Children’s Dentistry: Oral Health Therapy for Your Child

children's dentistry

Children’s Dentistry is more than just dental care; it’s about setting the foundation for lifelong oral health. At our SHDC clinic in the Sydney CBD, we have a special interest in providing comprehensive dental solutions tailored for kids.

As well as the usual dental hygiene, radiographs, and whitening services for adults, our Dentists and Oral Health Therapists perform many services for children and adolescents up to the age of 18 years.

All of our clinical team are passionate about treating and helping children in their dental journey.

An important priority is to make children comfortable with dental visits and give them the knowledge they need to care for their teeth.

It’s essential to highlight the unique capabilities of our Oral Health Therapists. While many might be familiar with the roles of dental hygienists, Oral Health Therapists extend their expertise to offer comprehensive dental examinations and restorative work, such as fillings for both baby and permanent teeth. This ensures that children receive a holistic approach to dental care, addressing all their needs in one clinic. Oral Health Therapists complement Dentists for the best oral health treatment at different life stages.

Furthermore, children’s dentistry is not just about treatments. It’s about education and empowerment. Our Dentists and Oral Health Therapists emphasise the significance of good breathing, proper sleep, a balanced diet, and consistent oral hygiene at home. By instilling these values early on, we aim to set children on a path to lifelong oral health and well-being.

What does an Oral Health Therapist do?

As well as the usual general dental hygiene, our Oral Health Therapists provide education and dental services for children and adolescents.

These services include:

  • restorative treatment on permanent and baby teeth
  • comprehensive dental examinations (check-ups)
  • myobrace myofunctional therapy
  • extractions of baby teeth
  • mouthguards
  • orthodontic adjustments

Understanding the wide range of benefits early dental intervention offers is essential. One of the primary advantages of addressing dental concerns at a young age is the ability to break habits. For instance, a habit that’s been around for just a few years in a child is much easier to change than one that’s been ingrained over decades in an adult.

Furthermore, children’s physical attributes play a significant role in the success of treatments. A child’s skull, being more pliable than an adult’s, allows for more than just teeth straightening. Children’s Dentistry can reshape the palate, which in turn can modify the size of the nasal passage, influence face shape, and even aid in posture development. This holistic approach not only ensures a beautiful smile but also contributes to the overall well-being and development of the child.

Lastly, the speed of results is another compelling reason to opt for early dental interventions. Treatments tend to be more effective and show faster results in younger patients compared to adults in their 30s or 40s. Thus, when considering dentistry for children, it’s clear that early and proactive care can set the foundation for a lifetime of optimal oral health.

What age should I bring my child in?

At SHDC, unless you have any prior concerns, we recommend your child’s first check-up is at three years old.

While we can usually examine the teeth at this appointment, it is primarily a time to talk to you, the parents/caregivers, regarding your child’s best oral health care regimen.

Starting dental visits early ensures a healthy smile and educates children on the importance of oral hygiene, fostering habits that will benefit them throughout their lives.

The importance of early children’s dentistry visits

It’s important to note the frequency of dental visits can vary based on several factors.

These factors can include your child’s current gum health, any systemic diseases, medications they may be taking, their diet, and the effectiveness of their oral hygiene practices at home. Our team reassesses the appropriate length of time between each visit and the next appointment. This could be a standard six-month interval or shortened to three to four months if we determine deeper cleaning or extra care is needed for your child’s oral health.

What age should my kids get teeth (baby and adult)?

Your child’s first baby tooth will usually erupt around six months, though it can be as early as four months or up to eight months. This tooth usually is one of the lower central teeth. (Although everyone is different, so it may be somewhere else).

By around two and a half years of age, most children have their complete set of baby teeth in place. As these teeth emerge, it’s not uncommon for children to experience some discomfort. Engaging with dental professionals can guide in alleviating this discomfort. Simple solutions like teething rings and chew toys can be beneficial during this phase.

Your child’s first adult tooth typically erupts at age six years; however, this can be as early as five or as late as seven. This tooth is usually one of the lower central teeth, but the adult molars often erupt first behind the last baby molar. It’s noteworthy that when adult teeth emerge, they typically do so without causing pain. However, the eruption of baby teeth can sometimes be accompanied by discomfort. Proactively discussing potential pain relief methods with your dentist can ensure your child’s comfort during this transition.

Parents and children are often unaware of the adult molar’s eruption as no baby tooth falls out prior. Maintaining regular dental check-ups is essential to monitor the progression of tooth eruption and ensure optimal oral health.

My baby has his/her first teeth, how do I clean these?

