Although dental decay is the most common and widespread childhood disease, it can often be overlooked in amongst all the business of life. Just like adults, children should understand the importance of routine dental appointments to review, prevent and maintain a healthy mouth.
With children’s development being such a wide spread dynamic component of growing up we recommend happy visits to the dentist so from a young age they can start to understand just like seeing the GP or going to the bank it’s a normal part of life and something that with a regular routine can be easy and hassle free. In a happy visit we often recommend calling ahead to see if someone is available if you are in the area so you can come in. During these visits we like to give the kids a tour of the practice, showing off our rooms and the gadget we get to use. Some children can require a couple of visits like this for them to start to acclimate to the dental environment and we have found these short bursts to be the best method of immersion only taking 5 minutes. Following on from these happy visits we can gauge how cooperative they will be offering rides in the chairs and the best part is a sticker and a sparkly toothbrush. Once we have built that rapport over a few visits if necessary, we can work towards a routine of cleaning and maintenance in a positive dental environment.
Check up and Clean
Baby teeth or ‘primary teeth’ while not here for a long time have a vital importance in the development and growth of the adult teeth and the jaw. These primary teeth aid in children’s learning of chew and speaking while maintain proper spacing for the permanent teeth to come through. There are three phases to each of these appointments:
- Examination: during the first component we review all the teeth for how well they care being cleaned (sometimes courtesies of a purple party mouth) along with reviewing for any signs of cavities. During these exams we also review the spacing and positioning of the teeth to review the functionality of the bite and any orthodontic concerns will also be discussed. We also take this time to discuss the importance and demonstrate proper brushing and cleaning techniques setting kids up for long term health.
- Cleaning: Often cleaning by hand instruments alone, all calculus ad plaque is removed from the surface of the teeth to ensure they have a healthy mouth to maintain for the next six months. Some children can be reluctant during this process depending how comfortable they are with dentistry in general, but we gauge this throughout the appointment only cleaning as much as they are comfortable with. This can sometimes involve only completing a polish to remove plaque off the teeth.
- Flouride: After the teeth are cleaned and polished smooth a fluoride paste is painted onto the surface of the teeth. This is done as after teeth have come through if fluoride if applied within the first 6-9 months it will help strength the enamel shell of the teeth while also helping prevent cavities in the adjacent teeth too.
Often recommended for first and second molars fissure seals are a protective coating applied onto the surface of the tooth to prevent plaque and bacteria being able to stay on the grooves of the tooth in aims to prevent the development of cavities. Fissure seals are a smooth white filing material applied to the tooth in a quick and painless procedure often only taking 5 minutes per tooth giving long term benefits. These sealants are made of a white acrylic resin material like a filling, but no preparation is required within the tooth beyond polished the surface clean. Once the material is placed it is set hard with a bright light adhering it to the surface of the tooth.
CDBS (Child Dental Benefit Scheme)
Child dental benefit scheme or CDBS is a scheme run by the Australian Government where given certain criteria children will receive a credit of $1000 every 2 years to be used towards any necessary dental treatments. These include check-up and cleans, fluoride treatments, fillings, stainless steel crowns and extractions. Eligibility for this can be checked with your Medicare card and often patients will receive notifications in the post regarding balances and eligibility. This system applies to any person between the ages of 1-17 (inclusive of the entire calendar year if they turn 18 during that time). All that is required for these appointments to be processed under CDBS is your current Medicare card.
While most treatment can be completed here at Sydney Road Dental Care referrals may sometimes be required. In cases such as childhood endodontic treatment, early intervention orthodontic treatment of paediatric specialist appointments these can be organised from an initial assessment or during a routine check up and clean. Any information regarding referral would be discussed with the parent or guardian prior to referral. At Sydney Road Dental Care we have a succinct network of referring specialists we often collaboratively work with in the treatment and care of our patients.
What’s the next step for my child