At King Street Dental Practice we strongly believe in preventive dentistry. Good dental health is most likely to last a lifetime if it is taught from a very early age. So we encourage our patients to bring their children along to see us before their very first teeth start to appear - before 6 months old. Not only does this allow us to check on the growth and development of the teeth, but we can provide beneficial advice at this very important stage to help ensure they get the best start in life. It is also much easier for a child to become comfortable and familiar with attending the dentist's if they have been doing so since they were very small.
Unfortunately there are many children in Scotland whose first experience of the dentist is attending with toothache. This makes for a very negative and lasting impression as they are already upset before they even walk through the door and may then have to undergo unpleasant treatment. This can carry on till later life where they might shy away from having their teeth examined as they fear the experience will be traumatic. The end result is likely to be very poor dental health.
By bringing your child to see us regularly (we advise every six months) we can not only make them much more at ease with being at the dentist's but often prevent any potentially unpleasant experiences. This is achieved by discussing dental health with parent and child, and also treating any developing problems at an early stage before they can become painful. [Oh and don't forget the all important sticker for having Grrrrrrrrreat teeth]
From the age of 2 we routinely paint on a fluoride varnish on childrens' teeth at every dental examination every 6 months, and sometimes more frequently if we detect a higher than normal chance of decay. We have been doing this since before it became a legal requirement on the NHS.
At about six years old the first adult molar comes through. If there has been decay in the milk teeth, we can place a plastic coating on the most vulnerable parts of these teeth. This coating (or fissure sealant as it is called) seals the tooth surface and helps to prevent decay.
From the age of 10 years we are able to prescribe a higher concentration of fluoride toothpaste if we find a high rate of decay.
Where there is decay in milk teeth these days a metal cap can be fitted easily to seal it up. This has been found to be often a better measure than traditional fillings and has been shown to be more successful in keeping milk teeth in until they fall out naturally. With regular and frequent examinations (at least every 6 months) we can spot decay at an early stage in adult teeth and restore them with less drilling than used to be the case and place a tooth-coloured material with plastic sealant around it to help prevent further decay.
You can see that the bad-old-days of injections and fillings for children has been consigned to history.
At King Street Dental Practice we are involved in the Childsmile programme. Childsmile is a Scottish NHS programme designed to improve the oral health of children in Scotlandand reduce inequalities both in dental health and access to dental services. See the Childsmile website for further details.