Child Dental Service
Our child dental services are delivered by all of our dentist and our oral health therapist. We pride ourselves in providing a caring and friendly environment for your children. Children can respond very well to a nurturing environment. Often children come to us with no prior dental experience and it is our mission to ensure your child has a positive experience during their visit.
Our comprehensive dental care services for our special little children include the following services:
Oral Hygiene Program
Our dentists and oral health therapist focus on establishing good brushing and flossing techniques at a young age. We encourage parents and caregivers to brush and floss children teeth up to the age of 7 but to continue supervising their home care even after the age of 7.
Children often do not have the dexterity to ensure adequate plaque removal hence there is a need for parental supervision. Demonstrating the use of an electric toothbrush and other suitable flossing devices becomes part our program. Children are after great imitators and brushing and flossing your teeth with your child from a young age can help promote healthy habits for life.
Parents are often confused as to why their child may have dental disease like decay and need fillings in their baby and adult teeth at a young age. However there are many reasons for dental caries and we aim to find these reasons. The most common reason is diet.
Educating parents and their children is part of our comprehensive dental examination. We may ask you to keep a food diary to track what your child eats and drinks for a week. This will provide us with an insight into what the causes are for the problems.
Increased consumption of refined carbohydrates combined with inadequate oral hygiene and poor natural salivary buffering can lead to dental caries. We recommend that children eat healthy home cooked foods that are not processed. Fresh fruits and plenty of vegetables cooked and raw will promote health and nutrition. Drinking water and avoiding fruit juices, cordial and soft drinks are essential in preventing tooth decay. Refined foods contain high quantities of preservatives, sugar and fats and are not healthy. As a general rule we should try and restrict sweet treats to once a week. Fruits have a high level of natural sugar and should be eaten in moderation. Some children skip meals and eat fruit instead. This can sometimes be the cause of dental caries, which can come as a surprise to many parents.
When children get dental decay in baby and adult teeth they will need to have fillings placed in these teeth. Many parents think that if it’s a baby tooth then there is no point in filling these teeth as they will eventually fall out. However it is very important to maintain healthy baby teeth till they are ready to naturally fall out. This can help to avoid pain, infections, and allowing the teeth to function properly. Healthy baby teeth ensure there is adequate space for the developing adult teeth to come through in a good position thereby avoiding future expensive orthodontic treatment.
If your child needs to have a filling in their adult or baby teeth it is best that we diagnose the problem early. Hence we take X-rays of baby teeth regularly in children like we do in adults. Early detection of decay with x-rays ensures that the decay is small and not painful or has caused significant infection. Once we diagnose the decay we discuss the best way to address the problem.
If the child and parents are co-operative then we will always try to do the treatment under local anaesthetic in the dental chair. We encourage children to become familiar with the tools we use and try and make the experience a positive one. We try and play with the child and develop rapport and trust between the child and dentist. We always ensure the child is supported through the procedure with care and concern. Most children cope very well to this approach.
However if they are too young or the work required is extensive or they have had a bad previous experience or if we did not succeed trying treatment in the chair we can suggest referral to a specialist dentist for care. Our mission is to ensure we instill confidence in our young patients to make them confident adults who have a positive and not fearful approach to dental treatment.
Stainless steel crowns
When a young child develops extensive decay in a baby tooth and we know that the tooth needs to be there for more than 5 years a filling will not last period of time. This is when we can offer a stainless steel crown. The stainless steel crown sits over the entire surface of the baby tooth like a helmet. The procedure is done in the dental chair under local anaesthetic, in one visit and children generally cope very well with this treatment. This procedure is an excellent option to avoid having repeat fillings and avoiding early extraction of baby teeth.
When a baby tooth cannot be saved due to infection or extensive decay then unfortunately we have to resort to extraction of the baby tooth. If the adult tooth that replaces the baby tooth is not ready to come through then we need to maintain the space for the adult tooth.
If we do not maintain this space the teeth on either side of the missing baby tooth move into the space and can block the adult tooth. If this happens the child will require orthodontics to correct the problem and regain space or the impacted/blocked out adult tooth will need to be extracted via a complicated surgical procedure. Maintaining space for the adult tooth is an excellent way to avoid the above problems.
At the dental Gallery we offer cost effective options for maintaining space (all in a single visit). It involves the placement of a spacer that is permanently glued in place to hold the space until the adult tooth comes through. Regular x-rays are taken to check on the adult tooth.
Dental x-rays in children are a vital part of the dental assessment. In children x-rays help us to detect dental decay even when a child may not complain of pain. Early detection of dental decay enables us to identify and treat problems before they escalate into major problems.
X-rays also help us to determine if there are missing teeth, impacted teeth and extra teeth. They help us to identify potential orthodontic problems that can be fixed easily at a young age.
Baby and adult molars have many tiny natural imperfections on the biting side of these teeth, in which food and bacteria can become trapped, causing cavities. Brushing and fluoride treatment are unable to protect these areas, as they cannot fully reach into the tiny pits and fissures.
At the dental gallery we can apply fissure sealants to fill in these vulnerable areas, smoothing the tooth surface and making it easier to clean. The sealant is applied as a liquid which flows into the teeth to fill the fissures, and is then set hard with a blue LED light. Fissure sealants also create a protective barrier against plaque and bacteria build-up.
Fissure sealants are completely pain-free, non-invasive, and require no drilling or anaesthetic. Sealants just take a couple of minutes per tooth to apply. Ideally the sealant should be applied when the first permanent molars emerge at around age six, and then after the permanent adult premolars come through, at around eleven to fourteen years old.
Fluoride is a natural element that is important for a child’s developing teeth, as well as for maintaining healthy adult teeth. When absorbed into your bones and tooth enamel, fluoride helps make them stronger and more resistant to fractures and decay.
Drinking regular tap water will also supply the sufficient amount of fluoride required for healthy teeth. However bottled filtered water does not contain enough fluoride to protect and strengthen teeth.
At the dental gallery we can provide fluoride treatment as a varnish, which when applied to your teeth supply a much higher level of fluoride than that found in toothpaste or mouthwash. Fluoride treatment then causes re-mineralization which can help repair the damage caused by dental decay, helping your child’s teeth to stay strong, white and healthy.
The team at the dental gallery is child friendly and aims to ensure that your child enjoys dental treatment. We strive to make your child feel comfortable and confident about having dental assessments and treatment. We engage in a positive manner with your children and most children look forward to their 6 monthly dental visits. Our team of dentists, oral health therapists and support staff look forward to creating positive experiences for your children.