FAQs in Children’s Dentistry Sunshine Coast

Below are a list of several commonly asked questions regarding children’s teeth.

They are just baby teeth – won’t they eventually fall out?

Although this statement is completely correct, issues arise where decay within a baby tooth is left to progress to cause infection in the nerve inside the tooth.  This will cause pain, discomfort and distress for your child.  Baby teeth guide the adult teeth into their correct positions.  If a baby tooth is lost early the space generally closes so there is no longer space left for the adult teeth.  This results in crowding and a higher likelihood of needing orthodontics in the future. 

In general, baby front teeth are lost between 6 and 8 years of age. However, baby back teeth are lost between 12 – 14 years of age.

To prevent infection occurring, the decay needs to be removed. If the tooth is likely to be lost soon, the practitioner will discuss monitoring the tooth until it is lost naturally.

Why does it matter if the tooth becomes infected?

Infection not only can cause pain, but can progress to damage the permanent underlying tooth, and affect your child’s’ overall health and well being. Antibiotics do not clear the infection if the tooth is still present – the source of the infection lies within the tooth.

If the tooth becomes infected, can’t you just take the tooth out?

Yes – however there are a few issues that could arise.

Space maintainers and crowding

The baby teeth hold the space for the adult teeth to come through. If baby teeth are lost early, the teeth drift together, and may result in crowding once the adult teeth come through. In some cases, an adult tooth may even become stuck against another and be unable to come through into the mouth – needing surgery and/or orthodontics to correct. If a tooth is taken out early, treatment options involving a space maintainer to hold the space are available.

Difficulties of extractions in kids

The other issue is that taking a baby tooth out can be potentially traumatic for younger patients, especially if the tooth is not likely to be lost within a few years, as it will still have large roots present. Although some kids handle the sitaution very well, others have the risk of becoming very upset, and a traumatic incident at the dentist early in life can set them up for a lifetime of being fearful and anxious at the dentist.

Kids don’t need to floss

The majority of tooth decay within kids actually occurs between the teeth. If a child flossed every day from 4 years of age, they would be at extremely low risk for tooth decay!

Kids do lack the manual dexterity for string floss – many other products exist to help the child or parent to floss, such as ‘Flossettes’ and the ‘Reach Access Flosser’

Why are baby teeth Important?

Good oral hygiene techniques can never begin too early in life and should be embraced by all parents. Baby or Primary teeth are very important and should be cared for in the same manner as secondary teeth (adult teeth). Baby teeth are imperative to your child’s development: assisting with chewing functions, improving their speaking ability and helping guide their adult teeth into the correct positions.

When should I bring my child in for their first appointment?

At Avenue Dental we can treat children of any age (from 0 – 18 years old).  We encourage parents to incorporate their child’s first dental visit with your own active maintenance appointment.  This is because your child will feel more relaxed and comfortable after seeing mum or dad have their teeth examined first.  For children under the age of 4 we offer a “ride in the chair” to get your child used to the dental environment.  From the age of four we encourage children to be seen every six to twelve months, depending on their risk of dental disease.

What do I expect at my child’s dental visit?

Firstly, we take a full comprehensive medical history for your child.   This is because medical conditions during children’s early years can affect the development of their teeth. We may also do a dietary analysis as a high sugar diet can put your child at risk of dental disease. We will examine your child’s teeth checking for any areas of decay and any developmental problems with their teeth. We may need to take some x-rays to check for decay in between the teeth. We will assess for healthy gums and teach you and your children how to best take care of their teeth to prevent future dental disease. From a young age, an orthodontic assessment is done and we continue to monitor this over time. We work closely with orthodontists and paedodontists to ensure the best treatment for your child.

If you have any other questions about children’s dentistry please do not hesitate to contact any of our Sunshine Coast dental practices in Caloundra, Kawana and Maroochydore.