Northside Dental & Implant Centre® provided the highest quality of dental care to infants, children, adolescents and those with special needs.
We emphasize the importance of early prevention, starting with the first dental visit at the age of one, because we believe that every child has the right to a healthy smile and a lifetime of good dental health.
From the time your child walks into our reception area, until the time they leave, our goal is to make their experience as comfortable and positive as possible. We aim to create an enjoyable impression that will last a lifetime.
For this reason, Northside Dental & Implant Centre® has created a fun, child-friendly environment and our team of skilled doctors and caring staff eliminate the fear associated with dental visits.
Prevention: The key to dental success
Preventive measures include the application of Fluoride. Fluoride is absorbed into teeth strengthening the enamel. We require fluoride throughout life as our teeth are continually under acid attack from sugars in our diet. Fluoride is especially important for children’s teeth as they are still completing mineralisation after eruption. However, it is also important to monitor fluoride in small children, as too much may also cause problems. Parental supervision is required as children should be prevented from ingesting too much toothpaste.
The ADA recommends fissure sealing children’s molar teeth as soon as they have fully erupted. Fissure sealing involves “sealing” the deep grooves and fissures in teeth that trap plaque causing dental decay. A thin film of resin is simply bonded to the tooth surface stopping decay causing bacteria from sticking to the tooth.
Diet is a major factor in maintaining a healthy mouth. Frequent snacking, eating sticky or chewy foods, or foods high in sugar will all lead to dental decay.
Many people clench and grind for up to eight hours at night. Prolonged periods of tooth grinding will cause enormous amounts of damage, potentially reducing the length of all teeth to less than half of their original height. In these cases, an occlusal splint or night guard may be recommended.
Tooth loss may cause other teeth to tilt or drift, changing the overall bite. It is far easier to replace a single tooth which has had to be extracted, than waiting and then needing to move all of the other teeth that have moved.
Dental examinations are possibly the only time your mouth is ever examined for signs of oral cancer. Early detection of any cancer generally has a better prognosis.
Regular dental examinations are recommended six monthly. Patients with special needs, elderly patients, patient’s with poor manual dexterity or eyesight should undergo a maintenance appointment every 3-4 months.
The importance of first teeth
Parents often say “They are only baby teeth. They will be lost soon anyway. What does it matter?” The real answer is – It matters a lot!
Children’s first teeth are as just as important as their permanent teeth. Untreated dental decay or infection in a baby tooth has the potential to hospitalise a child with acute infection or facial swelling.
Children’s first teeth help to determine the shape and size of the growing jaw. Without adequate space, the permanent teeth will not fit and severe crowding may occur. Children’s first teeth are also important for speech development.
A child has 20 baby teeth that are replaced by 32 permanent teeth. The 12 permanent molar teeth erupt into the mouth behind the baby teeth. This process follows a precise timeline with each baby tooth being lost at a particular time.
Premature loss of a baby tooth may have a dramatic result on the eruption pattern of the permanent teeth. For example, should a baby molar tooth (a tooth that is usually lost around 10.5 yrs) be lost, the first permanent molar tooth (that erupts into the mouth at 6 yrs) may drift forward to fill the space where the baby tooth was lost. This forward movement of the permanent molar may block the eruption pathway of another permanent tooth. In other words, one permanent tooth may end up above another. Extensive orthodontics or even surgery may then be required to correct such a problem.
Should a tooth be lost prematurely, the use of a space maintainer may be required to help maintain the available space. Space maintainers are small metal devices that are cemented onto the adjacent teeth, to stop any tooth movement until the permanent tooth begins to erupt.
Children at risk of dental decay
As soon as teeth erupt into the mouth the risk of decay may occur even before one year of age. There are three groups of children at risk:
- Baby bottle caries: Prolonged use of a night time use of bottle (or sippy cup) containing anything other than water will place a child at risk.
- Sweetened dummy caries: Dummies dipped in sweet substances to be used as pacifiers.
- Nursing caries: Caused by prolonged or on-demand breast feeding. Nursing caries is particularly prevalent in children who breast feed beyond twelve months of age, or in children who sleep with their mothers, nursing frequently though the night.
