A child's routine dental care can start as soon as their teeth start to come through. And it is a useful exercise to familiarise them with their dentist, the environment and the chair.
We offer a full range of private dental services for children, and our dentists are a truly friendly bunch, who are all accustomed to working with children and the particular approaches that make children feel happy and comfortable.
So why not just bring your child in and get to know us? Our main goal is to help your child feel at ease and to gain their trust and confidence. Even if your child doesn’t want to open their mouth at their first appointment it will still be a valuable experience, as it will help them to become familiar with the dentist and the environment, and increase their confidence.
Once the child is ready to proceed to an examination, the dentist will gently examine their teeth and gums, and evaluate their risk of tooth decay. As a result of this, they might offer dietary advice and have a general oral health care discussion with you.
If appropriate, they may suggest fissure sealants or fluoride treatment with the hygienist.
These can be done once the child's permanent back teeth have fully come through (usually at the age of about six or seven) to protect them from decay. The chewing surfaces of the back teeth are covered with a special thin plastic coating to keep germs and food particles out of the grooves. The sealant can last for as long as 5 to 10 years. Some people choose to have all of their children's permanent molars fissure sealed.
From the age of three, children can be offered fluoride varnish. Younger children may also be offered this treatment if the dentist thinks they need it.
Fluoride varnish can be applied to both baby teeth and adult teeth. It involves painting a varnish that contains high levels of fluoride on to the surface of the tooth to prevent decay. It works by strengthening tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay.
It is recommended for this to be applied twice yearly for all children under 7 (four times yearly for higher risk patients) and twice yearly for at risk adult patients.
Should your child require more extensive appointments, we feel that knowledge is key for children (just as with adults). Helping your child to understand with visual aids and descriptions is crucial. We find that this informative approach removes fear and helps to build your child's confidence.
One of our hygiene therapists will gently use the ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque and teach the right techniques for brushing. It is important to focus on this at an early stage to reduce the need for treatment in the future. Education is the best form of prevention.
The general advice is to brush
your teeth for two minutes. It should be a minimum and should really be
longer for children – as they often struggle to concentrate. If they
start faffing about and the toothbrush alarm tells them they’ve brushed
for two minutes, they think they’re done. Sometimes, it might take a
restless kid five minutes to properly brush their teeth.
Also, don’t think that just having an electric toothbrush will do the whole job for you. You still need to have a good brushing technique and children need to learn or be told what this is. Don’t just hand them a top of the range electric toothbrush and think that’s all they need – it’s still possible to brush badly with one. So show them exactly what to do. Of course it’s then that we realize a lot of adults haven’t ever been shown how to brush their own teeth properly. Do come in and chat to one of our hygienists about brushing methods if you’re at all unsure.
FIONA – on letting kids observe adult appointments
“Children are creatures of habit, so taking them into a completely alien environment only when there’s something wrong can be very scary. It’s important that they come with their parents to their parents’ appointments, and can get used to seeing that somebody is in their personal space, with gloves, and a mask and who uses funny words. Kids pick up on all this. But if they are used to it, by the time they come to sit in the chair themselves it isn’t so strange for them. And never force them to sit in the chair - we always caution parents against insisting that they do. Gentle encouragement is all that’s needed.”
LEWIS – on the formation of the jaw and bite
“Let’s talk about dummies and thumb sucking. In the very young, the pressure from a sucking action with their cheeks narrows their top jaw, stopping it from growing properly. This narrowing then upsets their bite.
It can also cause the anterior teeth to protrude upwards and outwards, so it can give you buck teeth.
Sucking a dummy is OK in small doses, but if a kid is still sucking their thumb by the time their adult teeth start to come in, anything after that age is bad – the damage it can cause is difficult to fix.
We can move the teeth themselves with braces, but if the bone has narrowed due to restricted growth, or the bone has moved into an unnatural position, you can’t fix that – it’s very difficult to move bone with braces. So operations that saw into the jaw could be the only option. Now, that’s an extreme example, but don’t underestimate how difficult a badly formed jaw could be to fix later in life.
You get what’s known as a cross bite, where the upper and lower jaw don’t meet properly – one of them is out of line with the other. When you bite together, your top teeth should overlap the bottom teeth, but we see cases where the top teeth are biting inside the bottom teeth or off to one side.
If it’s unaddressed, then you’ll have jaw ache and crumbling teeth as the forces on them aren’t appropriate. All this from using a dummy or thumb sucking for too long.
Orthodontic dummies, which are meant to replicate the nipple shape, are flatter and they don’t cause any narrowing of the jaw. They’re widely available, and I would advise you check them out.”
Our orthodontist Harris is highly skilled in managing cross-bites that
form as a result of thumb sucking or use of dummies and likes to treat
these cases as early as possible whilst they are still growing when the
structure of the jaw bones can be changed. For more information, just
get in touch and have a chat with us.
As you can see, our team here at Clinic 95 are totally committed to ensuring that your child’s experience at the dentist is always a positive one. Do come in and chat to us about any aspect of teeth care for your kids – we’re always happy to help.
Decay: Destruction of tooth structure caused by toxins produced by bacteria. Caused by a combination of factors, including bacteria in your mouth, frequent snacking on sugary foods or drinks, and not cleaning your teeth well.
Ultrasonic Scaler: Dental tool that uses high frequency ultrasonic waves and water to clean teeth