Kindergarten & Primary School
Establishing and maintaining positive dental habits as your child becomes more independent will give them a solid grounding for dental hygiene as they grow over time. A healthy mouth from a young age provides the best opportunity for adult teeth to develop into the right position in the mouth, later in life. In the long term this is likely to save parents both time and money from more extensive and expensive dental treatment.
Below is a list of general tips for parents, to encourage a positive dental visit for your child:
- As a parent, you play a key role in your child’s dental care. Children often perceive a parent’s anxiety which may make them more fearful when visiting the dentist. This makes it important to let your children know that a visit to the dentist is a positive experience.
- If your child(ren) has questions regarding the dentist and their oral health, answer these questions positively and avoid using ‘scary’ words.
- Find stories that have characters that had a good dental visit and share them with your child, this may help to reduce anxiety.
- If you have questions for the dentist, make a list in the lead up to your check-up which will help to ensure you get the most out of your visit.
- Give ‘centre stage’ to the dentist during the visit. By having the dentist do most of the talking during the visit, this helps the child build a better relationship with the dentist. If parents have questions for the dentist, it is best to do this after the examination.
When do adult teeth appear?
By six years of age, most children will start losing their baby teeth and their adult teeth start appearing. Some children start losing their baby teeth early (i.e. 4 and a half) and some later (i.e. 7-8 years). Usually, we see the lower front incisor or the molar (flat-surfaced back) teeth first. However, the adult (i.e. 6 year) molars may appear first.
What is orthodontic treatment and when should it be considered?
Orthodontic treatment corrects crowding or other bite problems. Most orthodontic therapy is done around 10-12 years. However, more treatment is being done when adult teeth first appear (age 6-7 years) and even earlier for some bite problems in the baby dentition (cross-bite). Early treatment has many benefits, including removing interference to proper jaw development, improving direction of tooth eruption, improved aesthetics and self esteem plus assisting to simplify and/or reduce treatment time for later orthodontic therapy.
Should I be concerned if my 8 year olds teeth are crowded?
Yes, although crowding is common, we need to consider your child’s future oral health. A child with crowded teeth and jaw problems will not necessarily have more problems as they become an adult. However, adults with crowded teeth have more problems (tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontal disease, TMJ problems) than adults with good jaw and tooth alignment.
Because adult teeth are larger than baby teeth, jaw size and growth may not provide enough space. For most children and adults, crowding is the most common malocclusion. Sometimes a baby tooth is lost early because of lack of jaw space for new adult teeth. If you see crowding, you should have an orthodontist or dentist examine your child.