Early Diagnosis and Care
Our children, now more than ever, have every opportunity to keep their smile for life. With the knowledge that we have gained in decay prevention, water fluoridation and oral hygiene, we can educate them on how to keep their teeth for longer.
It is most important that parents and caregivers set a good example for children, as they are continually learning by watching the actions of others.
Teaching a child that brushing is part of their everyday routine is crucial. Following this, they should be educated about the effects of sugary foods and drinks and the importance of regular trips to visit our practice. We see this type of education at an early as being so beneficial that we volunteered our time to visit schools to demonstrate good oral habits and diet to young children.
Children should begin visiting their dentist early, starting between the ages of one to two. These visits are most often only a few minutes long and are aimed at promoting a positive experience and gaining dental awareness and dental skills. We have a very good time with children at this age because they are most receptive to learning. By the time these regular-attending patients turn three or four years old, they would have seen and become so familiar with us they often literally jump into the dental chair and open their mouths wide without being asked!
Imagine the opposite scenario, where a four-year-old child has to see a dentist for the first time in their life. Imagine the possible distress this child suffers when seeing a complete stranger with a mask and gloves attend to a tooth ache or a serious dental injury!
When your child visits us, our team can monitor their jaw growth and development, and address any concerns early. A healthy mouth also offers many benefits to their natural development, not only for their appearance and self-esteem but also for nutrition and function.
Early diagnosis of dental problems and regular check-ups can also significantly reduce treatment requirements, time and the cost of procedures, as problems detected early are easier to resolve. For example, studies have shown that children with a constricted nasal cavity from a deficiently formed dental arch (i.e. small jaw), had poor mental concentration leading to lower IQ and lower performance at school, simply because the child had a constricted airway.
With good oral hygiene habits and a healthy balanced diet, a child can easily grow into adulthood without ever experiencing tooth decay.
Everything your child eats and drinks will affect their body and teeth. When we eat, bacteria present in our mouths readily convert the sugars and starch in foods to acids that attack tooth enamel for up to 20 minutes after eating. This acid causes tooth decay and becomes small holes called caries.
Reducing the amount of foods high in sugar and starch, including sweets and soft drinks, as well as reducing snacking between meals, will help keep caries from developing in your child’s teeth, reducing the need for fillings. Teeth-friendly snacks can include:
- fresh fruits,
- vegetable sticks, and
- cheese and crackers.
Fluoride helps to reduce tooth decay and as such, is added to the water supply of many cities and towns to improve the oral health of the population.
A dental fluoride treatment for your child is one way we can reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. It is a straightforward and pain-free treatment and is becoming more important, as many people are now choosing to drink bottled water, which contains little to no fluoride.
When a tooth has developed, fluoride makes its structure more resistant to decay and helps replenish lost minerals, which aids in repairing early decay caused by acids and bacteria, even before any damage is visible. Applying a fluoride gel every six months in conjunction with professional teeth cleaning at Carlingford Dental Surgery will make your child’s smile white, strong, clean and healthy.
Although fluoride is good for teeth and bones, excessive fluoride may result in a discolouring of teeth, so be sure you and your children do not to swallow toothpaste, mouthwash or overuse fluoride supplements. If you have any questions regarding fluoride, please check with Dr Steven Du at your next appointment.
A custom-made mouthguard from Carlingford Dental Surgery is the best choice for the protection of your teeth, and should be considered essential for anyone – child or adult, participating in a contact sport or recreational activity that poses a risk of a facial injury occurring.
A pit and fissure sealant is a pink or tooth coloured liquid similar in consistency to nail polish. When applied by Dr Steven Du at Carlingford Dental Surgery, it flows into the grooves of back teeth sets hard after only a few minutes. The treated teeth are now smoother and easier to clean, due to this protective barrier against plaque and bacteria build-up. This sealant also contains fluoride for added protection.
The application of a dental sealant is an entirely pain-free procedure taking approximately five minutes per tooth and may last for five or more years. The ideal time to have sealants applied is immediately following the emergence of the first permanent molars, around age six and then after the permanent adult premolars come through, between the ages of eleven and fourteen.