Children's Dentistry

 

Start Early for "Teeth for Life"

 

At Dental Wellbeing we have a strong focus on prevention; which is why we love seeing children early as we can help prevent a lot of the problems we see in adults. We are often asked "when should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?" and the answer is, as early as possible, from two years old onwards.

This early start is vital so we can diagnose any developing problems; it also helps kids view a trip to the dentist as a pleasant experience from a very early age. Most children have all their baby teeth by the age of two and parents need to be aware that they should supervise their child's oral hygiene until the age of six or seven. Younger children just don't have the manual dexterity or discipline to be left in charge of cleaning their teeth.

At the first visit, we determine the likely risk of decay for the individual child and ask parents about lifestyle issues such as sleeping patterns, sinus problems, asthma, allergies, breathing characteristics during sleep, diet and nutrition.
One of our main concerns when examining children is to make sure growth and development is happening at an optimum level. Poor development can result in:

  • Jaw joint problems which can lead to tooth grinding
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Airway obstruction, which can result in snoring or apnoea in children and in adults
  • Middle ear infections and ear equalisation problems
  • Underdeveloped jaws and lower face resulting in crowded teeth and a need for costly braces
  • Decay and gum problems
  • Impacted wisdom teeth which may need removing
  • Abnormal swallowing
  • Bed wetting

We use all the latest equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of decay in children including a Diagnodent which is a laser density meter that can identify decay in areas we can't see with the naked eye or x-rays.

We also use micro dentistry equipment when sealing or restoring teeth so we can keep the size of the repair very small and preserve as much tooth structure as possible. We often recommend orthotrainers to correct abnormal muscle patterns in chewing and swallowing during the development years and we can help older children with mouthguards for protection during sport.

One topic we feel very strongly about is encouraging correct breathing or "nose breathing" for the correct growth and development of a child's jaws and lower face. It is crucial that abnormal conditions such as mouth breathing or tongue thrust- swallow should be diagnosed and resolved as soon as possible as they have the potential to quickly affect a child's growth.

The common trend has been to wait until a child is fully grown before starting any treatment. This leaves only limited options for treatment. We feel it is a much better option to prevent development problems by maintaining a clear airway and expanding the jaws if they are lagging behind the rest of the growing face. This can be done with simple exercises or the use of orthotrainers at the beginning and jaw expansion appliances later on.

   
 
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