Cavity causing bacteria may be passed on to your child by sharing utensils or “cleaning” a pacifier in your mouth.
How to avoid problems
Making brushing a fun experience and part of the normal evening routine will be beneficial in the long run. A child will learn that the last thing to happen before bedtime is to brush their teeth. Parental modelling is important as the toddler will see and learn that mum and dad brush as well.
General oral care guidelines:
- A child’s first dental visit should occur prior to their first birthday for an assessment of cavity risk.
- Children less than two require gentle brushing with a soft child size brush without toothpaste.
- At two, start to use a small smear of low fluoride toothpaste (Colgate Junior or Macleans ‘Milk Teeth’).
- Ingesting excessive amounts of fluoride may cause discolouration of developing permanent teeth.
- Encourage children to ‘spit and rinse’.
- Brush pre-schoolers’ teeth for them using a pea sized amount of low fluoride toothpaste. They are not in a position to effectively brush their teeth until approximately 8 to 10 years of age.
- Flossing should occur as soon as adjacent teeth touch.
- Reduce snacking. Starchy or sugary food causes the pH level in the mouth to drop, leaving teeth awash in an acid bath for 20 minutes until saliva normalizes the pH. The frequency of exposure to acid is more important than the sugar content of food.
- Skip “gummy” treats (fruit snacks, fruit roll-ups) which stick to the teeth, exposing them to acid attack for longer.
- After eating a sugary snack or drinking a juice or fizzy drinks, rinse with water prior to brushing.
Back to School with healthy teeth
An alarming number of children still suffer from dental decay. Decay rates in Australia have been increasing since 1996.
Australian figures from 2010 show nearly half of children aged 12 had experienced decay in at least one permanent tooth.
It is specifically the sugary foods and drinks in our everyday diet which are capable of causing dental decay. While we all strive to pack a healthy lunch, having a second look at what goes into a school lunch box may save your child from experiencing pain due to tooth decay.
It is important to be aware of many “hidden” snacks in your child’s diet. Birthday cake, cupcakes and other snacks may creep into your child’s diet without you ever being aware.
Many perceived healthy foods and snacks have very high sugar content. Foods including fruits, dried fruit, muesli bars, snack bars, peanut butter, biscuits, crackers, potato chips have the potential to lead to dental decay. Especially harmful are the sticky fruits and snack bars that stick to teeth for long periods of time. Likewise, sipping juice or frozen juice bottles, although refreshing, will also prolong the food source for decay causing bacteria. Water remains the best option for a refreshing drink.
Many of these foods are hard to avoid, however it is worth reminding children of the importance of having a good drink of water after eating snack foods.
Cheese is one of the healthiest snacks for your child’s teeth. In addition to providing large amounts of much-needed calcium, cheese also does its part to fight cavities. Cheddar, Swiss and mozzarella all stimulate saliva glands to clear the mouth of debris. Saliva helps to protect teeth by neutralising acid produced after eating sugary snacks. Other good snacks are nuts and fruit (as long as you wash it down with some water straight after you’ve eaten).
Many children suffer dental trauma from falls while an object is in their mouth. Bottles, pacifiers, Sippy cups, lollipops and even tooth brushes will produce lacerations to the lips or gums and palate. It is therefore crucial to encourage children to sit down whilst eating or drinking.
Protecting your children’s teeth with a mouthguard is a relatively easy way to prevent dental trauma during sporting activities. There are many types of mouthguards, however, the best protection is provided by a custom made mouthguard from your dentist. The mouthguard is made from a simple impression or mould that can be taken of the mouth. It usually takes less than a week for one to be manufactured and they are available in all team colours!!
Remember: Flossing teeth is the only way to prevent holes forming in between teeth and children need to brush and floss twice daily with adult supervision until age 12.
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Why Choose Northside Dental
Your professional dentist who really cares about your smile.60
QIP Accredited: High standard of infection control and sterilisation
25 Years Experience in Dental Implants
Friendly. Empathy. Compassion
We specialise in the treatment of anxious or phobic patients
Same day appointments available