Preventive & Children’s Dentistry
Why should dentists see children at an early age?
Every child is an individual, and within your family each child may have a separate risk of developing tooth-related problems There are many reasons why children need to be seen at early age. There are certain factors that influence your child’s risk of developing tooth decay that are not related to their teeth. Moreover, overall growth and development of the jaw bone is dependent on correct muscle activity. Under- or overactivity due to thumb sucking, mouth breathing, snoring, tongue tie, etc., have a huge impact on the pattern of eruption and alignment of the teeth. Would you consider having these issued addressed at an early age preventively, or would you prefer to wait until the damage is already done?
The first dental visit
The initial consultation is the most important appointment. To ensure a positive experience and to make kids feel at home and comfortable, we limit the first visit to a check-up and gentle polishing of the teeth. This is the appointment where all of the information is gathered, enabling us to establish a plan for your child. At this appointment our dentist will assess your child’s oral health, their growth and development, and their ability to cope with the treatments that may be required to restore oral health. After this visit you will have a good understanding of your child’s risk of developing tooth decay, their future dental needs, and an appropriate recall period.
Dental x-rays are necessary to fully assess your child’s oral health, and are also a good way to assess how well your child can cope with new treatment challenges. X-rays will be required to fully diagnose any dental complaints and provide a treatment plan for your child.
Tips for parents for their child’s first dental visit
Make the home environment as casual as possible prior to the dental visit.
We see a few kids who are already scared even before they have had any experience of the dental clinic environment. From the research, the most common reason why kids are scared of the first dental visit is because parents and siblings talk about how terrifying the dental experience is. Sometimes they create hype (based on their own child hood/life experience) for the kids, and that contributes to unnecessary anxiety and fear of visiting the dentist. That’s why it is better to keep it as casual as a walk in the park. This gives a better chance that their mindset will be devoid of fear, and they may actually enjoy their first dental visit.
Never use words like “Hurt” or “Pain” or “Needle”.
It’s like when someone asks you not to think about a red car, and you immediately imagine a red car in your subconscious mind. When we say “It’s not going to hurt”, the subconscious mind thinks of pain. Instead you should say things like: “it’s going to be fun, as you’ll have special bib, and cool glasses [safety glasses], ride on a big chair [dental chair], have a cute water pistol [dentist’s water syringe], a mini air blower & a mini vacuum cleaner [suction], & you’ll come out with bright shiny teeth”, etc.
At home, try to practise as a dentist and as a patient. One of the parents can be the dentist and the other can be the patient. By showing how to lay back, open the mouth, etc., you can help to instil a positive mindset for the first dental visit, as they won’t see any harm in it. You can then play the same game with the kids in it.
Never mention any bad experience (even though you may have had some years ago) in front of the kids.
Oral examination and hygiene
Apart from examining the teeth for any signs of early decay, we also focus on tooth eruption patterns, the bite, overall facial growth, tongue-tie assessment, tooth grinding, snoring, and other habits. Sometimes, if necessary, we take small x-rays of the teeth to ensure that no small early defects go undetected.
Protective fissure sealants
Wouldn’t it be great if you or your child could avoid the pain and discomfort of tooth decay by some miracle of modern dentistry? Well … that miracle already exists, and it’s available at The Smile Workx, where we can save you and your child from needless pain and financial hardship!
Your back teeth (molars) contain ridges and indentations that your toothbrush may not reach. As a result, these are prime “hot spots” for tooth decay. Dental sealants help to protect these teeth from decay – especially important when your child gets those all-important first adult molars (at six years or a bit later).
Having sealants applied to teeth before they decay saves needless time, pain and money, because they help you to avoid the procedures needed to fix decayed teeth, as well as the possible pain and discomfort the decay may cause!
When we find cavities, the next thing we want to do is to stop their progress by filling the tooth and preventing new cavities in other teeth. We use filling materials that are specially designed to prevent further caries (decay) underneath the filling.
For prevention of new caries, we go for fissure sealants wherever possible.
What if the decay is already down to the nerve of the tooth, and it is painful? What if it is too early to remove the baby tooth to maintain the space for the following adult tooth? What if the tooth is infected, causing an abscess (a gumboil)? We can still save some baby teeth by treating the nerve in the pulp inside the tooth. It is similar to doing root canal treatment in adult teeth, but less extensive. Indication for such treatment depends on the prognosis for the tooth and the importance of that tooth in the given circumstance.
Removal of teeth and placing of space maintainers
Unfortunately, the infected tooth may need to be removed if it is not practical to save it. Depending on the age and importance of the tooth, we consider making a space maintainer. As the name suggests, space maintainers help to maintain the space for the following adult tooth, so preventing future crowding and malalignment.
Happy gas can work miracles!!! It is mainly used to distract children or adults and thus reduce anxiety. It quickly changes the state of mind and makes you feel a bit sleepy, which helps you to cope with receiving local anaesthesia, and other elements of dental treatment that you might be afraid of. It is safe and completely reversible – the effect fades away within a few minutes. For nervous patients, going to the dentist can be a much more pleasant experience with happy gas than what they have had in the past. Sometimes, happy gas can even provide enough pain relief to allow simple fillings without the need for numbing with local anaesthetic. Why not try it, then?
We all know the benefits of outdoor and indoor sports, but without a protective mouthguard, a sports injury can teach us a life lesson in a hard, painful and expensive way. A mouthguard is essential to protect the teeth and the gums from injury when playing contact sports. While you can get a generic mouthguard for your child from any sports goods store, a custom-made mouthguard from a dentist is much more reliable, as it fits correctly and snugly and so protects the teeth and gums more effectively.
We at The Smile Workx provide top-quality custom mouthguards for your child that protect their teeth at all times. And to ensure that our young friends are happy about using them, we even offer coloured and striped mouthguards (in their favourite team colours, etc.)
Advantages of mouthguards
Cushion the teeth against impact
Protect the gums and other soft tissues from injury
May reduce concussion
Protect against jaw-joint injuries