Thankyou for taking the time to research Children’s Dental Health.
Unlike adult dentistry, there are some important facts every parent should be aware of…
Below, we cover everything you need to know about children’s dentistry and give you contact options so you can come in and ask your questions in person.
When should my child get their first dental appointment?
We recommend a first dental exam anytime before your child’s first birthday or in the 6 months following their first milk teeth, in order to prevent tooth decay. Moreover, it is always a good idea to introduce the habit of going to the dentist early, so that your child becomes familiar with our dentists and dental hygienists, who will then be able to care for your child throughout their childhood and teenage years. Dental health is essential to your child’s development as some baby teeth will be required until the age of 12 years old.
Can children get cavities?
Yes, they are called early childhood cavities and can develop as soon as your child gets their first tooth. It often resembles a fine white line near the gums and is hidden by plaque, making it hard to notice.
What causes early childhood cavities?
Early childhood tooth decay in children can be caused by dietary factors, such as a diet high in sugar; that includes too much snacking, candy, biscuits, juice, but also a high consumption of milk. Milk, whether it be cow’s milk, formula or breast milk, contains sugar. For that reason, early childhood cavities are also known as nursing bottle caries or baby bottle tooth decay, as they can be caused by letting children fall asleep with their feeding bottle, as their mouth produces less saliva at night. It can also be caused by a lack of dental hygiene; letting your child brush their teeth or floss without supervision or not using fluoridated toothpaste does not help in preventing caries.
How can I prevent them?
A healthy diet low in sugar, regular dentist visits, adequate plaque removal and the development of good habits in your children (we can help with that). And yes, you can tell your children that candy causes cavities. Why? When sugar is left in the mouth for too long (i.e. without brushing) it mixes with the bacteria on your child’s teeth, causing an acidic reaction that affects the enamel of the teeth.
Does my child really need fillings on baby teeth?
Yes, as mentioned above, some primary teeth will stay in your child’s mouth until their twelfth birthday. If you do not treat the cavity, decay may spread between the teeth, which could force us to have to pull out the tooth. Not only will this be a scary experience for your child, but their teeth could move, not leaving enough space for their permanent teeth. We of course have solutions to prevent that from happening, such as space maintainers, but let’s just say that a filling is the easiest and most cost-effective solution. Moreover, untreated cavities can lead to infection, causing unnecessary tooth pain for your children.
What is fluoride, and should I use it on my children’s teeth?
Fluoride is the common name of sodium fluoride or sodium monofluorophosphate which is the main ingredient found in toothpaste. Toothpaste products such as Colgate, Crest, Sensodyne and Oral B are primarily used by parents to put on their children’s toothbrush and help them clean their teeth. In the last few years, there has been a lot of controversy around fluoride and whether it is safe to use on children’s teeth. This is due to dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is caused by excessive fluoride ingestion and results in varying degrees of damage to teeth and cosmetic discolouration of tooth enamel. Inside Australia, however, dental fluorosis is quite uncommon in children due to the low amounts of fluoride added to our water system. Even though there is low risk of dental fluorosis, we still recommend parents also use a special “children’s” toothpaste up until their child’s adult teeth come through. Children’s toothpaste has lower doses of fluoride as the primary active ingredient, decreasing the child’s risk of dental fluorosis.
Why choose St Lucia Dental for your kids?
We want your children to feel comfortable and safe at St Lucia Dental, that is why our team is qualified and our technology state-of-the-art. Meet Dr Katie Lu, who specializes in children’s dentistry. She will make sure that your child is at ease throughout their first visit, building a trust relationship that will make all future visits enjoyable. Our team has years of experience working with infants, toddlers, young children and teenagers; we know how to manage situations that may cause discomfort and put our clients at ease.
What will my child’s first appointment look like?
A review of your child’s medical history and pre-existing conditions: this is where you will tell the dentist about your child’s diet and dental hygiene habits. Our dental hygienist and dentist will check for signs of cavities and of developmental issues. Our dentist might decide that X-Rays are required in order to show decay between the teeth. We will proceed to a full professional clean, including fluoride when necessary. If there are signs of cavity development, our dentist might recommend dental sealants. Our dentist will show your child proper brushing and flossing techniques, taking into account their age and abilities. Remember, if your child is too young to brush you, the parent, should be cleaning their teeth. Don’t worry, we will show you how! The visit will finish by our dentist recommending best practices to prevent cavities and by booking your child’s next appointment. We recommend that you visit us twice a year.
How much does a dental check-up for children cost?
Fortunately, if your child is between 2 and 17 years old, is enrolled in Medicare and receives at least an eligible payment per calendar year, the Australian Government will cover some of the costs associated with basic dental services. We also accept most private insurance providers, so don’t be shy, call us! We encourage you to visit the government’s website for eligibility criteria and for up to date information on the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS).
Who do I contact for more information?
If you’d like to ask more questions about children’s dental or are seeking more information. Please book a free consultation with one of our dentist’s today and we’d be more than happy to see you. We look forward to chatting with you!