and lollies are generally worst because they stay on the teeth for a long time afterwards.
- Stick to three meals a day and avoid snacking in between, or after school
- Encourage your child to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetable a day
- Avoid fizzy drinks (including ‘diet’ varieties) and squash and encourage milk or water.
- Your dentist will place fissure sealants on permanent back teeth to prevent decay. These are applied as a white paint which sets under a special light.
Encourage your child to brush thoroughly for two minutes twice a day with supervision, and brush for them up to the age of about six.
My child needs a filling and I am worried how they will cope with treatment.
Many children cope exceptionally well with having fillings or fissure sealants. We use ‘bubble gum’ cream to numb the gum before giving any injections and use the ‘show, tell, do’ technique to help relieve any anxiety.
Thankfully the days of ‘gas’ at the dentists for fillings or extractions are long gone and gas is only used now within dental hospitals in extreme circumstances.
It is important for parents to try and avoid passing on any of their own anxiety about having treatment and to be positive about the upcoming appointment and make any suggested dietary changes to avoid further problems.
Coming to the dentist can be fun! If a child reaches 18 and has never had decay, they are unlikely to ever need fillings and feel confident about their smile.
Should my child be wearing a brace?
We screen every child for the correct number and position of teeth appropriate to their age.
If it is thought to be necessary to refer your child for an assessment at an orthodontic specialist( usually at age 11 or 12) we will give you a choice of where you would like to be referred to.
If your child has fallen and knocked a front tooth:
If the child is less than six years old it is likely to be a baby tooth and if the child is not distressed he/she may or may not require any treatment. Please ring the surgery for advice.
If they are over six and if the whole tooth has come out, store the tooth in the child’s saliva or milk and come to the practice as soon as possible, it may be possible to put the lost tooth back in place, or restore the fractured section.
Teeth which have suffered trauma may develop problems with the nerve in the future. Signs to look out for are discolouration ( pinking or greying) tenderness on biting or a swelling in the gum next to the tooth.