Baby teeth fall out, do children need to see a dentist?

At The Art of Dentistry we really enjoy seeing children and getting them excited about their oral health.

Teaching children good dental habits from an early age is vitally important. These habits can last well into adulthood, giving them a great head start in caring for their teeth and a positive attitude towards oral health and dental appointments.

Baby tooth care

Once your child’s teeth begin erupting (emerging), you can begin cleaning them by wiping them with a moist washcloth. As your child gets more teeth, you can begin to use a soft child’s toothbrush. You should use just a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste or a non-fluoride toothpaste until your child is able to spit it out.

 Eruption times

Your child’s first teeth will usually start erupting around six months, although it is not uncommon to have them start as early as 3 months or as late as 18 months.

The two bottom front teeth will be the first to come through followed by the four upper teeth.

Your child will continue to get new teeth until they have all twenty of their deciduous (baby) teeth up until they are three years old, with most children getting about four new teeth every four months. Children begin losing their first teeth when they are around 6-7 years old, and this process is complete with the loss of the second molars around 11-13 years old.

In addition to looking for and preventing problems, an early visit to the dentist can help advise you about your child’s oral health and correct hygiene.

If your child has any problems such as, crowding or abnormal tooth development, or if they have any risk factors for developing cavities, then this is the time it will be diagnosed. You may also want to us at The Art of Dentistry if your child has any persistent habits, such as sucking their thumb or using a pacifier as a toddler or grinding their teeth at night (bruxism).

Monitoring the types of food your Children snack on:

The foods your children snack on should be closely monitored.

Biscuits and sweets tend to adhere to the teeth for a long period after snacking. If not cleaned straight away the sugar in these snacks will feed the bacteria, which will eventually cause decay. If you are to give your children snacks we recommend fresh fruit and vegetables; carrots are a great snack as is cheese.

Factors to consider when protecting your child’s teeth from sugar:

  • Ensure your child is drinking water between snacks to keep the mouth moist as a dry mouth is less protected from bacteria and acid
  • Eat sweets at the completion of a meal and not between meals.

Bottled water and fluoride

Bottled water and water filters might not contain, or have removed fluoride. If you have any doubt, check the label bottle or filter manufacturer as it is in general better to have your child drink water that is supplemented with fluoride instead of giving extra fluoride drops or supplements.

Too much fluoride can cause fluorosis, which is a permanent white to brown discolouration of the teeth. It is easier to get fluorosis if you are giving your child fluoride drops and they are still getting fluoride from their diet.

Full oral examinations

Even though your child’s baby teeth will fall out naturally, early tooth loss due to decay can mean their adult teeth emerge crooked, or cause gum problems or jaw misalignment. This can then lead to expensive future treatment such as orthodontics.

That’s why we recommend regular checkups for your child at The Art of Dentistry from their first birthday. This allows us to monitor your child’s oral development, check their teeth for signs of decay and give you advice on oral care at home. It will also make them feel more at ease at future dental appointments as they will be familiar with the sights and sounds of our dental practice.

Orthodontics

This is a branch of Dentistry which specialises in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the misalignment or malocclusion (bite) of the teeth and jaws.

We use corrective appliances such as braces, plates, headgear and functional appliances to bring your teeth and jaws back into alignment.

Early examination will allow us to detect any problems and plan appropriate treatment. Orthodontic problems can be apparent from the age of 7 when most of the adult front teeth have erupted.

Treatment can commence as soon as the last baby tooth is shed or before and can achieve results that are not possible when the face and jaws stop growing.

Orthodontics for Adults is becoming more popular, even though the bones have stopped growing. If the malocclusion is severe braces may not be enough and jaw surgery may need to be done as well.

If you are worried as an adult about wearing braces then we can use clear invisible braces or invisalign.

Fissure sealants

Tooth decay can easily start to form undetected in the microscopic pits and fissures of your child’s back molars. Because brushing cannot totally reach into these tiny areas, food and bacteria can easily become trapped and lead to cavities.

To prevent this, from around the age of six or seven we can apply liquid fissure sealants to fill in these vulnerable areas. Filling and smoothing the tiny imperfections, fissure sealants form an effective barrier against plaque, making teeth easier to clean and helping prevent tooth decay.

Application of fissure sealant is a very simple, pain-free procedure that only takes a few minutes for each tooth and will last for several years.