Oral Care For Youngsters
Smilecare is a family-friendly practice and we welcome children of all ages. Your child will learn about caring for their teeth in a way they can understand, in a calm and positive environment. We like to make their appointment that extra bit special by inviting them to watch their favourite TV show during the treatment, and giving them stickers and bags to take home.
Your child's first visit
Your child’s appointment will be tailored to their age and personality. We want them to go home feeling really positive about visiting us, so we use lots of encouraging language to help build trust and make their visit enjoyable. Once your child is settled in the dental chair (which we describe as a rocket ship to our littlest visitors!) we pop on their favourite cartoon or TV show for them to watch.
Our dental practitioner will count their teeth and teach them how to brush. If your child is over the age of two, we’ll also clean their teeth, apply a fluoride treatment and take any necessary X-rays. We’ll examine your child’s face and jaw for signs of mal-alignment. Finally, we’ll show your little one techniques to help them brush for the right amount of time.
Frequently asked questions
Q: When should my child have their first check-up?
A: A good time to bring your child to Smilecare for their first visit is around 12 months of age or when their teeth first erupt through their gums. However, it’s never too late to have a first visit.
Q: How often should my child visit the dentist?
A: A check-up every six months is recommended to prevent cavities and other dental problems. If needed, we can discuss a customised plan based on your child’s dental needs.
Q: Are dental X-rays safe for my child?
A: Dental X-rays (also called radiographs) carry very little risk. Even so, we’re especially careful to minimise children’s radiation exposure. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and limit the amount of radiation.
Q: What are sealants and how do they work?
A: Sealants work by filling in crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This helps prevent food particles from getting stuck in the teeth and causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect your child’s teeth for many years.
Q: What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
A: A soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day before bedtime. We can provide a free brush suitable for your baby.
Q: Are dummies or thumb sucking harmful for my child's teeth?
A: Thumb and pacifier sucking is generally only a problem if it goes on for a very long time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they’re still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, your dentist can discuss a plan with you to help them stop.
Q: Are baby teeth important?
A: Yes. Even though they eventually fall out and get replaced, baby teeth (or first teeth) are important because they help children chew comfortably and speak clearly. They also help create the path that permanent teeth follow when they erupt.
Q: When should we use toothpaste and what amount should we use?
A: Prior to age two to three you can clean your child's teeth with just water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. At around three years of age, it’s a good time to introduce a small amount of toothpaste to your child’s brushing routine. Supervise your child and make sure no more than a pea-sized amount of paste is used. Encourage your child to spit out excess toothpaste after brushing.
Q: How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?
A: If your little one is not getting enough fluoride through water (especially if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then fluoride supplements may be prescribed. Talk to us if you are unsure or would like more information.
Q: How can I ensure my child's diet is ‘tooth friendly’?
A: Aside from ensuring your child has a balanced diet appropriate for their age, it’s also important to limit servings of sugar and starch in their daily diet. Remember, sugar hides in all sorts of everyday foods such as tomato sauce, dairy products and fruit juice. It’s a good idea to check food labels and avoid foods and drinks that are high in sugar.
Q: What should I do if my child has a toothache?
A: First, rinse the aggravated area with warm salt water and rest a cold compress against their face if it’s swollen. Offer child-suitable pain relief if needed and make an appointment with our team as soon as possible.
Q: What can I do to protect my child's teeth when they’re playing sport?
A: Soft plastic mouth guards can be made for your child to protect their teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from injury. A custom-fitted mouth guard is significantly more effective than store-bought options. Find out about custom-fitted mouth guards here.
Q: What should I do if my child loses a permanent tooth?
A: First, try to stay calm. If you can, find the tooth and hold it by the crown (the part that’s normally visible above the gumline) instead of the root. Try to gently reinsert it into the socket, making sure it’s the right way around. If that’s not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk. Contact us straight away for further instructions.
Q: What should I do if my child's tooth is chipped or fractured?
A: Stay calm and contact us immediately. Quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment. Rinse the mouth with water and use a cold compress (a pack of frozen peas covered by a cloth can work well) to reduce swelling. If you can find the broken tooth fragment, bring it with you to the appointment.
If you have a teen who needs their teeth straightened, but isn't keen to have metal braces, Invisalign could be the perfect answer. Invisalign uses a series of clear, custom-made aligners to straighten teeth and create a beautiful, confident smile.
Invisalign has several benefits that are attractive to teenagers and parents alike. Teens love the fact that aligners are comfortable and virtually unnoticeable compared to traditional metal braces and parents can rest assured that the cost is comparable.*
Although Invisalign aligners need to be worn for 20-22 hours per day, they can be removed for brushing, flossing and eating – or even for that special school photo. And to make sure your teen is wearing them as recommended, we can provide colour-based 'compliance indicators' that gradually fade as the aligners are worn.
The team at Smilecare is highly experienced in providing Invisalign treatment for teenagers. If you’re looking at getting braces for your teenager, consider booking a free Invisalign consultation. At this stage we’ll determine if Invisalign is right for your teen and answer any questions you may have.