Cleaning your baby’s first teeth is foundational in pediatric dental care. Initially, gently wiping all surfaces with a flannel or muslin cloth (no toothpaste needed) is sufficient. This method ensures the removal of any residual milk or food particles, mitigating the risk of potential build-up or decay.

As your baby’s dental development progresses, it’s advisable to introduce a soft baby toothbrush with a minimal amount of natural toothpaste. This acclimatises your child to the brushing sensation and the mild flavour of toothpaste.

Early dental care is paramount in paediatric dentistry. Establishing good oral hygiene habits from the beginning paves the way for a lifetime of dental health. Regular dental check-ups, commencing with the first tooth’s emergence, are essential. These visits offer parents insights into age-appropriate dental care techniques and products, ensuring optimal oral health for their child.

How do I brush my child’s teeth?

Firstly, do the best you can; it’s not always easy! It is good to establish a routine to make brushing a habit, and a necessity, just like changing a nappy is. Brushing twice daily (morning and evening) is ideal and can be incorporated into bath time.

When your child’s first baby teeth appear, you can start by gently wiping those teeth with a soft cloth. As the baby molars begin to emerge, transition to using a soft toothbrush, focusing on the back of the teeth. As the teeth start to touch each other, introducing flossing is a good idea to ensure all surfaces are clean.

The best positioning for brushing your child’s teeth is to brush from slightly behind and to the side (almost cradling them but upright). You can then perform small circular motions or flicking motions away from the gums on the inside and outside of the teeth, making sure to reach right to the back. Lightly scrub the chewing surfaces of the molars. A small smear of natural toothpaste can be used on the brush.

As your child grows older and becomes more independent, encourage them to take the lead in brushing. Aiming for a brushing duration of around 2 minutes is ideal. However, it’s recommended that you finish off the brushing to ensure thorough cleaning. By teaching your child proper oral care techniques and establishing a consistent routine, you set them up for a lifetime of good oral health. This proactive approach can potentially prevent the need for fillings in the future, reduce the risk of gum disease, and minimize the need for extensive dental work as they grow.

My child is anxious about a dental visit, what can I do?

There are many good children’s books and also online resources and videos that explain dental visits to children. The more familiar your child becomes with the general look of a dental clinic and with what happens during a check up appointment the better it is.

Playing make believe with your child and getting them to ‘sit on the dental chair’ and ‘lay back in the chair’ and let you ‘have a look with a mirror to count the teeth’ is also good practice. Let your child also have a turn at being the dental practitioner.

Anxiety in children’s dentistry

Sometimes, children can experience anxiety surrounding dental treatments. At our clinic, we prioritize making children feel comfortable. We introduce them to the dental chair and the dental room at a pace that suits them, ensuring they feel at ease. By playing make-believe dental visits at home, you can further familiarize your child with the dental experience. This practice not only helps them understand what to expect but also empowers them to feel more in control during their actual visit. Introducing these practices early on and ensuring regular dental visits from a young age can significantly reduce the likelihood of dental anxieties as they grow older.

If my child needs a filling, who do they see?

At SHDC our Oral Health Therapists take care of all your children’s needs.

They are trained to work with children specifically. From your child’s first dental visit through to diagnosing cavities and placing dental fillings your child’s Oral Health Therapist will take care of it all.

At the Sydney Holistic Dental Centre, we have both dentists and Oral Health Therapists. Our Oral Health Therapists are specifically trained to cater to your children’s dental needs. Beyond just addressing cavities and dental fillings, they adopt a comprehensive approach.

They assess various aspects of your child’s health, including sleep patterns, breathing, and diet, along with the overall oral condition. This holistic approach ensures that your child receives care tailored to their unique needs, guiding them effectively throughout their oral health journey.

My child’s teeth are crowding, should I be worried? And what can we do?

Crowding of the teeth is often caused by breathing and airway issues as well as incorrect swallowing and habits. If you notice any crowding, it is best to visit us so that we can examine your child for any of these issues.

We may recommend a series of mouth exercises (myofunctional therapy) and a Myobrace appliance to deal with the root cause of the crowding early.

This can make orthodontic treatment in the future more successful and less likely to relapse and, in some cases, prevent the need for braces altogether.

Children’s dentistry: orofacial myology

There are generally eight lessons that we teach patients when it comes orofacial myology in children’s dentistry . However, it’s crucial that each lesson is mastered effectively before progressing to the next. The outcome of completing the orofacial myology therapy is profound. Both adults and children emerge as healthier individuals, able to breathe better, improve their posture, sleep well, and experience enhanced energy levels. This holistic approach not only addresses dental concerns but also contributes to the overall well-being of the patient, making them healthier overall.

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