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Family Dentistry

Dentista provides family dentistry to look after everyone's smile! The page below looks into family dentistry and why baby teeth need looking after too! Use the drop down menu for easy reference

Girl Brushing Dad's Teeth

Family Dentistry - Why are Baby Teeth Important

 

Family Dentistry Perth

Firstly, why do we have baby teeth. Teeth perform many functions, some of them include

  • Helping to chew food, smile and speak

  • Facilitating chewing. Chewing is what actually builds up the muscle and strengthens you baby's face and jaw

  • Creating and holding space in the jaw for the permanent teeth. Permanent teeth grow and are placed right beneath their gums.

Basically a baby's face and jaw is not large enough to accommodate all the adult, or permamemt teeth. Because of this, babies/children get a baby set of teeth before their adult teeth. When their mouth is ready and developed enough, the child will shed or lose their baby teeth, ready for the adult teeth to come through.

It is the space holding ability which is the concern for dentists. If a child loses or damages a baby tooth due to trauma or cavities, the spacing between the mouth becomes compromised. If a baby tooth has to be removed the other teeth behind it can drift forward and block the space for the underlying adult teeth to come through.

Importantly, holes / cavities / abscesses in the baby teeth can be very uncomfortable for your little one! Food can get stuck, which hurts the gums and makes it unpleasant for your child to eat. If the cavity is very big, the nerve can get infected and cause a lot of pain and discomfort.

Child's baby teeth falling out

Family Dentistry Perth - Baby teeth are important too!

Family Dentistry - Facts About Baby Teeth

Here are some facts that you may or may not know about baby teeth

  • Number. Due to the size of a child's mouth, a full set of baby teeth amount to 20, when in comparison to 32 permanent teeth. 

  • Baby teeth have a whiter shade than permanent teeth

  • Baby teeth are thinner in terms of enamel than permanent teeth. This is important as it is the enamel that protects teeth from cavities. This means that baby teeth to get cavities much easier than adult teeth, and because the enamel is thinner and the teeth are much smaller it doesn't take long before there decay reaches the nerve and there is a big problem!

  • Baby teeth are softer than permanent teeth. Again this makes them more susceptible to trauma, grinding and cavities than permanent teeth. 

 

What Age Should Kids Start Going to the Dentist

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Family Dentistry Perth - Get them started early

Teeth brushing should be fun! ⁠⁠⠀

 

If you have a baby, you can start cleaning their teeth with a wet flannel when their teeth come through the gum. This will help get the baby used to brushing later on⁠. Baby teeth usually start to come in between 6 months and a year old. The front two teeth will erupt first, bottom first then top. There front teeth are the central incisors. Lateral incisors are after this and then finally the first set of molars. Bringing the count to 20 are the last set of molars.⠀

The Australian Dental Association recommends that parents should bring their child in to see the dentist soon after their first tooth erupts. 

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Here are some tips to make brushing your kids' teeth stress free:⁠⠀
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  •  Brush as a family! Brush your teeth in front of your kids so they see it as a normal part of the daily routine. Then get them brushing at the same time as you⁠⠀

  •  Make it fun! Brush to a song / video⁠, let them brush your teeth, hum tunes, relax! ⁠⠀

  •  Try brushing during bath time ⠀

  •  Try different flavoured tooth pastes - sometimes kids are fussy!⁠ It's best to start off with no toothpaste and get used to the brush in their mouth first⁠⠀

  •  Use an electric brush - they're a lot more effective, especially if your child wants to be in charge of brushing their own teeth but haven't quite mastered the fine motor skills required⁠. Better yet, let them choose their toothbrush!⁠⠀

  •  If they want to brush first, you brush afterwards (until about age 8, or when they can tie their own shoe laces). Standing behind is the easiest position⁠⠀

  •  Use a rewards chart. This can be a great motivator! ⁠Check out a free one you can use below... if you would like to download this, you can get it here.

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Family Dentistry Perth - Rewards for children brushing their teeth can be effective with a rewards chart

Family Dentistry - What are Common Problems that Occur with Children's Teeth

 
1. tooth ache

Tooth aches or pulpitis in children is fairly common and is usually due to the tooth either being inflamed or infected. There may be many reasons for a tooth ache but predominantly it is due to a cavity (hole in the tooth)

If your child is complaining of a tooth ache, you can try the following for temporary relief

  • apply a flannel with warm water. Do not use the extremes of cold or hot.

  • Rinse the mouth with salty water. You can add a 1/4 teaspoon salt to water or you can get a saline solution from a chemist.

  • Pain or swelling can be reduced with ice inside a tea towel. Hold the pack up against the skin or swelling for relief.

We recommend to come in and see the dentist at a family dentistry practice, on presentation with a tooth ache.

2. trauma knocks and bumps

This is quite important as any trauma to a baby tooth may have repercussions to permanent teeth. The trauma can also affect how the permanent tooth comes through. We have a more detailed section about this in the emergency page. If your child has had trauma to their tooth or has had it knocked out, please click here.

