The Kid’s Room
Just next to the main waiting area we have a special child’s room to keep them happy and occupied while they are here, with a doll’s house, toys, lego, teddy bears, drawing materials and a space invader’s machine.
When should your child fist come to the dentist?
We understand that a visit to the dentist may initially be a concern for your child, which is why we like to see them before they actually need any treatment.
Our two main aims are:
1. Getting children used to us and what we do, and to like us – if they do not trust us and enjoy the practice then they may form lifelong fears and suspicions of dentistry.
2. The installation of good habits of oral care, that if continued will ensure that their teeth are sparkling for life.
So many adults have had bad dental experiences when they were young, often leading to a destructive pattern of avoiding health care professionals. Without the necessary cleans and checkups, these adults usually find that when pain eventually drives them to an appointment, their problems require extensive treatment, costing them more time, money and pain.
That is why we prefer to see your child early; one of our worst nightmares is when a 7 year old child comes to us for the first time, absolutely terrified, having fallen and broken a tooth. Treatment for them is much more traumatic than it would otherwise be if they were accustomed to our environment and we have already built a trusting relationship with them.
The Early Years
Young children take in far more information than we realise: they need to get used to coming to place with strange and different sounds, smells and people if they are ever to feel comfortable.
Bringing them along for mum or dad’s appointment and showing that the scary machines actually make them better, means that your kids will feel more positive and less worried when it is their turn in the future.
All the staff love kids and have an introduction routine, taking them around the rooms and taking the fear and anxiety out of a dental visit. Mike the dentist, generally doesn’t treat children until they are happy and relaxed with us and the practice.
Once this process begins, we usually see them every six months for a clean or check up: watching out for decay spots, erupting teeth, and any need for orthodontics. Once the 6 year old molars start coming through we take an OPG x-ray showing all of the mouth so we can see the position of teeth and how they are forming.
We can also do fissure sealants for the back molars. They are like the dental equivalent of nail polish: we pour it into the grooves of the biting surfaces. It sets immediately, effectively sealing them. What this means is that most likely place to form decay, in the hard to reach grooves at the back of the mouth, is protected.
Nine Years on and Teenagers
Orthodontics has become a very large part of the dental life of young people – there are a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, the human species no longer eat the hard, tough diet that our ancestors did so our jawbones don’t grow as large as they used to. However our teeth still grow into the same size, which causes an imbalance in many people’s mouths and an overcrowding of teeth.
Secondly, in the past few generations, dental care involved the extraction of many teeth (generally because of rampant decay) which is why this crowding effect wasn’t apparent earlier. However, the gaps cause the collapse of the dental arch and often sever bite problems.
Thirdly, since fluoride has been added to the water supply, there is less decay, less extractions and so the teeth are kept (but often not well maintained).
Because of these factors, kids that we have treated since they were young rarely need fillings, but require close monitoring of their teeth’s positions. We will keep you up to date on what is going on in your child’s mouth and advise you of possible treatment alternatives if necessary.
We also emphatically recommend mouth guards for any contact sport or activity that your child is involved in. This age group tends to have boundless amounts of energy, which means they require extra protection in physical sport. Just let us know if your child is in need of a mouthguard and we can make it in their choice of colour within days.