Children’s Dentistry: Your Top Questions Answered!

Good oral hygiene is one of the most significant health factors that should begin from an early age. Although the dentist can be seen as a daunting place (it’s not, we promise!), it’s imperative that kids start coming in when they’re young – not only for the health of their teeth but also so they can become familiar with seeing a dentist and the process that happens. This means they can grow up feeling comfortable about visiting the dentist while learning good oral hygiene habits. But when should your child first come to the dentist? What happens on their first visit? What can kids do at home between appointments? Let’s take a look at these questions and talk about all things children’s dentistry.

What is children’s dentistry? 

First things first – what exactly is children’s dentistry? Well, let’s just say it’s more than simply cleaning your child’s teeth! Children’s dentistry covers various aspects of the teeth, jaw and mouth as a whole. 

At Mornington Peninsula Dental Clinic, the children’s dentist services we provide include the following

  • Check-ups and x-rays
  • Teeth cleaning and fluoride treatments
  • Fissure sealant
  • Oral health education
  • Orthodontic monitoring & referral
  • Growth monitoring
  • Sports mouthguards

Booking a visit with our friendly team is also a great starting point to discuss any concerns or questions about your child’s teeth, and we can refer you to the correct specialist if necessary 

When should I take my kids to the dentist?

Some ‘advice’ circling states that you don’t need to take your child to the dentist until they have a complete set of baby teeth. However, children’s dentistry is about so much more than teeth! Oral hygiene covers all aspects of your child’s mouth, including their gums, lips, mouths, and jaws.

When it comes to your child’s teeth, our experts recommend that you bring them in when their first teeth appear or by the time they turn one year old. However, we welcome kids (and parents!) earlier if you have any questions or concerns.

Often, young children only need to visit the dentist every 6-12 months (or as otherwise discussed with your dental practitioner). During your appointment, our dentists will advise on a suitable time frame for your child’s next visit.  

What can I expect at my child’s first dental appointment?

So, you’ve got your child – somewhat begrudgingly – through the dental doors of doom. Now what? The friendly team at Mornington Peninsula Dental Clinic ensures your child feels safe and comfortable the moment they step inside the clinic. Our waiting room is bright, airy and surrounded by lush trees to help you relax before your appointment.

At their first appointment, we give your child a thorough check-up and discuss with you your child’s teething and habits (such as thumb sucking), nutritional advice, your child’s bite and much more. We’ll monitor their facial and dental development as they grow to help avoid teeth crowding and jaw issues. We can also address factors such as large tonsils, sleep apnoea or snoring, and mouth breathing. 

We know it’s vital for children to see a dentist when they are young, so we make child comfort our number one priority. This will help them form positive associations with dental visits and decrease fear or negative stigma.

How can I help my child with oral health at home?

Good dental hygiene should never stop at your six-monthly check-up – it should be carried through to daily life. From teeth brushing to flossing to everything in between, our team ensures that you and your child are equipped with the most up-to-date advice on oral health. We’re here to answer any questions or concerns you or your child may have, and we work to make oral hygiene fun! We want to ensure your child learns good oral health habits early on to ensure they’re set up for a good daily routine.

Some tips we like to give to our parents and kids:

  • If you can, invest in a child’s soft-bristled electric toothbrush. These are much more effective than manual brushes.
  • Don’t worry about toothpaste for kids under 18 months – water on a soft toothbrush works fine.
  • Floss your child’s teeth for them up until ages 7-8.
  • Make oral hygiene fun! Pump their favourite songs or turn teeth brushing time into a game!
  • Encourage your child to brush their tongue gently.
  • Even when your child can brush their own teeth, keep checking to ensure that any food and plaque have been removed until you’re confident that they are brushing thoroughly.

Should my child wear a mouthguard when playing sports?

If your child plays a contact sport, a fitted mouthguard from your dentist offers the best protection and keeps dental trauma to a minimum. Although the DIY ‘boil and fit’ mouthguards from the chemist and sporting stores are a quick and cost-effective solution, they are unlikely to provide effective protection, are uncomfortable and can make breathing hard.

At Mornington Peninsula Dental Clinic, our custom-fitted mouthguards are comfortable, easy to speak and breathe with, and custom-fit to your child’s teeth. It is recommended that your child wears a mouthguard for both training and games.

Why should I see Mornington Peninsula Dental Clinic for children’s dentistry?

Choosing a dentist for your child is a significant decision. You’re not just choosing someone to clean your child’s teeth every six months. Rather, you’re choosing a practitioner who will monitor your child as they grow and will watch their development over time. At Mornington Peninsula Dental Clinic, our team of specialists know that visiting the dentist can be intimidating. That’s why we work hard to ensure your child feels safe in our care and make a trip to see us as enjoyable as possible. 

Our practice also supports the Child Dental Benefit Schedule (CDBS), and we bulk bill all eligible children. The government-funded CDBS is now available for families with children aged 2-17 years. Families must receive government benefits. The CDBS has a means test, which requires receipt of Family Tax Benefit Part A or a relevant Australian government payment. If children are eligible, they receive up to $1,000 over two calendar years for preventative and restorative dentistry.

Is it time you booked your child in for their first (or next!) dental visit? We’ve got you covered. Contact the Mornington Peninsula Dental Clinic today and become part of our family.

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