Children are a big part of our practice at Lifestyle Dental Studio. In fact school holidays are generally a hive of childrens activity at LDS with much fun and excitement as our young patients come in to the practice for their preventative care appointments. Our aim with our children is to have fun so that their early dental experiences are positive ones. We do this by having an appointment tailored to the child’s age and development. Nothing is forced and even for the most apprehensive of children, with our friendly, well trained team members, TV’s on the ceiling and the excitement of looking for a prize in the prize box and getting a new tooth brush, most appointments end up being the highlight of the day for our young patients.
We generally see children for their first examination from around 3 years of age. At 3 they are usually ready to allow us to do a good dental and oral examination without too much anxiety. However, prior to 3 we encourage our patients to bring their younger children in to observe their preventative dental appointments or those of their older siblings. By doing this we find that by age 3 most kids are super excited about having “their turn” at the dentist.
We encourage the use of a tooth brush as soon as the first teeth erupt at around 6 months of age. If you find it difficult to use a tooth brush in these early first few months, most chemists stock “finger brushes” which can do a similar job. We suggest twice daily tooth brushing and once the back teeth start to touch each other, flossing should be started to clean between the teeth. Use a children’s low fluoride tooth paste until such time that they stop swallowing the tooth paste and spit it all out. At this point in time, the transition can be made to an adult tooth paste with a higher fluoride level for maximum enamel protection.
Assessment for potential orthodontic problems occurs at every examination/hygiene appointment that we do for children. From as early as age 3 we are looking to identify any early or future orthodontic problems and their causes with the aim of reducing the need for future orthodontic treatment. Habits such as dummy or thumb sucking if continued much past 3-4 years of age can change the shape of the mouth, thereby contributing to crowding. Other medical issues such as chronic nasal congestion/nasal obstruction or enlarged tonsils and adenoids are also assessed as these can affect breathing patterns which can intern have an influence on facial growth and development. Good sleep is important for everyone , but particularly important for growing children and so if tonsil/adenoid related sleep disordered breathing/sleep apnoea is suspected we will often refer these patients on to a paediatric ENT for further assessment.
Following the initial examination, an assessment is made of your child’s caries risk, oral hygiene status and oro-facial growth and development. Generally, if there is good oral health, we see our patients under 6 years of age once per year for their preventative care appointments. For those children younger than 6 with a history of caries or a heightened caries risk, the hygiene appointments are scheduled 6 monthly. After the age of 6 when the adult teeth start erupting, we prefer the more regular preventative care schedule of 6 monthly appointments.