We offer a wide range of dental treatments to patients aged 0-18, including the Child Smile Program for under 6s.
As part of a new national initiative, we now offer a new preventive program for children aged 0 - 6. This includes regular check-ups with a dentist and longer appointments with our specially trained child smile nurse for tooth brushing instruction, dietary advice and special fluoride varnish applications.
All patients to the practice can book these appointments by contacting our reception staff. We believe this will help reduce the need for dental fillings and add to children's general health.
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT TEETHING PROBLEMS?
The period when children are teething can be a difficult one for baby and parents. The eruption of baby teeth can be accompanied by a variety of symptoms, such as increase in dribbling and the baby continually placing their hands into their month. The gums can become quite sore and there may be a loss of appetite. There are a number of preparations available from the chemist. Paracetamol (Calpol) is very effective. Some teething gels contain salicylates (aspirin) and should be avoided. Some relief from teething pain may be obtained by the baby chewing hard toast, a teething rusk or a teething ring. Furthermore, these items may help teeth to erupt more quickly.
IS THUMB SUCKING A PROBLEM?
Most children give up the habit of thumb sucking of their own accord by the time they are three or four. However, if it continues until the permanent teeth start to erupt it can cause orthodontic problems. The most obvious of these is the pushing forward of the upper front teeth to give the child a “buck tooth” appearance.
WHAT ARE PIT AND FISSURE SEALANTS?
Pit and fissure sealants are plastic or adhesive cement substances which are used by the dentist to cover grooves (pits and fissures) in the biting surfaces of the back teeth. These sealants bond to the tooth and prevent decay starting. The process is simple and requires no injections or drilling. The dentist first conditions the area by applying a dilute cleaning agent and then places the plastic or cement and allows it to set rock hard.
WHEN SHOULD I START TOOTH BRUSHING FOR MY BABY?
Ideally, tooth brushing should start as soon as the first primary teeth appear. A gradual introduction to the cleaning process is usually advisable. Sit the baby on your knee facing away from you and place the child’s head against your body. Initially, gently rub the tip of your finger lightly against the gums for a minute or so each day. There may be some initial resistance, but perseverance is a must. Do not reinforce unwanted behaviour by giving in to it. Invariably, after two or three days the child becomes used to the procedure and you can move on to using a small, soft toothbrush.
At the beginning, use only a toothbrush and water. Toothpaste’s foaming action can be very unpleasant for small children. When children are used to having their teeth cleaned, start introducing very tiny amounts of fluoride toothpaste on to the brush. Remember, children will not have sufficient hand control to clean teeth properly until they are around ten years old, so up to then parental cleaning once a day is most desirable.
WHY IS FLUORIDE TOOTHPASTE SO IMPORTANT?
The bristles of a toothbrush invariably cannot reach plaque between the teeth or in grooves in the biting surfaces of back teeth. The fluoride from toothpaste fortunately can penetrate into these areas, thereby providing protection to these vulnerable sites. It is advisable, for maximum fluoride protection, not to rinse out the mouth after brushing and instead only spit out excess toothpaste.
DOES MY CHILD NEED TO SEE AN ORTHODONTIST?
Orthodontic treatment is carried out for a number of reasons, but more commonly for overcrowding of teeth. The treatment is usually not undertaken until all the baby teeth are lost, although there are exceptions. Your dentist will make appropriate recommendations.
HOW DOES PLAQUE CAUSE DENTAL DECAY?
Plaque is a sticky invisible film, containing thousands of bacteria, which builds up on unclean parts of a tooth. Dental decay is caused by acids from various bacteria in the plaque attacking and dissolving the protective enamel covering on a tooth. These acids are produced from a number of sugars commonly found in our diet including sucrose (ordinary sugar), glucose, fructose and lactose. It is important to remember that sugary acids are found not just in sweets and chocolates, but also in fruit juices, milk, whole fruit, cakes and bread and cakes, etc.
WHY ARE BETWEEN-MEAL SNACKS A PROBLEM?
Dental decay starts as a result of repeated acid attacks and this is related to the number of times we consume sugar-containing items each day. If one eats three meals a day, the teeth suffer three acid attacks. However, if say, six sweets are eaten between breakfast and dinner, the number of acid attacks jumps from three to nine. It is for this reason that dentists advise that the number of snacks between meals, especially sugary snacks, be kept to a minimum.
IS A BEDTIME BOTTLE A PROBLEM?
If a child is put to sleep with a bottle containing a sugary solution such as milk, vitamin C syrup, or fruit juice, the baby teeth suffer a prolonged acid attack which can result in extensive decay. In such a situation the teeth are bathed in sugars, thereby providing the bacteria in plaque with a continuous “feast”. Unfortunately, the resulting damage can often be so severe that the child has to be given a general anaesthetic before the necessary dental work can be carried out.
Should a baby require the comfort of a bedtime bottle, the bottle should contain only plain water. Dummies should never be dipped in a sweetening agent such as honey as this practice can only result in extensive decay.
Contact us today to register with our dental practice or book an appointment for your child: