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With regular visits, dentists can track the development of your child’s teeth and gums. Early diagnosis and treatment of any dental issues that arise during childhood are essential to our long-term oral health.
Teeth begin to develop in the womb from about five weeks into pregnancy. They then start to erupt through the gum lining from the age of six months. Most of a child’s 20 “milk” or “baby” teeth have erupted by the age of three. Throughout this process, your child’s adult teeth are also developing within their jaw. From the age of six, these permanent teeth begin to push on the milk teeth, causing them to fall out one by one, allowing up to 32 adult teeth to move into the gaps. Most children have all their adult teeth by the age of 13, except for wisdom teeth which may or may not erupt in the late teens or early 20s.
Children should become accustomed to visiting the dentist from an early age. Dentists recommend a child has check-ups from the moment their first baby tooth emerges. Beginning your child’s dental journey at this stage will help them become accustomed to the practice and their dentist from an early age. Studies show this makes them more comfortable visiting the dentist throughout their teenage years and into adulthood.
There are excellent products and tips available specifically designed for keeping your child’s teeth and gums clean. Don’t use sweetened milk in your child’s bottle, as these contain harmful sugars that attack the young tooth enamel. Once they’re able, make sure your children get into the habit of cleaning their teeth twice a day and ensure the toothpaste they’re using contains fluoride, which is a mineral that strengthens their teeth and helps to prevent decay. Give your toddler a toothbrush to play with in the bathtub and encourage them to brush their teeth. To ensure they clean their teeth correctly, have your child stand with their back to you and their head tilted backwards. You will be able to reach all their teeth and floss in between any teeth that are touching. Make tooth brushing fun. Sing songs while you brush together. Help them count their teeth while brushing and read stories about visits to the dentist. Try to give your kids a healthy, balanced diet and minimise their exposure to sugary foods and drinks. As your child grows and their adult teeth begin to emerge, your dentist can apply a treatment called dental fissure sealants, which is a solution painted onto the grooves of the teeth to protect them and reduce the risk of tooth decay. Sealants provide a flat surface on the molars so your child can easily clean their teeth.
Some children experience developmental issues with their teeth and jaw that require specialist care under an orthodontist. These problems can include a poor bite, misaligned or overcrowded teeth and jaw deformities like an underbite or overbite. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in preventing more significant problems later in life. Your dentist can identify early signs of these dental issues and recommend your child sees an orthodontist if needed. Orthodontic treatment usually takes place between the ages of 7 and 13. Orthodontics involves wearing braces or aligners to move teeth into a straighter position. In cases of overcrowding and depending on the type of braces selected the dentist may remove some teeth to create the space for others to move into the proper alignment. Some children may feel too self-conscious about the idea of wearing braces to agree to an orthodontic treatment plan. We offer several brace systems to suit all patients, including clear materials and braces that attach to the rear surface of the teeth, as opposed to the front, for optimal discretion. Our team will also work with you and if necessary, refer you to specialists for breathing issues and to re-train tongue movements if they are affecting your child’s oral health.
All adult patients can opt to join Denplan Essentials from their very first visit. Those wanting more inclusive cover can choose Denplan Care instead. Following an assessment, your dentist will advise which group you will be able to join.Read More