Questions Answered

When should I take my child for their first ever check-up?

As soon as the first tooth appears – and no later than the age of one, regardless. Visiting Happy Kids Dental from an early age gives you as a parent the chance to discuss potentially harmful habits, check you’re following the right nutritional advice for your child, and put in place practices that will prevent the formation of cavities in the future.

Why do we need to worry about baby teeth?

If you think you don’t need to worry about your child’s ‘first’ set of teeth, imagine the worst-case scenario: your five-year- old’s baby teeth are all decayed and require extraction under a general anaesthetic. It could be many years before their adult teeth come through, so your child would be left with no teeth in the interim. Restoration options are limited and can be unpleasant for children to wear. But there are less dramatic reasons for taking care of baby teeth too: the early years are the most crucial time for developing positive associations with the dentist and instilling oral hygiene habits that become ingrained, and stay with them for life.

What should I use to clean my child's teeth?

To begin with, a small, soft-bristled toothbrush is ideal for removing the plaque and bacteria that cause cavities, together with age-appropriate toothpaste – a smear for under-twos; a pea-sized amount for everyone else. It’s much easier to instil good habits in children when they are very young – so it’s never too early to start the practice of brushing for two minutes, twice a day to get your child familiar with a good tooth-brushing routine. For younger kids, parents should do the brushing themselves; for older children, parents should be on-hand to assist and check it’s being done correctly.

Should I worry about my child's dummy, or thumb sucking?

Only if they are still in the habit past the age of three, as that is the point where sucking may impact on your child’s palate, bite and the alignment of their underlying adult teeth. At Happy Kids Dental, we recommend curbing sucking habits by the age of three, and we will offer lots of advice and encouragement to help both you and your child, as well as special appliances where necessary.

What do I need to know about fluoride?

Fluoride prevents cavities – but too much fluoride has the paradoxical effect of causing defects to the tooth enamel. Known as dental fluorosis, the condition causes white specks and streaks on the surface of the tooth, with more severe cases showing yellow or brown stains. At Happy Kids Dental, we provide parents with practical suggestions for giving your hildren just the right amount of fluoride to keep cavities at bay.

How can I give my child the best possible experience of dentistry?

Visiting the dentist early and often is the key to securing a lifetime of good oral health for your family. Get this right, and your kids will develop positive associations with the dentist that will remain with them for life. Get this wrong, and your children could grow up with unhappy memories of the dentist – which, by the time they’re an adult, may lead them to avoid visiting the dentist and, ultimately, to poor oral health. With a paediatric practice like Happy Kids Dental, you can place your trust in a team that won’t miss a single opportunity to educate your child about good oral health.

Top tips for parents and carers:

  • Describe going to the dentist as a highlight in the calendar – yes really! At Happy Kids Dental, they will only associate the dentist with fun, excitement and contentment.
  • Avoid using negative dental words – injection, pull, or needle, for example. At Happy Kids Dental, we take great care to use kid-friendly, non-threatening language – so we “tickle their teeth” rather than clean them; and we call cavities by their real name: “sugar bugs”.
  • Keep your own memories of visiting the dentist to yourself, because they will have no bearing on what your child experiences at Happy Kids Dental. It’s all too easy to use a visit to the dentist as a threat to make them brush better at bedtime – but this simply reinforces negative attitudes. While certain adult generations may have lingering memories of bad dental care from their childhood, there’s no need to pass them on to your children!
  • Any new experience may cause feelings of anxiety in children. Our goal at Happy Kids Dental is to help your child put their trust in us, so that each visit becomes something they really look forward to. As well as visiting the practice in advance, do let your child bring in a special toy or security blanket if they are at all anxious.

What can I do to prevent cavities?

Regular visits to Happy Kids Dental are key. Our fun, stimulating environment means they’ll absorb our oral health education without even realising it, and begin a lifetime of good dental health armed with all the right information and techniques. At home, diet is really important: make sure your children’s meals are rich in leafy vegetables, whole grains and fruits. Avoid sugary and fizzy drinks – juices, flavoured milks, sports drinks and even mineral water – as much as possible, as their high levels or sugar and acid cause direct damage to teeth. And while we dentists would love it if kids never ate sweets, we know the reality for parents – so limit sweets as much as is reasonably practical. It’s better for your kids to have an occasional sweet-fest than to constantly snack on one sweet every few minutes or hours.

What can Happy Kids Dental do to prevent cavities?

As well as making dental visits exciting, Happy Kids Dental provides practical advice on cleaning, diet and lifestyle. We’ll apply regular fluoride varnish and dental sealants to protect teeth from cavity-causing foods and drinks, too.

My child has toothache - what should I do?

Contact Happy Kids Dental and we will arrange to see your child on the same day if possible. You can help relieve the symptoms of toothache by rinsing the affected area with warm, salty water and giving your child paracetamol for the pain. Never put aspirin on the tooth or gum – it contains acid, which can burn skin and damage the tooth further.

My child has injured their tooth - what should I do?

Stay calm, and contact Happy Kids Dental immediately for a same-day emergency appointment. If your child’s tooth has been knocked out, retrieve the tooth and any fractured pieces, and be careful not to touch the tooth root. Do not attempt to place a baby tooth back in the mouth – this can cause long-term damage to the permanent tooth bud. Rinse with cool water only. If your child has experienced a blow to the head or jaw, medical attention for this should take priority over getting to the dentist.

Is it ok to give my child x-rays?

Yes. Happy Kids Dental has invested in state-of- the-art dental x-rays that focus only on the area of interest and produce the lowest possible levels of radiation.

My child has special needs - how can Happy Kids Dental assist us?

All the staff at Happy Kids Dental are experienced in working with children with all kinds of special health or educational needs. Please inform us prior to your child’s first appointment at Happy Kids Dental so that we can compile a full medical history and make any additional arrangements, be it extra time or stimulating distractions. As with all our patients, your child may benefit from visiting the practice before their appointment so that they are familiar with the Happy Kids Dental environment, and we encourage them to bring any special toys or entertainment that will help them to relax.

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