 

If you child has had a knock or a bump to their tooth and it is still present, keep an eye out for any changes in colour to the tooth (brown / grey) and regularly check up under their lip to see if a pimple (draining sinus) is forming. 

3. wobbly teeth - when to see the dentist to have a baby tooth pulled out
  • Children will begin to lose or shed their baby teeth from around the age of 5 or 6. This will continue up till the age of 12. They will often come out in the same order that they originally came through in.

  • Wobbly teeth should be removed by the dentist if the baby tooth has been there for quite some time or if the baby tooth is impeding the eruption of the permanent teeth. This will appear as a 'double tooth' where the baby tooth is still there while the adult tooth is erupting through the gum as well. This is the most important fact as this may cause the permanent tooth not to erupt straight

4. crowding in kids teeth
  • crowding of the teeth (malocclusion) is when a child's mouth becomes crooked or crowded. It can also be associated with problems with the bite. The most common problem here is when the teeth don't meet when the jaw is closed.

  • it can be caused from many different things, from trauma through to genetics. Children who suck their thumbs after 5 years old also may experience this common problem.

  • The main issue that we want to avoid with malocclusion is that this doesn't affect the permanent teeth that are waiting to come through. Family Dentistry is important in this instance as permanent or adult teeth, need more space than baby teeth to come through. Thus if this is not investigated with family dentistry when the patient is young, there may be implications later on in life. It is normal to have gaps between the baby teeth. This is because the underlying adult teeth are larger than the baby teeth, and there's more of them! So if there is problems with crowding with your child's teeth baby teeth, this could very well transfer to crowding with their permanent teeth.

  • Other issues if not treated can include; problems with eating and speaking, jaw problems, gum disease, grinding, decay and of course the mentioned issues with permanent teeth coming through crowded or crooked.

  • Treatment may include teeth removal or appliances such as a plate/ retainer or braces

5. Excessive Overbite / Underbite / Open Bite / Cross Bite
  • Excessive overbite - kids are at increased risk of trauma to their teeth, especially if their lips are not competent (i.e. their lips don't close over their teeth)

  • Underbite - this is when the front bottom teeth are in front of the top teeth. It is important you see a dentist around 7-8 years of age if your child has an underbite because it can be fixed with a plate that harnesses a growth spurt around this time. If you leave it too late (like when the child is a teenager) the growth potential has been lost and it is not easy to fix the underbite anymore

  • Open bite - this can be a result of prolonged thumb sucking, or genetics. This is not as severe a 'malocclusion' as underbite or excessive overbite, however is may be an aesthetic issue for your child when they're older. People with open bites also have difficulty biting into things with their front teeth like sandwiches and tomatoes

  • Cross bite - this is when teeth are crossed over the wrong way. For example the top teeth should be on the outside of the bottom teeth. Cross bites are when the bottom teeth are trapping the top teeth. It can be one tooth or several teeth. The main concerns with cross bites is that they can cause increased wearing down of the teeth involved (attrition), and can interfere with a comfortable bite

6. Grinding

  • Grinding in kids has been linked to several possible causes

    • Worms!​

    • Sleep disordered breathing

    • Poor sleep hygiene (for example video games before bed - nothing to do with actual cleaning!)

  • It may be worth having an assessment to see what the cause of the grinding may be and assess any damage that has been caused​

Kid Receiving Dental Treatment

Family Dentistry Perth - Providing treatment for common issues with baby teeth

Family Dentistry - Do Kids get Free Dental Treatment?

 

1. Medicare Child Dental Benefits Scheme. To find out more, click on our Medicare Child Scheme page.

If you are eligible you would have received a letter from Medicare. We provide non-elective dental services at the bulk bill rate so you won't be out of pocket for treatment your child needs.

2. Private Heath Insurance

Depending on your insurer your child may receive complete coverage for preventative services. We are Members Plus Providers with HBF and accept all heath funds. For a more in depth look, please click here.

Is it Cheaper for Kids to see the Dentist? How Much is it for Different Treatments

 

Baby teeth are just as important as adult teeth! An keeping your child pain free and dentally healthy means more sleep for you! See our fees page

Family Dentistry - My Kids are Scared of the Dentist. Can you Help?

 

Many people have a fear of the dentist and often when asked the root of the issue, people will point to a traumatic experience as a child. This doesn't have to be the case. Dr Ellie, has a special interest in family dentistry and can help with children who may have anxiety. As a practice overall, we are a kind and compassionate team. For those kids who have a hard time at the dentist, we have plumbed in nitrous oxide (laughing gas) which has been used as a children's sedative and relaxant for many years. If you wish to find out more about both nitrous oxide and how Dentista is able to help anxious patients, please click here. 

Child at the Dentist

Family Dentistry - Aid through Nitrous Oxide is Available