Have you ever wondered when is a good time for your child’s first dental visit? Kid’s dentistry is as important as adults and that is why we recommend first dental checks for children at around 2 years old. Wow that is young! Wouldn’t this make them more scared of the dentist? Our goal is to make these early visits fun and enjoyable, so your child is familiar with the dental clinic and therefore less anxious to visit the dentist. Even if your child is already a little older, it is never too late to bring them in for their first dental visit!
You can also prepare your child for their first visit by ‘playing dentist’ at home and watching cartoons with dentistry related themes. It is really important not to use going to the dentist as a threat as this will instill more fear. Phrases like ‘if you don’t brush your teeth, the dentist will pull your teeth out’ will create a negative perception of dental visits before your child even comes in.
So now you may be wondering, how often should I bring my child to the dentist? Similar to adults, we recommend a checkup and clean every 6 months. Regular dental checks for children not only help to keep your child comfortable in the dental setting but let us detect problems early and establish good brushing habits.
At Your Gold Coast Dentist, if you have a private health fund with dental extras or your child is eligible for the Medicare’s Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), you will have no out of pocket costs for these regular check-ups. Call us on 07 5594 6699 to find out if your child is eligible for CDBS.
Here are some commonly asked questions from parents:
My child brushes his/her teeth twice a day, why do they still have decay?
There are many factors causing tooth decay, the main one being the frequency of sugar intake. Despite regular brushing, your child is at a higher risk of decay if they are frequently snacking throughout the day or have a high intake of sugary drinks such as juices, soft drinks or even sipping on milk overnight.
Correct brushing technique is also very important to prevent decay and we recommend parents help with brushing even up until 9 years old as children usually do not have the manual control to clean all the teeth thoroughly. We recommend brushing for at least 2 minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. At your regular checkups, our dentist will show you and your child how to brush effectively and draw your attention to the areas that are being missed.
Why does my child need dental X-rays?
There are 2 types of X-rays that we may wish to take for your child. The first are bitewing X-ray which we take at the dental chair. These X-rays help us to check for early signs of decay between the teeth which cannot be seen in the mouth. Our dentist may recommend these X-rays as early as 6 years old.
The second X-ray is an Orthopantomogram (OPG) which may be recommended around 9 years old. This X-ray is a full mouth X-ray that enables us to check if all the adult teeth are present and developing normally. Usually, this is taken at a radiology clinic and is covered by Medicare (bulk billed).
The baby teeth will fall out anyway, why do they need to be checked?
A full set of baby teeth has 20 teeth. While some of these will fall out at around 6-8 years old, the rest of the baby teeth can be in the mouth even up until 12 years old. These teeth are very important to help keep the space for the new adult tooth to come through and reduce the chances of crowding problems at a later stage. A healthy set of baby teeth is also important for speech development and self-esteem.
If problems, such as decay, are found early on, the dental procedure is quicker leading to an overall more pleasant experience for your child. Decay, if left untreated, can be quite painful for your child and cause infections, avoidance of certain foods or disturbances to sleep.
If my child is doing orthodontic treatment (eg. Braces, Invisalign), can they still have their teeth cleaned?
Yes! In fact, it is even more important to have the teeth cleaned during orthodontic treatment as the extra appliances in the mouth can harbour more bacteria leading to an increased risk of decay and gum problems. Our equipment enables us to clean thoroughly around the teeth and gum areas to keep them strong and healthy.
We hope this answers some of the questions you may have about your child’s dental health! If you have any other questions our friendly team will be happy to help you out. Give us a call on (07) 5594 6699 today to book your child in for their next dental visit – they may even get a special present from our dentist for getting their teeth cleaned!