It is recommended that children should visit the dentist, as early as possible. Watching parents and siblings, ‘having a ride in the chair’, being given a sticker, all gets them used to the noises, smells and surroundings and allows them to start to build a relationship with the dental team. The earlier these visits start, the more relaxed children become.
By the age of four, we hope, most children will feel comfortable enough for an examination, a polish and as application of fluoride. [With a little brush].
Of course, whilst starting this relationship at an early age is the ideal, it is not always possible or essential and we can start to build trust between dentist and child from any age.
Regular check ups through childhood allow this relationship to develop and allow for acclimatisation. We monitor for signs of problems, offer appropriate advice on cleaning and diet and recommend any appropriate preventive measures like fissure sealants.
Sometimes treatment such as small fillings or extractions (usually for braces) is necessary. This is almost always carried out under local anaesthetic with great success. Topical anaesthetics "magic cream" and a careful ‘no show’ technique can ensure that this can be done with minimal upset in the vast majority of cases.
Good tooth cleaning from a young age stops gum disease starting and a vast majority of adult dentistry is repairing teeth that have already been filled.
With the right care and an emphasis on prevention using diet and oral hygiene, it is possible for children to grow up filling free. This will set them up for a life with lovely teeth and little need for dental treatment.