Most dental phobias begin in childhood so it is very important that children regularly attend the dentist from generally about 3 years old. Ideally they have no problems on their first visit so it can be easy and pleasant for the child. This means that they gradually become used to being in a dental surgery and it doesn’t make them feel anxious.
The first permanent molar teeth begin to erupt usually about 6 years old. These teeth erupt behind the existing baby teeth and often are unnoticed by parents. These are frequently extracted in adults as a result of childhood decay.
Fissure sealants significantly decrease the chances of these teeth decaying. The world health organisation recommends that these teeth should be fissure sealed within 6 months of eruption. Unfortunately, due to pressure on the hospital dental scheme, many children don’t get offered the opportunity to get these done by the HSE at an appropriate age and may be seen too late in which case the teeth many have decayed and require fillings or may not be seen at all.
Fissure sealants are coatings which make the teeth easier to clean and they release fluoride onto the tooth which helps strengthen them long term. They are simple to put on and don’t involve any drilling or needles so most children find them an easy procedure.
Diet sheets and analysis
It is a very common situation when a very young child presents with an abscess or toothache. Often there are several decayed teeth which the family may not be aware of. We find that parents are constantly surprised at how much sugar is present in so many of the perceived “healthy” snacks and drinks.
Consultation with the dentist can identify dietary problems and once identified, dietary changes can make a Huge difference to a child’s dental health, and can mean that problems with baby teeth do not necessarily follow into the adult teeth.
Regular attendance can mean that orthodontic problems can be identified early. In some cases, careful management early can actually eliminate the need for braces all together.
In most cases, early detection means the best possible outcome and shortest treatment times so it is important that all children who are growing their adult teeth are regularly monitored for orthodontic concerns.