Dental Care for Children
At Oatlands Dental Lounge, your children and their dental care are very important to us. From your baby’s first visit to teaching your youngsters the proper way to brush to exploring the need for orthodontic care or responding quickly to the need for emergency dental treatments – we wish to be a vital part of your child’s dental health care.
We consider each child’s impressionable state when visiting us and we strive to present a caring, safe and secure environment where their experience is always positive and educational. Our Lounge offers children colouring contests, reading materials and interactive toys. Our dentists, hygienists, and entire dental team will always take the extra effort to ensure that your child is comfortable and that you are thoroughly informed of every step of their treatment – no matter how simple.
Children receive appropriate fluoride treatments to instil prevention and goody bags for a fun attitude towards dental health.
Your family is important to us – and we want to be an important part of your lifetime dental health plan.
All babies start to develop their first teeth, known as milk or deciduous teeth when they are in the womb and these first teeth start to cut through the gums at around 6 months of age. Usually, the bottom middle teeth appear first, then the upper middle teeth followed by the side and back teeth. By the time they are 2 or 3 years of age, your child will have their first set of 20 milk teeth.
During childhood, permanent teeth start to develop in the jaw and, from the age of six, start to emerge. These adult teeth press on the milk teeth causing them to become wobbly and fall out; this usually starts at around the age of six and by the age of 13 most children will have all of their adult teeth with the exception of wisdom teeth which develop between late teens and early twenties.
You can take your child along with you to your own dental checkups so that they become accustomed to being in dental surgery and it becomes part of their regular routine. Once their first teeth start to emerge you should start booking them in for regular checkups so their oral hygiene and development of their teeth can be monitored. We can also advise you on looking after your child’s teeth and gums as it is best to prevent tooth decay and gum disease before it occurs.
It is just as important that children maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Cleaning your child’s teeth twice daily should be a part of your family’s routine. Until they are a year old, you just need to wipe their teeth and gums with a clean, soft cloth and then an infant toothbrush that fits onto your fingertip until the age of two. Your child can then progress to age-appropriate toothpaste and a small, soft-bristled brush that has a flexible neck to absorb extra brushing pressure. You should supervise your child when they are brushing their teeth at least until the age of 7 to ensure that they are cleaning them thoroughly and are spitting out the toothpaste instead of swallowing it. We can also give dental hygiene advice as part of your child’s hygienist appointments.
You can also promote good oral and dental health from the weaning stage by making sure that your child does not have too many foods that are high in processed sugar. If you encourage your child to eat healthier, more savoury foods such as vegetables then they may be less likely to develop a sweet tooth. Also, do not be tempted to put your baby down to sleep with a bottle as the milk may pool around their teeth and cause plaque and decay. A lot of sugar is also found in squashes, flavoured milk and juice drinks so try to avoid giving these to young children. Fizzy drinks can also cause damage to the teeth as they contain acids as well as sugar and additives so should be avoided.
As well as making sure your child eats a balanced diet, encourage them to have cheese, fruit and vegetables as snacks instead of sugary or acidic food and drinks. Dried fruit can appear to be healthy but should be limited as it is high in sugar and can stick to teeth.
Between the ages of 6 to 8, your child develops molars and premolars that are not completely sealed or have very deep pits so you may want to discuss dental fissure sealants with your dentist. Your dentist will examine the biting surface of the teeth to assess whether or not they are necessary; some teeth may have very deep grooves whilst others are shallower and can be kept clean and free of plaque easily. The remaining back teeth erupt between the ages of 11 and 14 already sealed.
Orthodontics is a type of dental treatment that straightens the teeth, aims to adjust the position and improves the appearance and function of teeth that are crooked or badly positioned.
There are several reasons why teeth may become badly positioned, such as:
During regular dental checkups, your dentist will check that the jaw is developing properly, the bite is aligned and the teeth and gums are healthy. It is important that these are monitored because the earlier any potential situations are identified; the easier they are to correct and prevent. Thanks to our expertise and cutting-edge dental technology, we can identify potential problems as early as the age of five and implement preventative and correctional measures so that any future treatment is less lengthy and complicated or can even be avoided.
This type of early treatment focuses on the development of the jaws as well as the teeth and is often called ‘Orthopaedics’. In most cases, the best results are achieved while the child is still growing, namely between the ages of seven and thirteen but some results may not be achieved until facial growth has finished.
Previously a lot of orthodontic treatments involved extracted teeth to “make room” for crowded teeth to sit straight in the jaw but modern advances in technology have negated the need for this. We can now broaden the jaw and palate to make space for the teeth and create an attractive broad smile using a range of techniques known as ‘functional jaw orthopaedics. This is most effective whilst the palate and jaw are still growing.
We offer an initial consultation so if you are concerned about your child’s dental development or have received unsatisfactory answers from your regular dentist, visit us and we can assess your child’s teeth and create a bespoke treatment plan.
If your child sucks their thumb, still uses a dummy or has a habit of chewing on things such as pen tops, the teeth may be forced out of their corrected position rendering the treatment redundant so it is best to nip these habits in the bud to avoid wasting time and money. We can suggest measures such as finger guards to help quit the habit and can then commence any necessary treatment such as braces. Once the active treatment phase of tooth movement is completed, a retainer or some kind will need to be worn to hold the teeth in their new, correct positions and offer long-term stability.
Previously, braces had a bad name for being unsightly and causing lisps. Modern advances in orthodontics can offer tooth-aligning solutions whilst saving children and teenagers the embarrassment of very noticeable metal braces.
Depending on the nature of the problem we can utilise tooth-coloured brackets and wires, fix the brackets to the inside surface of the teeth or, for less severe cases, use a clear plastic aligner such as Invisalign.
It is recommended that your child has an orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven to assess whether or not they will require orthodontic treatment. This is because the adult incisors and first adult molars have erupted by this point so, if there is inadequate space that may cause issues when the remaining teeth come through, these issues can be identified and a treatment plan can be implemented before they arise. We can also evaluate the growth of the jaw and offer an orthodontic screening to assess if and when treatments will become necessary. Identifying and treating issues early can lessen the chance of permanent teeth being extracted in the future and avoid more complicated, lengthy treatments.
The first phase of treatment commences at around age eight or nine followed by a second phase at age eleven or older. These early bite therapy treatments can correct bite problems and the growth of the jaw.
BDS (Hons.) MJDF RCS (Eng), MClinDent (FRP Lond) FICOI, MSc (Dental Implantology)
BDS (Lond) MJDF RCS (Eng)