Although dental decay is the most common and widespread childhood disease, parents often overlook the importance of scheduling dental appointment for their children. With cavities at epidemic levels amongst children in Australia, it is important to make children’s dentistry a priority. The first dental visit should take place within six months of the first tooth erupting or by the child’s first birthday.
The first dental exam
The one-year dental examination enables the children’s dentist to teach the parent preventive care as the baby’s new teeth come in. The dentist explains proper cleaning and hygiene so that a dental care routine for the child can be set in motion to promote the growth and maintenance of strong, healthy teeth without cavities. Attention to children’s dentistry can lead to the avoidance of dental problems later in life.
Follow up visits
Baby teeth or ‘primary teeth’ help your child’s development. They help infants with learning to chew and speak properly and they also reserve space in the gums for permanent teeth. The average child has a set of 20 primary teeth by the age of two to three years.
Follow up children’s dentistry visits should be made every six months to ensure each baby tooth comes in properly and there is no crowding. The children’s dentist can alleviate any malformation and provide for the entrance of the permanent teeth.
At age three, if there is a tooth still within the gum and eruption is not assured, the dentist will advise of dental options to fix the problem and prevent pain.
When children have a full set of healthy, white teeth and there is an indication of the need for braces, parents will be advised of options that may be required in the future to straighten teeth. Sometimes early intervention may be possible so regular check-ups can aid in minimizing overall treatment plans long term.
Proper diet and hygiene prevent cavities
During the toddler years when a child is developing the capability to look after their own teeth, parental support in providing a proper diet and a dental hygiene routine at home is important. Attending children’s dentistry appointments for dental cleaning and advice in conjunction with a proper diet and home hygiene routine is the optimal combination for healthy teeth and preventing cavities.
Children’s dentistry in Australia
Children’s dentistry, also referred to as ‘pediatric dentistry’ is concerned with comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for children from birth through to adolescence. The definition also includes the oral health care of patients with special needs beyond the age of adolescence. The Pediatric Dentistry Society of Australia and New Zealand is a specialist organisation committed to the advancement of pediatric dentistry and the promotion of children’s dentistry education within Australia.